by: Darren Baker [ ]
ICM has sent Armorama a set of their latest figures in the form of ‘Soviet Armoured Carrier Riders (1979 – 1991)’ in 1/35th scale. ICM has really upped their game in the last few years with a great selection of vehicles; possibly the largest selection of wheeled vehicles of any current manufacturer. They are also releasing great figure sets in poses that I like and in this case a period that is not well covered currently. ICM are currently one of my favourite figure producers in 1/35th scale injection moulded plastic.
This is a set of four figures from ICM which are supplied on a single tan sprue. The sprue is packaged in a re-sealable clear plastic bag. The bag is packaged inside a cardboard tray with a card lid. The only other contents are an instruction sheet showing a depiction of the assembled figures. It is worth mentioning that the card lid is open to abuse by postal services, I found this out when forwarding a kit to a member where the postal service managed to cause a lot of damage despite it being a signed for package. Well worth considering if being ordered online.
A look over the single sprue gave me a positive impression of the product as there are no moulding faults that I could detect. The layout of the various figure parts and equipment is logical as each figure and its parts are together in its own area of the sprue. The gates between the sprue and the moulded parts are of an acceptable size and for the most part are placed where clean up will be easy to accomplish. In the case of the main parts of the figures these gates are placed on mating surfaces, the sole of the boots and the elbows. The plastic itself is neither hard nor soft and so should be easy to work with. The seam lines are very light for the most part and so again easily cleaned up.
All four of the figures in this offering are in seated positions, this has meant that the figures have flat butts and that will restrict or take careful consideration when it comes to displaying them; other than that everything looks to be rosy. Uniform detail looks correct for the time period, but the uniform is cold weather kit. Crease detail looks to be natural and should add some nice options for slight variations in colour in order to add some life to the figures. One slight concern is that the figures have flat top head syndrome and with Ushanka hats being supplied for three of the figures and a forage cap for the fourth the joint may not look realistic; this belief is mainly due to there being no recess in the hats as you would get with steel helmets. One other downside is that the soles of the boots have no detail other than the instep despite being clearly visible.
Back to the plus points of these figure. The fur lined collars are supplied as separate parts which provides good definition to the area and provides a recess for the heads to sit in and providing a nice undercut detail. The ammunition pouches are also separate mouldings with ICM having a shaped recess in the torso for the pouches to sit in and so providing a natural look with a good fit. The only other separate items are the water bottles, which are ok to my mind. The AK74 rifles provided have fair detail present, but the muzzles will be improved by a light drilling. The only other thing is that the stocks are a little heavy for scale, but this is in my opinion down to limitations of moulding rather than a poor effort by ICM.
Moving onto the hand and facial detail I was pleasantly surprised, all of the faces have subtle differences and one face does have a moustache present and well replicated. Resin heads would be an improvement over what is supplied, but I am not convinced that the added cost is necessary unless you are able to paint faces to a very high standard to warrant that cost. The hand detail is acceptable but not great, I say this as the finger definition is a little weak, but still acceptable for the scale.
I am for the most part pleased with the contents in the box as is. The figures represent a time period that is poorly represented in modelling as a whole and these figures will be greatly appreciated I believe. They are also presented as vehicle riders which will please both figure and armour modellers, after all you can likely count the number of injection moulded plastic figures for this period on one hand and the only other vehicle riders I know of in this scale are in resin. Because of these reasons I say if you see them buy them as I think this will turn into one of those offerings that finds itself in a lot of stashes.