by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1 (leichter geländ Einheitz Personenkraftwagen) or in English Easier Terrain Unit standard-passenger car was produced by Stoewer for the most part, but Hanomag and BMW also produced some up until 1944. It is my understanding that identical frames were provided to each of the three producers who then added their own engines to the vehicle and so a pain for the vehicle mechanics that would need three sets of spares. While this vehicle was produced into 1944 it was replaced slowly but surely by the far better vehicle the Kübelwagen. This was a good vehicle design, but maintenance issues, its weight and the reliability of the vehicle was its downfall. On the plus side there were two and four wheel drive versions of this vehicle available.
ICM has taken a great step in these days of internet shopping by packaging their models in a cardboard box with flip top lid and the a card lid placed on top of that, this style of packaging does in my opinion greatly improve the odds of a model travelling through the mail systems of the world and still reaching the buyer in the same condition that it left the factory. The only down side is that ICM package all of the parts for the model in a single reseal-able plastic bag and the clear parts in separate plastic bag, but these are then all placed together in the single bag with the rest of the kit parts. My concern is that parts could be damaged by rubbing against each other in the bag.
An examination of the sprues reveals very well moulded offerings with no obvious issues in the process. Taking a look at the back of the mouldings does reveal a number of ejector pin marks, but these are shallow and so should not be overly difficult to remedy. There are some flow marks present on larger mouldings that are clearly seen, but to both my eyes and sense of touch detected no physical issues to the moulded parts.
The chassis of this model has been provided as a single piece for the most part with a nice level of detail present and so there are no concerns about keeping the chassis square. There are elements of the chassis that are added to the main moulding and this does allow for some superb detail to be built into the model. The springs of the suspension are moulded solidly but do have good surface detail present that with careful painting will really look the part. The suspension arms also have a very nice level of detail that if you work on the underside the detail could be made to stand out well when painted. The axles cause me some concern as while they have nicely detailed differentials the axles themselves are not straight and while they have square connectors it will take some care to get them correctly orientated. Lastly in this area of the model is a very nice engine and gearbox, again the addition of some wires to the area will add nice eye catching detail. The drive axle looks good but will I feel be a difficult part to install. Looking over the oily elements of the vehicle does give me the impression that ICM has excelled in this aspect of the model.
The wheels and tyres of the model have been tackled in a way that does away with seam line issues. The tread detail looks good and will please those who detest vinyl tyres on vehicles. The wheel bolt detail has been nicely replicated which will come out well with careful painting. My only issue is that ICM keeps adding all this really nice detail and they have yet to provide the option of showing the wheels turned which I feel is much more visually pleasing. It has to be considered that functional steering usually impacts on accuracy, but the option of parts to set the wheels in a straight or turned orientation could easily be managed by ICM.
Moving onto the external structure of the vehicle and I am for the most part very happy with what I find. The external elements all look to be very good as regards accuracy. The doors of the vehicle can be left open if wished I believe despite not being covered in the instructions. The hood of the vehicle has been done in a way that it could be left open if desired with a little scratch work. The lower portions each side will need to be cut away and the metal latches will need to be scratched. I also feel that the panels will need quite a lot of thinning to improve the accuracy of the look if this task is tackled. I do think that the detail hidden under that bonnet is worth the effort in order to display it. The raised detail present on the panels is of a high standard and gives the bulky appearance of the vehicle presence; I also like the handles on the doors which are well done. The jerry can racks on the rear of the vehicle look nice and ICM has provided jerry cans with the correct three handles present. The lights of the vehicle have been provided with clear lenses which is another nice touch.
The internal detail of the vehicle is fairly bland as it should be in a military vehicle of this period as they were built to be functional not comfortable. I would have liked to see some wear and tear where the seat surfaces are concerned, but this aspect could be tackled with some sanding, grinding and filler. I am pleased to see that ICM has provided personal weapons for the un-included crew and made a reasonable effort on the clamps for a company that does not use photo etched parts, but they would be better if replaced. Dial decals are supplied but I cannot see application of these covered in the instructions. All of the controls and pedals of the model have been provided and have a reasonable scale look to them but some refining of the parts will add improvement I think.
This offering of the Le.gl.Einheitz-Pkw Kfz. 1 from ICM is the raised soft roof version which has been tackled nicely by ICM. The clear glazing creates an issue for the modeller who wants the doors open as the door glazing is supplied in two single runs that will need to be cut; it does however provide a very pleasing look to the model even without a roof in place. I appreciate that ICM has supplied separate wiper blades for the front screen that allows the modeller to show them in operation. The soft portion of the roof is made up of six parts that will require some care during assembly but it will provide a nice finished look to it; I would have liked to see the cloth portion of the roof being a little less taught. I have noted six ejector pin marks on the underside of the roof that will need some attention.
The decals included in the offering are a little thicker than I would have liked as I am able to feel them on the carrier paper. ICM has provided a choice of four finishing options for the model which are:
le.gl.Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1, 16 Pz Div, Don area, June 1942
le.gl. Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1, 11 Pz Div, Ukraine, July 1941
le.gl. Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1, Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941
le.gl. Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1, 1/JG 51, Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941
I am very pleased with the effort ICM has put into this offering of the le.gl. Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1 in 1/35th scale. There are of course things that could be improved such as the hood/bonnet in order to display that glorious detail ICM has hidden under it to better effect; I am a little confused as to why they do not push the excellent detail they usually hide. This offering from ICM has a lot going for it and as it provides the modeller with a great frame for super detailing or for a rolled or damaged vehicle.