Tuesday, 28 May 2013

ICM Prussian Line Infantry

Here is another older model of mine, dating back a year or so when I was getting back into models once more after a break from making them. Again, the kit is from one of the many new scale model companies that have sprung up in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the old Soviet bloc. ICM along with Master Box and MiniArt seem to be producing increasingly interesting lines of figures, that make a nice change from the WW2 subjects that still seem to dominate the scale model scene. A couple of years back the company produced two kits bases around the combatants of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and of the two I chose the Prussian Line Infantry as it looked the most animated set.

I don't usually do multi-figure pieces as I know from past experience that I tend to get bored with them and move on to something else. The same thing happened with this set, but over a period of about six months I did get around to finishing them and at the time I was fairly pleased with the end result, though I now have a few issues with my painting and as normal my basing, which I do really need to improve upon. Still, it was an interesting kit to take on, so much so that I am contemplating purchasing the accompanying set of French Infantry at some future point.

The 1:35 scale kit contains parts to build four Prussian soldiers, three infantrymen and an officer + his horse. The figures seem to have been designed as a group to look as if they were on the advance, which of course, the Prussian army did very effectively during that brief but violent conflict.

Of the four, though, the first figure I tackled was the least mobile, the infantryman standing still taking aim at some figure outside of the diorama, which went together easily enough with only a minor amount of filling to be done. Then I took on the officer and his horse and this figure proved to be the major challenge, most notably with his sash and sword, both of which gave me a great deal of trouble. On looking through other peoples' pictures of this set I see that many have left the officer's sash off and having done the model myself I can understand why as it did take an effort not only to fit the pieces around the body correctly, but also to then get the sash to hang correctly once the officer was astride his horse. With careful bending and numerous running repairs when it split rather than bent, I did finally get it to something approaching a satisfactory state.

Then there was that blasted sword. It looks good, held high, you can imagine the officer shouting "Vorwarts!" and urging his men on like old Blucher himself. Unfortunately the sword did have a habit of getting bumped and snapped in two. It was probably my own fault, just being clumsy, but it did seem that I spent a great deal of time crawling around on the floor with a torch trying to find the top of the blade when the blighter pinged off once more. Compared to the troubles the officer gave me, the two remaining infantrymen were a breeze.

Notable points with the figures were the headgear, the officer's peaked cap, the peakless cap of one of the infantrymen, but most of all the pickelhaub helmets which I did enjoy painting. I had a few issues with the lengthwise splitting of the helmet, which obscured the detail of the crest on the front, but with care I managed to get around that. I also felt that the faces had a certain amount of character to them, which is always good. Though some might say that the 'character' with these is mostly moustache, it makes a change from the shaved faces of most 20th century model soldiers. Another thing I noted and something which I may bear in mind for a future project (yes, I have a lot of those), is that the figures do offer a number of opportunities for conversions, the basic Prussian uniform (minus, or with a modified pickelhaub) was afterall used as the basis for numerous European uniforms after 1871, most notably the Zulu War period uniforms of the British Army.

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