Saturday, May 18

Construction review: US WWII Pilots of British Naval Aviation in 48th scale from ICM

ICM has added this new trio of flyers to their 1/32nd scale Naval Air Service fleet. Gary puts them together with some nice references in his construction review for you today...

Construction review: US WWII Pilots of British Naval Aviation
From ICM
Kit No #32118
1/32nd scale
Parts count: 28
Five figures inside the kit
ICM's latest new tooled 1:32 plastic injection molded figure set is based on British Naval Aviation of WW2. This set will be a good companion to any 1/32 FAA aircraft of the period including a Swordfish, Seafire and of course ICM's own Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.II.

The UK Fleet Air Arm (FAA) was established in 1924. It was part of the Air Force as a ship-based and deck-based aviation command, and only in the spring of 1939 was it transferred to the direct subordination of the Navy. Their tasks included reconnaissance, fire control, strike operations against warships and merchant ships, and defence against submarines and enemy aircraft.
At the beginning of World War II, the Navy’s air force consisted of 20 squadrons with 232 aircraft, mostly reconnaissance and torpedo bombers. Among the operations carried out by the FAA are the attack on the Italian fleet in Taranto, the sinking of the Bismarck battleship, countering the breakthrough of German ships across the English Channel, and Operation Wolfram against the Tirpitz battleship. Fleet aviation pilots also took part in the Battle of Britain, such as the 804th Squadron, which was armed with Sea Gladiator fighters. [source: icm website]

The Kit:
As with all the ICM figure kits, it is very simple with a single sprue containing the parts for all three figures. The body parts (legs, arms, torso and head) for each figure are conveniently grouped together on the sprue. 
The parts come on  single sprue with each figure separated for easy construction...
Using the color assembly (and painting) guide it takes virtually no time at all to cut out and glue the parts together. I found no excessive gaps or misalignment in any of the body parts.
Each figure is broken down into major body parts and like any plastic parts seam lines and sprue attachment points need to be cleaned up with a sharp knife and sandpaper.
Of the three, the pilot in flight gear is the most complex with the Mae West and parachute with harness being separate pieces.
A good study of the general equipment used by FAA crew. Sub Lieut (A) A Mc D Garland, a fighter pilot attached to 809 Squadron; Sub Lieut (A) F Rabone, an Observer in a Fairey Albacore; Sub Lieut. (A) W H G Browne, an Observer attached to 832 Squadron.
Like all ICM kits, these figures are made to appeal to the beginner modeller whilst still being attractive to the more experienced (and typically picky). If you accept that these are primarily designed for aircraft modellers (who are not hard core figure painters) and the pose, stance and grouping of the figures is probably more important than the fine detail then these stand up pretty well.
Upon close examination, especially compared to new digitally sculpted 3D prints, these figures look simplistic and they seem to have been sculpted by hand and then converted into an injection molded format, rather than cast in resin. ICM designs kits to a price point, and here you get 3 full figures (in a matched set) for less than the price of a single resin (or 3D) figure.
First up we have the officer in dress uniform pointing to something in the distance. This is important as he is the one who ties the set together with the other two figures following his lead.
The second figure, and my personal favourite, is the pilot in flight gear. I really like the stance on this guy as he looks relaxed and the parachute over his shoulder hangs very realistically.
If you look closely at the finish on the plastic (under a coat of grey primer here) you can see that the master was hand sculpted. Small imperfections, marks and scratches are a tell-tale give away.
The third and final figure is a seaman who is also looking up, needing to shade his eyes. Having him holding a paint tin, with brush provided but not shown here, also tells a small story of its own.
CONCLUSION - ICM 1:32 WWII Pilots of British Naval Aviation (32118)
Much like all the recent ICM figure releases this new set of WW2 Crew of British Naval Aviation in 1:32 offers budget friendly figures with interesting (and complimentary) poses. Compared to high end figures these are a bit rudimentary, especially the faces, but when paired with an aircraft model and painted properly they do their job.

As I've said before I highly recommend these figure sets from ICM as they represent great value for money and ease of assembly.

Gary Wickham

Many thanks to ICM plastic model kits ICM plastic model kits for supplying the kit for Gary to review.

You can see more of Gary's Work on his Website & his Facebook page.