Fans of older aircraft with two sets of wings should welcome ICM’s three-kit boxing, offering Soviet, German and Japanese machines.
If you enjoy building biplanes, especially in 1/72 scale, ICM’s new set (Biplanes 1930s-40s, 72210) is for you. It provides three different ICM toolings – the delightful Soviet Polikarpov U-2/Po-2VS from 2020, the German Heinkel He 51A-1 from 2005, plus Japan’s Kawasaki Ki-10-II moulded the following year. The difference in quality is clear… the U-2/Po-2VS being the best of the bunch because it’s so modern. That said, while the other two kits are older and need more remedial work (mould seam treatment and smoothing the Kawasaki's pebbly surface texture), they still build into worthy replicas.
Above: Individual exhaust pipes come with ICM's Heinkel He 51A-1.
Above: Note the rudder bars and instrument panel (top) in this image of a Ki-10-II runner.
There’s a reasonable amount of refinement on the older products, such as individual exhaust pipes and a busy cockpit floor on the He 51; the Ki-10-II features neat exhaust port moulding, along with a decent instrument panel and rudder bars to help enliven the cockpit. The way ICM has moulded tensioned fabric is notable, although the U-2/Po-2VS is easily the best of the three, in every respect, and it comes with optional skis. As you’d expect, all kits come with their own instructions and decals, the latter being sharply printed and with good colour density, even on the white segments. The colour schemes are:
• U-2VS, White 6, 213th Night Bomber Air Division, Soviet Air Force, summer 1943
• U2-VS, Soviet Air Force, winter, 1942
• Po-2VS, White 19, 46th Tamansky GvNBAP, Soviet Air Force, spring 1945
• Po-2VS, White 23, 2nd Polish NBAP ‘Krakow’, Lublin area, summer, 1944
• He 51A-1, Black 51+B13, 3./JG 233, Luftwaffe, Bad Abling, Germany, 1936
• He 51A-1, White 10, 3./JG 132 ‘Richtofen’, Luftwaffe, Doberitz, 1937
• Ki-10-II, Capt Tateo Kato, 64 Sentai, Japanese Army Air Force, China, 1938
• Ki-10-II, 77 Sentai, Japanese Army Air Force, China, 1938
It’s not often you can buy three kits for under £20 (the retail price is £19.80) so this represents good value for biplane fans, as well as pleasing variety in types and camouflage finishes. The package is available via ICM’s official UK importer/distributor, Hannants.