First horseless carriage


ICM SURPRISED many at this year’s Nuremberg Toy Fair byunveiling of a 1/24 Benz Patent-Motorwagen 1886. It’s a small kit (24040), with just three styrene runners and a two-piece jig for the wheel spokes, plus a large photo-etched brass fret for the latter and the vehicle’s chain drives. ICM has taken a leaf from the original patent (a copy of which is supplied in the box) by building the vehicle around its U-shaped tubular framework, and it can be assembled in two forms – either with the kit’s styrene transmission belt or with a scratch-built replacement. All items of the original design have been captured faithfully, from the horizontal-to-vertical gearing to the large flywheel, but it’s the tricycle wheels that are the standout element, with paired sets of bowed spokes (all shaped and assembled in an ingenious jig) attaching to the rims. With its simple construction, this is a great introduction to automobile history, and future releases are planned with various passengers, including Karl Benz’s wife Bertha, who was the vehicle’s sponsor and first driver. See: or for more information.