ICM WWII SOVIET PARTISANS
ICM's latest figure offering is a set of Soviet Partisans in WWII. Since this isn't a forum for history lessons, I will simply refer the reader to YouTube if you want to see war-time footage of the result of activities of Russia's Partisan groups during WWII.
The figure set comes packaged in a very sturdy cardboard box with a removable top; not the typical box injected molded figures usually come boxed in. Inside is a single sheet of instructions and packaged in a resealable plastic bag is a single sprue containing four figures and their gear.
The front page of the instructions include a sprue photo and a paint
chart listing color numbers for Model Master paints.
The back page of the instructions includes drawings of the completed
figures with the part numbers and paint colors being called out.
The obligatory photograph of the front of the sprue tree
The back side of the sprue tree
Upon initial inspection of the pieces some light flash was noted, but beyond that, the detail of the figures is appeared quite good. The review sample sent to me was missing a limb for one of the figures. I thought that I would just build and review the three remaining figures but tossed the idea because these four figures appear to be interacting, so I really needed to have the missing appendage to complete the scene. I ordered a replacement set and soon I was off and running (pun intended). At about $12.00, the set is inexpensive and I am pretty sure I will find a use for the other three figures.
I am going to describe each figure individually with both pros and cons listed for each figure, as well as include a general summary at the conclusion of the review.
These two figures went together with an excellent fit between the limbs and torsos. A minimal amount of putty was required at the back of the arm seams, but all in all, the fit was quite good. The tall guy, whom I will refer to as the "father" and the little guy I will refer to as "son."
Father is standing and looking rather relaxed and his left hand is resting on the shoulder of his son. Father is wearing a floppy cap which is period to the time frame these figures are intended to represent. The molding of father's cap is quite good and the fit on the figures head is also quite good. The detail of the head of father is rather weak, especially around the ears and the detail of the hair is very, very weak. Father is wearing a fur-trimmed jacket over top of a collared shirt with collar tabs, but because the molding of the shirt detail is so soft and weak, I cannot make out what the collar tabs are supposed to be. The fur trim of the jacket is OK, but could use with a bit of putty to help enhance and refine the soft detail. Around his waist is a leather belt (Remenie), which is very softly cast and could use with a bit of refining to make the belt-edges stand out. Clipped to his belt are an ammo pouch for his PPSH.41 and a M1940 recon knife. Again, the detail of the ammo pouch and the knife is very soft. On his back is a characteristic late-war haversack. The molding of the haversack is nicely done, but the area where the draw-string has bunched the fabric together is little more than a blob of plastic. Also, the haversack had a distinctive ribbed-pattern to the straps/slings. This detail is present on my review sample, but again it is so finely cast, that a coat of paint would obscure it almost completely. In his right hand is some sort of explosive devise, but alas I was unable to identify it. Father is wearing a pair of bloused breeches (Charovan), tucked into a pair of M1938 leather boots. Fit of the lower legs into the main torso was quite good. However, there are some heavy seams to remove and the tops of the boots where they meet the pant leg is soft and needs to be refined. His PPSH.41 is poorly cast and is better replaced. The detail is just not up to today's standards.
Son is wearing a round-shaped Ushanka on his head. The ushanka is a good fit to the figures head, but since it is a fur lined cap, the molding quality of the fur is very poor and has little in the way of relief. Detail of the face and head is OK, but relief is soft, especially in the areas noted above. He is wearing a child's jacket with a loose fitting ribbed turtle neck sweater over some type of collared shirt. Detail of the jacket is good but soft in the areas of the lapel and around the shoulder areas. The relief of the ribs on the turtle neck sweater is so faint, that the thin coat of primer I applied to the figure completely obscured this detail!. Son is wearing a leather belt tied around his waist, upon which is a cartridge belt for his captured Kar 98k. The cartridge belt or Patronentaschen, as provided by ICM is nothing more than a blob of plastic that has a hint of what it is intended to represent. Not only that, it is woefully undersized. I elected to replace the kit provided cartridge belt with one from DML's excellent Premium Series figure sets. Since we are discussing the cartridge belt, we might as well take a look at the Kar 98k. The one proved by ICM is actually a nice representation of the original, but the barrel is solid-cast, as is the sight at the end of the barrel. I also opted to replace this item with a selection from DML. He is wearing a pair of Charovan, like father above that are tucked into his M1938 leather boots. Like father, the area where the pants are bloused into the boots needs to be refined as the detail is very soft. One of the neat things about this figure is that he is wearing adult sized boots, giving him sort of a cartoonish look, but it really helps to show that he is a just a boy. The over sized boots and the cartridge belt along with the Kar 98k really help to convey this aspect.
One of the issues I have with these two figures, is that they don't seem to be interacting with the two squatting figures that are also part of this set. Father has a relaxed, almost smirkish expression on his face and he appears to be staring off into space. The same applies to the son figure. OK, he is about twelve years old, so you might expect his attention to wander, but he plays a role in this set of figures and I don't see how either figure fits with the other two figures, expression and body pose wise.
PROS: Great fit of torso and appendages. Nice molding of fabric folds. Great subject matter. Nice interaction between each other.
CONS: Soft molding resulting in poor detail relief. Mold seams. Disconnected facial expressions/poses. Weapons provided basically useless.
OLD MAN WITH DP MG
This is perhaps my favorite figure in the set. He has a serious expression and is holding a DP machine gun; a serious weapon! He is wearing a period cap just like father above. His facial expression is of grave concern as he studies what his comrade is explaining to him. Molding of the face and beard is exceptionally well done. The mustache and furrowed brow are very nice. However, like the other two figures he too is weak in the area of the ears and the eyes. Also, there is a mold seam that runs down (or up?), each side of his head and as a result, when I tried to scrape away the mold seam I obliterated the very fine detail of his beard. Fit of the head to the torso is perfect as was the attachment of the limbs and lower half of the figure. He is wearing a sport type coat over a collared shirt. There are no collar boards on his shirt. As noted above, the detail of the lapel and in the areas of the shoulders is weak and needs refinement He is wearing a haversack identical to the one described above. There is molded into the haversack the outline of the 47-round drum used by the DP MG. The detail of the ribbed straps is far better than on the previous figure. However it does not go far enough around his back to attach to the haversack! There is a gap between the end of the strap and the haversack itself! This can only be reminded by replacing the cast on haversack straps. His pose is relaxed and his lower leg/boot detail is very good, but just like two figures above, needs refinement to be more convincing. Our fellow is holding a DP.28 light machine gun with a 47-round drum. The molding of this weapon is very well done and captures the look of the original very nicely. The same goes for the 47-round magazine. The only short coming worth noting is that the barrel end is molded closed, leaving the modeler to drill out the barrel/muzzle end.
PROS: Excellent fit of limbs. Very nice facial expression. Nicely detailed DP.28 light machine gun.
CONS: Soft detail as previously noted. Need to drill out MG barrel.
MAN WITH KNIFE AND ATTITUDE
The fourth and final figure in the set is crouching and holding a knife. Fit of all parts is outstanding and no filler was needed. He is wearing a Papasha which is a fur lined hat that has some sort of an embellished cross on top. The relief of the fur on the hat is very soft and needs refinement. His facial expression is one of concern, but the detail is weak in the same areas noted previously. He is wearing an officers jacket over top of a collared M.35 officers tunic with collar tabs. The detail of the collar tabs is so soft that a coat of paint would cover them up completely. His trousers are bloused in his M.1938 boots. On his right hip is a holster for what probably would have been a Tokarev TT.33 automatic pistol. The mold detail of the holster is soft and needs refinement. He also has slung over his back a German Maschinenpistole 40, or MP-40. The ICM offering is a nice rendition of the original. Included in the set is the characteristic folding handle found on the MP-40. The folding stock is grossly out-of-scale and the barrel needs drilled out and there was too much flash in the trigger opening to preserve the molded on trigger. I replaced the MP-40 with an offering from Tahk.
PROS: Ease of assembly. Nice relaxed pose that interacts very well with the figure described above. Knife detail is very finely rendered and well done.
CONS: Soft detail, especially in the face and the molded on belts and straps. MP-40 needs to be replaced.
I must admit that when I first received this set of figures I was happy to see what potential they might have in the way of a small vignette or even in a small diorama. From the box art it would appear that the figures would work together to help convey a scene right before or right after an attack on a German supply column. The disconnect between the two standing figures and the two squatting figures is too apparent and thusly the set fails to achieve what is depicted or implied by the box art. It is not a surprise that the plastic used to mold these figures is soft, since that seems to be a common theme for ICM kits in general. It is this "softness" that makes me think that's why the final product is also soft on detail.
In conclusion, I think that with replacement heads and weapons and some time spent reworking webbing details and clothing details this would build into a very nice set of figures. The disconnect between the figures could be overcome with replacement heads.
PROS: Unusual subject matter. Inexpensive. Some figures can be used to represent partisans from other countries such as France.
CONS: Poorly molded weapons. Very light and soft detail needing refinement. Disconnect between figures. Good candidates for replacement heads.
RECOMMENDED with the above noted reservations.
Many Thanks to SQUADRON/MMD for the review sample.