by: Darren Baker [ ]
The king of the soft skin is at it again, ICM have now released a KHD S3000/SS M Maultier in 1/35th scale. Yes I am biased in so much as I have become a big fan of what ICM can give us with their models without having to resort to multi-media kits, and it has to be said keeping their prices down at a level where after market bells and whistles are still a realistic consideration from a price aspect.
One of the places where ICM excel is the packaging. This offering is protected by ICM’s now standard flip top cardboard box and a separate card lid with the artwork on, this approach makes ICM some of the best protected products when it comes to the rigours of postal services. Inside of this you will find a single re-sealable plastic bag containing the model parts. An examination of the contents reveals only one issue to overcome in the form of ejector pin marks, there are a few that will need to be tackled before assembly to insure that they will not and cannot be seen.
As is very common for ICM we get a very nicely replicated engine and transmission, ICM are the only company that always seems to include this sort of detail as standard. There is no photo etch or other non plastic parts, but we are still provided with a very nice and well detailed engine. The radiator fan is supplied as a separate part and looks great for a plastic piece. The only other thing I would look at doing here is to add some wiring to finish the detail off.
The chassis of the vehicle has been tackled by bringing a number of subassemblies together with chassis rails, as such you will need to take care and make sure everything remains and cures square and major issues will be ahead. The front leaf springs have some seam lines that will need to be cleaned up, but if taken gently no issues should bother you. The exhaust is made up of three parts but it has not been slide moulded and so the look of the end will be greatly improved via a little drilling out.
The next area I looked at was the axles and it is this area that while well detailed it is locked up; turned front wheels add a nice touch to a finished model I feel and that is not an issue task to scratch on this model. The tyres are vinyl with this model which I know can be a bone of contention with some modellers, but with that said I like what ICM has provided here.
The rear half track portion of the vehicle is locked flat with link and length tracks. The spring detail on the rear suspension elements is very good and should look pleasing. Due to the way ICM has tackled the wheel assemblies here they are very stable I feel while looking quite fragile. The link and length tracks are very nicely detailed and should look the part. One thing I do feel the tracks would benefit from is more use of the single links where the rise to the idler and drive wheel from the front and rear road wheels occurs. I will also say that the option taken by ICM here also makes it very hard to replicate the track sag that occurs and so after market tracks may be the way to go.
The cab of the truck is very bare, but that would seem to be the case in reality. However after a good look at what is present the only detail missing is the texture on the floor. The seat is pristine which as most of you know is a bugbear of mine where seats are concerned. The roof of the cab has two large ejector pin marks that will need attention. The doors have separate door liners and so look very good; it has also been pointed out to me that it enables a realistic representation of a window that has been lowered.
The exterior of the cab is a little disappointing in that the hood cannot be shown open; you could cut the pieces up, but they would be far too thick to provide a realistic representation of the hood, as such it falls to the after market to provide this proposition for the modeller. The lines of the cad and hood look good to me, and as far as I can tell accurate. Details such as wing mirrors, handles and wiper blades really add some nice detail here.
The wooden deck has been well replicated as regards plank detail, but no wood grain effect is present, this does not concern me as a swipe with some sandpaper will add that effect and so easier to add than remove. I am very pleased to see that ICM has managed to avoid ejector pin on the deck areas of the model. The rails for a canvas cover have been provided and so any modeller who wants to add a tarpaulin has had their work load reduced.
As with all of the soft skins I can remember looking at from ICM I am very pleased with what is present. The negatives for me is inability to display that fantastic engine detail that ICM has provided and the link and length tracks making track sag hard to replicate. The highs outweigh the negatives in the form of the very well detailed chassis, engine and transmission, the rear cargo bed with separate rails for a tarpaulin rate very highly with me. So taken as a whole this is another really nice addition to the ICM range of soft skins; I wonder if they will tackle any of the British soft skins?