ICM 1:35 British Infantry 1914

Well, as I had hoped, the modelling world has enjoyed something of a minor explosion in World War One kits over the last couple of years and all I can say is it's about bloody time! For decades we have had rafts of WW2 kits but precious few other eras of history represented in the 1:35 or 1:32 scale. Yes, Historex of course does it's nice if rather pricey Napoleonic figures, Airfix used to have it's historical Collectors Series and ICM dipped its toe into the Franco-Prussian War with a couple of kits, but it has taken much longer to get anything more represented in hard plastic. Now, along come ICM again with a whole new series of figures, French, Austrian, German, Anzacs and British soldiers from World War One. Tamiya too I notice has introduced a few Great War kits, but my first plunge into this new set of figures has been with ICM's British Infantry 1914.

My choosing this kit has more than a little family history attached to it as my grandfather was a pre-WW1 regular and saw action throughout the war, starting with the mobile fighting near Armentieres where he was wounded and invalided back to Blighty before returning to the ranks six months later after things had settled down to static trench warfare. After that he saw service in all the picturesque spots, Hill 60, the Somme, 3rd Ypres, but wisely kept his head down, didn't do anything daft and got through the war without further incident for which I'm very grateful as I wouldn't be writing this now. So, as you might imagine I am pretty well versed in the Great War and am glad to have found a kit representing the professional British soldiers from that early phase of the fighting.

When I first opened the box I was surprised to find that rather than a small set of pieces to make the four figures depicted in the box art that there is a mass of extra parts that can be used to turn the soldiers into troops from later in the war. There are a set of Brodie steel helmets (introduced in 1916) and numerous other weapons and tools that really only came to be used in the pell-mell fighting of trench warfare. Soldiers of the 1914 BEF travelled fairly light in comparison with stiff topped soft caps and a minimum of equipment and as it is these I want to represent the remaining bits will got into my spares box for future use.
Oodles of spares, always nice for future projects.
As can be seen from the pictures,  so far I've taken the figures to a semi built state and have left the guns for later. The figures have gone together extremely well with very little filling needed. One thing I have noticed (something I was very wary of when I plumped for an ICM kit) is that the quality of the plastic has improved. Anyone who has read my earlier post about the ICM Prussian Line Infantry will have noted my problems with thin pieces breaking, but the plastic on this kit seems more robust without sacrificing any of the detail. Someone somewhere has obviously taken note and improved the plastic mix. Nicely done, whoever you are.
No, it's not just foreshortening, he's got a big head!

Any little niggles? Just minor ones so far. The first soldier I built has a big head, just marginally bigger than the others and he looks a little odd, but lets face facts we aren't all classically proportioned adonises, so I'll let him have a big head, I can live with it. Then there is the officer. A good model in a good pose, but he is represented as an officer later in the war wearing his pips on his epaulettes whereas officers in 1914 wore their rank insignia on their cuffs as a series of worsted bands and badges set around a scalloped cuff flaps. These were later replaced with the epaulette rank as the older style meant that the Germans could easily spot officers and pick them off from a distance. I have noted that the Tamiya WW1 British Infantry kit shows an officer with the cuff insignia leading troops from later in the war. Perhaps ICM and Tamiya could do a swap? Just a thought. Anyhow, the problem is only a minor one and I have been able to manufacture cuff detail with some thin strips of paper and a little shaped plastic card. I've made him a captain, he looks like a captain.
The corrected cuff details