ICM- FCM 36 with French Tank Crew
For the First Look review of this kit-- head here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14730
I have been enjoying the new generation of ICM kits-- with amazing detail and unique designs and excellent figures as well. The fact that all of these are included in this kit box means we get a lot of bang for our buck. The assembly begins with the first four steps building up the hull tub- tub sides, partitions, and bottom side skirts. The next sixteen steps involve the assembly of the sprockets, road wheel bogies, idlers, and skirts. The wheels are multi-part assemblies and everything goes together pretty well.
The next three steps are all about assembling the four pieces of tracks together and adding them to the lower hull. I decided to leave these off until the end as the paint jobs on this tank was going to involve a lot of masking and I didn´t want to pull them apart. The tracks do go together quite well though and look great. Step 24 adds the fenders to the upper hull and then the upper and lower hulls together. We then add the grills, hatch hinges, and other bits.
Step 29 would have you add the exhaust assembly, pioneer tools, and driver´s hatch and hinges. You have the choice of leaving the hatch open or closed- but with no interior or even driver´s seat, there is not much point. I left the tools off until after painting. The pickaxe and sledgehammer seem a little small for the scale, but I am unsure. More tools are added- a large wrench, tarp, and rail. Steps 36-48 involve assembling the machine gun and main gun to the mantlet and into the turret. Rear turret entry hatch can be open or closed, and with the included figure, you could easily leave it open with no worries of the lack of interior. However, with the scheme choice I used, I wanted to show off the tricolor and not hide it, so I left it closed. After adding the vision slits, the turret is attached to the hull.
The final steps involve the two sprue Es- which involve individual links for the two tow chains. I initially thought no way...I will go get chain from Michael´s or somewhere to replace these...but I decided to give them a try. They come off the sprues easily with very little remnants to sand off-- you get closed links and links with small gaps that you alternate and I was able to assemble the two chains in about 15 minutes or so...they look good and hold together well as long as you don't yank on them. Adding them to the front shackles was no problem.
Painting and Weathering
As mentioned in the First Look, there are two schemes featured-- each representative of key moments in history for the tank. I chose the latter scheme because I really like the tricolor on the rear of the turret and it seemed a bit more challenging. I used AMMO paints from a WWI French armor set for the most part-- using their masking putty to help with the four different colors.
The scheme seems a bit stark with the painting freshly completed...so I started to add some oil paint filters to tone things down and begin weathering. Using various shades of Oilbrushers, I applied dot filtering all over and then drew the paints down with a brush dampened with odorless enamel thinner to blend things together. I then used Tamiya black panel line wash to bring out the details. I kept the weathering pigments down to a minimum as I wanted to show a tank relatively new to the field-- and tie in the figures.
The figures include a tanker, two officers, and two children who are being shown the tank by the officers. My painting skills are still growing, so understand the figures really are quite nice despite my attempts.
ICM has really released an excellent kit here. Timely as well as it parallels Tamiya's kit of the R35 which gives us two excellent early-war French tanks to fill out the collection and the addition of the figures ties everything into an excellent vignette. I am not done with the figures as I have an idea for a base that requires me to tie them all together but hopefully soon I will be able to show off the completed piece. The fit is excellent and the multi-piece vinyl tracks don't pose too great of a challenge and look great on the tank. This build went together quickly and the most challenging part was the paint scheme, as is typical of French armor pieces. An enjoyable build all around!
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to ICM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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