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First Look Review
Admiral Cabriolet
Admiral Cabriolet WWII German Staff Car
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


The last few months have seen, if not a blizzard, then at least a flurry of announcements of a series of German Staff Cars in 1/35th scale. Rarely in modeling can we see anything approaching a trend, but this must come close. The 'Heavies' have been well-covered. Apart from a few glaring absences, vehicles such as the Tiger are now, between the various manufacturers, pretty much a closed circle. The manufacturers are now looking to the many types of softskins which have not been covered so exhaustively. This trend, if I can call it that, has many possibilities for the dioramist as well. It's a lot simpler (and frequently more-convincing) to build a diorama round a smaller vehicle and a few figures than around a bigger subject.


The Admiral Cabriolet WWII German Staff Car from ICM, (kit #35471), comes on 5 sand-colored styrene sprues with a 6th containing clear parts. A total of 185 parts (plus an additional 36 for the figures) are provided along with an 8-page instruction booklet and a small decal sheet with markings (registration plates) for 4 vehicles. All this is contained within a thin cardboard box, which may not bear up well during transit.

ICM's Admiral Cabriolet - In Some Detail

Very little is present with either excess flash or moulding defects. In fact, just looking at the sprues, the quality of moulding is as good as anything done by ANY other manufacturer. Attachment points are a lot thinner than those of many other manufacturers and should clean-up easily. The plastic used by ICM also seems to be of a higher-quality with an impression of a greater density (and therefore crisper detail held on the individual parts).

Looking at the parts layout, a couple of impressions come to mind. It appears, that the parts breakdown is pretty close to the construction of the original. The Sub-Frame (chassis) alone consists of 11 parts which rather than one large moulding (as is usually seen) means that warping is avoided. The Engine consists of 28 parts allowing for finer detail (three parts alone make up the radiator) with only the need for some fine wire for the cabling from the spark-plugs needed to turn this into a superb representation. The Wheels are constructed using a series of 5 discs which does allow for a more realistic finish also. Areas such as the compartment also show a good degree of 'finesse' and there's been a lot of thought put into aspects such as the seats, dashboard and even the rear trunk which looks pretty close to scale. For the Tilt, two options are provided, open or closed with the former being a nicely-rendered representation in 7 parts. What is on the debit side are the front and rear doors. These are moulded closed although opening them up should be a pretty simple job. Once again, the designers have done a thorough job, looking at how the vehicle went together and producing separate parts whenever possible to avoid the model looking like a 'moulding'. This will require more work in assembly and a lot more care, but it'll be worth the effort.


I was impressed with ICM's V3000s and made the point that the company had crossed a 'threshold' in quality. Now with this, once again, they have set an even higher standard. The quality and design of THIS model is frankly sublime.

As to the subject, this was a frequently seen and used vehicle. It was used by high-ranking Field Officers and therefore more common than other vehicles. Herein lies its commercial sense. With other (more grandiose) types of Staff Car you could, out of interest, build one belonging to a particular member of the Regime's 'Elite', with a subject like this you could build several.

The following comments are not a criticism of the model, rather some observations on its presentation. A lot of us 'impulse-buy'. Go into a store, pick up a box and get instantly enthused by it. Unfortunately, although the content of the box is superb, I feel that some modelers may pass on it as it isn't as well presented as it deserves to be. The box-art, although well-done, doesn't really capture your attention as it deserves. It's a bit dark and perhaps a touch too 'atmospheric' - it doesn't really call attention to itself as it should. Although millions, on reading this Review will abandon work, children and the marital home to rush out and secure themselves several of these models, a lot of modelers are still steered by the initial impression from the box.

These comments aside, and bearing in mind it IS just a first-look, I still rate this model very highly indeed. .
Jim Rae takes a look at one of ICM's recent releases, the Admiral Cabriolet WWII German Staff Car, and finds out just how far the company has come in its development.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35471
  PUBLISHED: Jun 08, 2011

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2018 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


Ola Biggles Civilian vehicles were very often be commandeered by the Wehrmacht and often regarding to which department they went were not painted over. They just received WH numberplates and some form of blackout lights. When they went to the front they were painted over in the colors needed for that theater. This usually also included painting over the Chrome.Allthough this is not always the case. Check out this Beauty of a Peugeot 202 which I photographed some weeks ago. Original color. original markings and they left the chrome parts untouched. Got a whole walkaround of this car. As for painting the plastic parts chrome... there is always Alclad
JUN 13, 2011 - 05:06 AM
Regarding the license plates, officers of the intelligence service, Gestapo, diplomatic office, etc would often drive cars with civilian plates for obvious reasons. I have also seen photos of civilian cars commandeered that have civilian plates but "WH" painted on the fenders, etc. I kind of like the box art.
JUN 13, 2011 - 08:05 AM
The Admiral was built by Opel (GM German subsidiary). It was available as a 4-door saloon or cabriolet. The production of the Admiral (introduced in 1937) was cancelled in 1939 when the Opel factory started producing war material. I believe it was a 100 % German design... Frenchy
JUN 13, 2011 - 08:24 AM
You mention 36 parts for figures. What are they?
FEB 24, 2012 - 02:07 AM
Anyone got any good links ~ for images of Opel Admiral Cabriolets ? ~ WW2 photos or nowdays walk around images or Videos please ~ I wanna have a go at a 'semi' or half folded roof/hood ~ Cheers
OCT 14, 2016 - 09:05 AM
You mean something like this ? H.P.
OCT 14, 2016 - 04:20 PM
Yeah !! - Cheers Frenchy - and Sorry for the belated 'Cheers' - Ive only just now seen your reply !!
OCT 20, 2017 - 05:47 AM
Better late than never H.P.
OCT 20, 2017 - 12:18 PM
Beautiful restoration. Would love to take that to one of our local Car shows
OCT 21, 2017 - 01:29 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.

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