by: Darren Baker [ ]
As World War One rolled on and the death toll grew very quickly, the uniform of the French soldier took on a change, gone are the reds, bright blues and soft hats. The French infantry soldier changed his colourful uniform in for a much more sombre blue grey offering and the soft hats were swopped for ridged steel helmets. ICM has now turned their attention to the French infantry soldier of the mid war period. By this point the flush of youth has been exposed to the guns for two long years, the mad rush to volunteer has been replaced with the desire to live and see another day.
This offering from ICM is packaged in one of the very substantial boxes with additional card lid, ICMdo take the protection of their products seriously. Inside you will find two tan sprues packaged in a re-sealable plastic bag. There is also a construction and painting guide plus a sprue identification sheet.
I started the review of this product by taking a close look at the sprues and the mouldings on them, good news there is no flash present on either sprues. The mouldings are very cleanly done and the seam lines are very fine and as such should be easy to deal with. The gates between the sprues and the moulded parts are of a reasonable size and so it should be fairly easy to remove parts due to good access. From what I am seeing at this point I am very pleased.
The figures themselves breakdown fairly conventionally, but there are some extras present as well. Three of the four figures have half arms present, half of the upper arm moulded as part of the torso and the lower arm as a separate part, I do not have an issue with that per say, but I do have some concerns about how difficult it may be to completely hide the join with damaging or marring the detail. The shapely French legs are depicted well having very nice crease detail present and the lower leg bindings also being very well replicated. I cannot see any lace detail on the footwear which I believe should be present.
The trench coats the figures are wearing are excellent as in addition to the great undercut detail offered by making the lower portions separate parts, ICM has provided recessed angled connections and so a precise location will be easily achieved. The back packs offered for the figures have been well done, but I have concerns that some shaping may be required to get a good joint between the figure and the pack. By this stage of the war gas had been used against troops and so the early gas masks are provided in this set from ICM.
One area where ICM is really beginning to stand out for me is their injection moulded plastic face and hand detail, they are really providing some great work as provided in this product. The facial detail is excellent due to a number of details, the moustache detail is very good from both scale to look, the faces are expressive and one even clearly has its mouth open. The hands are well sculpted and offer very nice finger detail due to some individual fingers being represented rather than a clenched fist.
Included with these figures are 35 pieces of equipment and weapons. These are very finely moulded in some areas and care will be required to avoid breakages during removal from the sprue. Here is a list of what is provided by ICM;
Hotchkiss Mle 1909 MG
Chauchat CSRG Mle 1915 MG
Chauchat magazine pouch
Lebel-Berthier Mle 1916 rifle
Lebel Mle 1886/93 rifle with bayonet
Lebel ammunition pouch
Ruby pistol holster
Lebel rifle bayonet
Lebel rifle bayonet in scabbard
Lebel rifle bayonet scabbard
Axe in case
Sickle in case
Wire cutters in case
Small shovel in case
A.R.S. respirator canister
M2 respirator canister
Mess tin large
Mess tin small
2 styles of canteen
Adrian M1915 steel helmet
Equipment fastening strap
Lebel M1892 revolver holster
Lebel M1892 revolver
So as you can see from this list there is an excellent selection of items to not only kit out the figure, but also to add life to a trench seen.
Having had a good look at this offering from ICM I am impressed, the quantity of items provided and the excellent moulding detail are that good. Yes there are areas that I question such as the lace detail on the footwear, but regardless these are a must have for the World War one fans out there. All of the modellers out there who have wanted to do something with a World War 1 theme no longer have an excuse not to, what with several companies releasing offerings from the period and ICM doing a great job of supplying a mix of figures to add life.