by: Darren Baker [ ]
One of the latest offerings from ICM provides the modeller with not one, not two but three German Army trucks in the Three Ton Range from no less than three vehicle manufacturers. These models have all been released previously as standalone offerings, however bringing them together does provide the modeller a chance to have WW11 German soft skin transports at a more affordable price. The three manufacturers covered in this release are KHD, Mercedes and perhaps most surprisingly for the uninitiated, a Ford. The Ford Army trucks going into German Army use were in Ford plants based in France, which fell to the invading German forces.
KHD S3000 Review
First impressions of this offering from ICM are fair, but there are a few things that caught my eye. In the initial release this particular model had some flash present on some areas of the sprues, happily on this example this issue appears to have been addressed and while there are some mild moulding seams they are now minor in the case of this example. Clean up of the moulding seams on some smaller parts will have to be tackled carefully, but a better model will be the result of taking your time in relation to these areas of the model. Otherwise everything looks good at this point.
One of the things I really appreciate about ICM is the effort that they put into the hidden areas of their models, in the case of trucks this means the chassis and engine. The engine is nicely detailed, especially so when you consider that ICM does not provide photo etched parts with their models. The modeller only needs to add some wiring detail to this element to lift the engine and bay to a high standard. The chassis of the model is a multi-part affair, and this approach allows ICM to mould in a good level of detail for this area. The only downside to this approach is that great care must be taken by the modeller to insure that the chassis is square when finished; if you fail in this regard you will have a bad time of it as the build progresses.
One aspect I wish that ICM would build into this model is the ability to finish the model with the front wheels orientated as the modeller should wish; unfortunately this offering from ICM is the same as most other kits in that the wheels can only be shown facing forward unless you want to tackle some surgery. The wheels themselves are a mix of good and bad. The wheels hubs are very nicely detailed, but the vinyl rubber tyres are lacking in the clarity of the tread detail; I am unsure if this is a problem with this sample or a general issue, I suppose they could represent heavily worn tyres.
The cab of the model is quite good both inside and out. The interior is of course not dripping in luxury, but what needs to there is present. The dials in the cab are replicated via the use of a decal. The steering column is a nice touch as it is complete from where it joins the steering wheel to where it connects to the steering rack. The doors of the cab have separate interior and exterior parts which avoids the issue of the ejector pin marks. While on the subject of ejector pin marks, I am pleased to say that ICM seems to have got a grip on this issue and only very minor ones are present in this sample. The bonnet or hood if preferred is split into two halves and so I believe that the engine could be displayed on the finished model, but I am unable to confirm if the lower side sections should be folded, left as is or cut free and glued to the chassis. One other thing the modeller should consider doing here is to make the seat cushioning looked lived in as it looks new from the box.
The wooden cargo bed has been very well tackled by ICM; there are no ejector pin marks of note present, the board detail is good even though no wood grain is present and the finer details are present. While talking of wood grain I will admit to liking this to be present, but in all honestly the grain detail would not be seen. The loops for a canvas roof are supplied and being separate could be placed in a stored position if preferred; you could also make your own canvas for the model if wished, be that a full or half canvas.
I am very pleased to see this in this offering included here as it does make for a nice model. Complaints are restricted to wants rather than what is included as I would have liked to be able to show the wheels turned and have the option of displaying the engine. The addition of some scratch work by the modeller will further enhance the engine. The chassis and oily parts are especially good in this model.
Mercedes Type L3000S Review
The mouldings of this offering look good throughout from examination. I did notice the usual seam lines and ejector pin marks present on every manufacturer’s models, in all other respects I do not see any moulding issues that the modeller needs to worry about.
The chassis for this model is a multi-part construction that does mean the modeller will need to be careful during its construction and so ensure that it remains square, as this will avoid issues later on. The steps that mount to the chassis rails are reasonably detailed but the step itself would be better in textured photo etch. The leaf springs are one of those areas where the modeller will need to be careful when removing seam lines. The exhaust of the model will again benefit from being drilled out at the end, or to cut off a small amount at the end of the exhaust and replace with brass tubing. While on the subject of chassis rails there are some minor ejector pin marks on the inner face that would ideally need to be addressed.
ICM has as usual provided a nice rendition of the engine and gear box with so far as I can see all of the major structures present including the gear shifter which is mounted directly to the gear box and so will require that care is taken when placing inside the cab to avoid breakage. The only major component that I could not find was the battery and if I’m honest I’m not sure where this would be mounted anyway. Additionally if the modeller adds some wire of different gauges to replicate the cables and pipes that would be present in this area, and so would further improve it. The axles are simplistic in design but exhibit the required level of detail, my usual gripe stands in that the front axle is designed in such a way that the wheels can only be depicted in straight ahead orientation. The tyres for the model will be a bone of contention due to being provided in vinyl rubber as I know this is one of those substances that some modellers detest, with that said the tyres do exhibit a very nice road pattern tread. The wheels themselves have the required level of detail and so should look good on the finished model.
Moving on to the cab of the model, the general shapes of all the provided parts would appear to be accurate. There are some ejector pin marks on the underside of the roof, but due to the way the model has been designed access to them is very good. The clear portions of the cab have a reasonable thickness to them, and so should not cause magnification. The bench seat inside the cab again exhibits my usual complaint of look new! So therefore I strongly recommend the modeller gives it that ‘lived in’ look. The floor of the cab and the engine firewall have good shape to them, but I was surprised to find only two foot pedals provided and I am unsure if this is correct or not. The hole for the gear shifter to go through is of a reasonable size but as mentioned earlier be careful during the insertion. The steering column is well covered, and is designed to protrude through the firewall into the engine bay to mate up with the steering mechanism.
The doors of the cab have been provided with separate door cards that hide all of the ejector pin marks present, the window winders and door handles have been provided separately and so do look better than moulded on details. I believe the design would allow you with minimal work to depict a door window wound down to whatever depth you desire. The doors have not been made to be shown open but again I believe only minor work would be required to replicate this aspect. On the radiator housing the Mercedes emblem is very well replicated and so looks good. Unfortunately ICM has again made no effort to depict the hood/bonnet open, and rather than tackle this by doing surgery on the plastic I would seek out an aftermarket alternative.
Moving to the cargo bed of the model, ICM has not tried to replicate wood grain detail but has provided the required planking detail. The sides and rear of the cargo bed could be opened on the real vehicle, but this has not been tackled in the model. The loops that could be used to created supports for a canvas roof have been provided as part of the moulding for the front of the cargo bed and as such could only really be used as a pattern, should the roof be desired by the modeller. Moving to the underside of the truck bed, we find very good rail structure for supporting the truck bed. This includes the spare wheel, which is going to be a pig to paint when installed. There are two storage bins provided, one of which I thought might’ve contained the vehicle’s batteries. But as these are at the rear of the truck, I am very doubtful of this. A storage rack for a Jerry can is present, but the mouldings would look better in photo etch due to the limitations of plastic mouldings. I am very pleased to see that the Jerry can does have the three hand holds as required. A third storage bin is placed at the front of the truck bed opposite the spare wheel but I feel this is far too large to be battery storage. The mud guards attached to the truck bed do not have any ejector pin marks that require tackling.
At the end of assembly ICM has added all those small details that are so easily lost, broken or bent during construction, and this to a large degree reduces the risk of any these incidents occurring. I am surprised while looking through the parts provided that no wing mirrors appear to be present and while looking at period photographs it does appear to me that a wing mirror should be provided on the driver’s side of the vehicle. This aside I appreciate that the lenses for the lights are clear and so separate. Wiper blades have been provided and a particularly nice touch is a Mercedes bonnet ornament is present.
ICM has provided four finishing options for the model,
Mercedes type L3000S - Ukraine Summer 1941
Mercedes type L3000S - Russia 1942
Mercedes type L3000S - North Africa Summer 1942
Mercedes type L3000S - Italy Summer 1944
The decals themselves are suitably thin, as I cannot feel them of the carrier paper. The colour and detail is good and should meet the requirements of most modellers.
All told this model has some great attributes from the engine and chassis through to the interior of the cab and the planking detail on the truck bed. The missing details such as the wing mirror and from what I can see the battery for the engine are not exactly insurmountable issues for any modeller. I would dearly have appreciated the hood/bonnet being a openable aspect of the model, I do however really appreciate the Mercedes insignia on the grill and the ornament on top of the radiator housing.
Ford V3000S Review
The Ford truck offered by ICM is I believe, quite a bit older than the previous offerings. However this only really shows in the way that the instructions have been tackled as they are very busy, and so require care when following them. The mouldings themselves, other than some ejector pin marks that will definitely need to be tackled but in all other respects this is a very pleasing set of mouldings.
As is usual for ICM, the chassis is a multi-part affair and due to the design of the cross members it should ideally be assembled on a cutting mat with a grid pattern on it to ensure it is assembled squarely. Due to the busy nature of the instructions, it is not 100% clear as to the placement of parts and so check, check and check again to ensure correct placement of parts.
The engine and gear box of the model is as usual very well replicated and again, will benefit from some wires to replicate the cables and tubes in the engine bay. The air filtration and radiator fan, are nice aspects of this model. The gear lever is mounted to the gear box, and will protrude through the floor of the cab. It needs to be noted that there is a B and a C version of the model. The B version represents the model from 1941 to 1942 and the C version 1943 to 1945. I have examined the instruction booklet, several times and have not found a B or C mentioned anywhere else. There are a number of parts marked optional, but I am at a loss to what these changes represent.
The wheels of the model have nicely detailed mouldings, and happily for some the tyres are plastic injection mouldings rather than vinyl rubber. A very big thumbs up from me is that the front wheels can be left steerable or, set in any orientation the modeller desires. An aspect I greatly appreciate as to me a turned wheel holds a lot more visual appeal. The exhaust of the model will ideally be drilled out as being replaced with a brass pipe will be more problematic due to a mounting clip at the end of the exhausted.
The cab of this model is very nice, due to it having the sweeping curves so prominent in Ford and Chevrolet vehicles of the period. The curves provided are instantly recognisable as being from a vehicle from one of these manufacturers. The clear portions of the cab are of a good thickness so will not magnify the interior. The doors are separate mouldings, with a separate door card and so door windows could be shown wound down. Unfortunately the door furniture is moulded on rather than separate. A particularly nice aspect of the structure is that I believe it could easily be shown open, and I was especially pleased to see the front grills are actual grills with gaps between them.
The details on the interior of the cab are all present, just be careful to feed the gear changer through the supplied hole. The seats again would ideally need weathering from the modeller to provide the ideal look, but this for me is a personal attribute, your opinion may differ. Lights have been provided with clear lenses, and the option of blackout lenses have been supplied. The drivers wing mirror is nicely replicated and additionally the wiper arms are supplied separately. The tools are restricted to a shovel, and I know many will be glad the clamp for it is a separate part. There is a very nicely replicated Jerry can with the three handles than the incorrect two. The bracket structure is however on the heavy side due to the limitations of plastic moulding.
The truck bed of the model has nice planking detail but no wood grain. The sides and rear could be dropped but this aspect is not replicated in the model. A fuel tank is provided for the underside on both the left and right side. The canvas roofing rails have been provided separately, unfortunately only two have been provided when I believe there should be four. But that is something the modeller can easily address. ICM has provided four finishing options for the model, and these cover vehicles in the following vehicles at the following times.
Russia Summer 1942
Russia Winter 1942
4th Fallschirmjager Panzer Artillery Regiment Hermann Goring Sicily June 1943
The decals themselves have good colouration and I can only just detect them on the carrier paper.
This model particularly appeals to me due to having injection molded tyres and front wheels that can be depicted in any orientation without any surgery on behalf of the modeller. The only real downside to it is that the instructions are very busy and will require a lot of care on behalf of the modeller.
I am becoming a big fan of ICM products as every new model I look at is that little bit better than the previous offering. I made a negative comment about the boxes that ICM packaged their models in and they very quickly changed to much better packaging. Now I believe that ICM actually takes the time to read reviews of their products and acts on issues that they can also see as an issue. The model is a very well done model with the tyre detail being my only real disappointment with it. I do feel that everyone who purchases this model will be pleased with it. If you want to lift it further just add some wire details to the engine, and if you want to go further still, resin tyres and some photo etched parts could be purchased.