by: Darren Baker [ ]
ICM has possibly done more for the soft skinned model fan than any other company in history when it comes to those with a military use. The latest kit to hit the shelves from ICM is the Type 320 (W142) Saloon World War Two German Staff Car.
The following is the introduction as supplied by ICM;
The passenger car Type 320 (W142) was a Daimler Benz pre-war middle of the range vehicle. It was produced between 1937 and 1942, in total 4037 vehicles were produced in this time. Type 320 (W142) cars were produced in different types, in particular with closed 4 door saloon bodies as depicted in this model. At the beginning of the war most of the Type 320 (W142) cars were requisitioned and used as personal transports for senior officers and generals of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. These cars were used on both the Western and Eastern fronts up until the end of World War Two.
This model is very well packaged in a rugged cardboard flip top box and a separate card lid with an image of the vehicle on it. Inside there is a single re-sealable plastic bag, this contains the kit parts for the model. The model contents break down as follows;
2 tan sprues
A clear sprue
Vinyl rubber tyres
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
An examination of the sprues for this model indicates no moulding issues other than some ejector pin marks that will ideally need attention. There are some flow lines on the larger mouldings, but these do not look or feel to have marred the finish of the mouldings concerned. There is no flash present anywhere on the model, and even the seam lines are very light and should be easily dealt with.
This offering from ICM starts with the engine, and this is a particularly finely represented offering even by the standards of ICM. Remember that ICM does not include photo etch with their models and then look at the mouldings they have supplied, everything from the head to the sump and the fan blades to the gearbox are very well represented. I particularly like the head detail of the engine, even the tops of the spark plugs has been rendered in good detail. Again the addition of some wiring detail by the modeller will lift this area even further.
The chassis is typically an ICM offering, it being a multi part affair. With this chassis being ĎVí shaped when finished keeping it correctly aligned could be harder than usual. The main rails of the chassis are both made of two parts and these will need to be cleaned up fully in order that everything closes up full, the joint is nearly half the length of each rail. The design of the chassis in the model has been tackled by ICM in a way that will make it as easy as possible to keep everything correctly aligned if cleaned up fully and assembled carefully. The end result should be a very nice looking chassis.
One of my pet hates is present in that the design of the front suspension and steering rack makes it impossible to depict the front wheels turned; I miss this ability as I feel it makes a model look more interesting. The wheels are very nice having great detail on both the inner and outer faces, I particular like the effort put into providing the Daimler Benz symbol on the wheel centres. The vinyl rubber tyres while hated by some modellers look perfectly acceptable to me. The tread detail is very light with these being road tyres, but again of an acceptable standard for me.
In addition to what has been said already, I like that ICM has supplied items such as the fuel tank, this is not just a random piece of plastic, it has shape, form and subtle detail present. The exhaust is supplied in the model, but the tail pipe will need to be drilled to improve its appearance. The running board supports and front wheel arch supports locate nicely onto the bottom of the floor of the model, again ICM has included some nice detail in this area. Some wiring detail added by the modeller to replicate electrics and brake lines will finish this area off a treat.
The interior of the model is as I expected with all of the main features present. Decals are provided for the dash board instruments, but I am unable to vouch for the accuracy of these. All of the driverís controls are present and well represented, and that includes a steering column that goes through and attaches in the engine bay. The seats both and rear have some nice detail present, but while I would like to see some lived in detail I am not as bothered as I would be on a military truck. The door cards are supplied separately from the doors and so there is no need to worry about ejector pin marks here, I also like that all of the door furniture is made of separate mouldings that improves the detail of these parts when in place. The roof does have some ejector pin marks that will need attention, but none of these are particularly serious.
Finally I looked at the exterior skin of the vehicle, and if I am honest it is this area that I am most disappointed with. The lines of the body are really nice, and so will look the part when the model is completed. The sweeping curves of the front mudguards are very well done and are one of the aspects that I like about cars of this era. I can forgive the fact that the doors of the vehicle cannot be depicted open because the soft top panel can be used either open or closed depending on what parts you use, if left open you will get a good view of the interior. My issue comes when you add the engine bay brace and then have to secure the bonnet/hood in place, this hides all of the glorious detail in the engine bay never to be seen again. The bonnet/hood design also makes it very difficult to get your saw out and display this detail, so please ICM reconsider this aspect of this type of model.
The instructions for this model are very well written. Starting with a sprue map that will help those with eyes that are getting older to find what they are looking for. The construction steps are very clearly laid out and should be easy for modellers of any age or ability to follow. The painting and decal application is provided via three way colour drawings. There are four finishing options provided look very nice and represent vehicles in four different countries either Allied to or occupied by Germany during the first years of the war, my concern here is that very little information is provided on what the vehicles represent.
This is a very nice model offering from ICM that offers some exceptional detail, but they then go and hide the jewel of this model, the engine, by making a hood/bonnet that cannot be shown open without some major surgery. I really do like the effort put in here with this offering, but please ICM when you supply such great engine detail, donít hide it away.