ICM 1⁄35 Model T 1917 Ambulance
From an automotive perspective, World War I was a major turning point; previously, in every war ever waged equipment and supplies were moved in and around the battle areas by some combination of horsepower or manpower. World War I saw the first widespread use of motorized vehicles in various supporting roles. Even during the first battles of the war in 1914, the Ford Model T was a major player as many privately owned Model T’s were commandeered for various military uses.
Knowing the tactical advantages provided by automobile use, both Great Britain and France approached the subject of acquiring Model T trucks for various military purposes early on in the war. Henry Ford, very much a proponent of the isolationist movement prevalent in the United States prior to its war entrance in 1917, was not exactly cooperative with the request. While Ford wanted nothing to do with the war effort during this time, he did authorize the sale of a modest number of Model T chassis to the British military strictly for ambulance use.
Upon the United States becoming involved in the war, Ford’s mood shifted to fully supporting the effort. His change of heart prompted his selling the United States military thousands of chassis for various uses. In an effort to fulfill orders, Ford even pulled units from routine stock out of circulation to more rapidly respond to the war effort. It is even claimed the first set of chassis sent to Europe were designed such that the shipping crate could be repurposed to construct the box body for the T.
The United States military was a huge purchaser of the Model T, allowing the American Expeditionary Force to be the first truly motorized military operation in history. There was logic with that decision; all materiel had to be shipped to Europe and that was always a mulit-week endeavor. Sending horses meant some amount of acclimation time after arrival whereas a Model T was ready to go.
France also saw the quality and potential of the Model T as an ambulance, ordering 2,400 for front line field use. According to information at the Ford museum, the Model T was the first choice of the French High Commission responsible for medical affairs as it had earned a superior rating for field use.
The Ford Model T, as passenger car, pickup, delivery truck, tractor, and stationary power plant at home as well as being ambulance, delivery truck, and artillery mover in war-torn Europe and Africa, was certainly a formidable mechanical soldier during the Great War.
ICM are a Ukrainian manufacturer working for both the National and International markets. The company specializes in plastic model kits and the production of moulds. The company aim is to expand the popularity of scale modeling, and develop it as a serious hobby and interesting pastime for the younger generation.
The model comes in a 12"x 9" 1.5" box with a CAD picture superimposed on a background photo. Titles are over printed in red with smaller titles in black. Other box-art includes a front, back and side view paint scheme for the U.S. Army SSU 524 Medical Unit. The contents are two sprues of finely moulded, light grey plastic numbered and lettered alternately A & B. There is a third sprue of clear plastic containing Windows and light lenses. The decals carry markings for two American Units and two French Army units.
The kit instructions are an A4 booklet of 16 pages, containing line drawings and arrows to numbered parts. What written instructions there are, appear in both Ukrainian and English. There are paint callouts throughout the kit referring to Revell and Tamiya paints. The key for these are on the front page. In all, there are 119 parts in this kit including the glazing.
The moulding is very clean with no mould lines or release pin marks. I did find one sinkhole, but it really wasn't that dramatic. The only flash I found on the model was on the blades of the two shovels and this came away very easily. Assembly is relatively easy with only two major stumbling blocks; The front and rear suspension "V" springs. These are very thin and require extreme care when cutting away from the sprue. To be honest, these would be better if they were made from PE Brass. They'd certainly be a lot stronger!
The kit has a built in interior, which will be on show unless a flap is made to cover the tarp "door" on the rear. There is also a choice of front windscreen or not. Personally, I will leave it off. Included in the kit are a pair of stretchers. These, unfortunately, can only be shown in the open position unless you get busy with a hobby knife and some white glue and tissue. I think I will make one open and one folded.
Time for the moans! First up, this kit desperately needed a sheet of photo-etched parts. Apart from the aforementioned "V"springs, there are stretcher feet, bench supports, pedals and brake levers. There are also bonnet handles, box catches and hinges which would look better for more detail. Second moan; no driver figure! I keep saying this, "a figure lends a sense of scale and reality to a model". I know this kit was released later with four figures, but all vehicle kits need at least one figure. Final moan, decals. This particular vehicle was used by the British, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, Canadians, Africans, Russians as well as Belgians, French and Americans. Why oh why are there only decals for the U.S. and French units?
That being said, this is a good entry-level model of one of the unsung heroes of WW1.
I would recommend this model as part of a larger diorama, where fine detail wouldn't be quite as noticeable.
Overall rating: Good, 3.5 out of 5
There is a Russian company (Microdisign) that produces a set for the T Ambulance;
(Микродизайн) MD 035222 Set comes with 3 plates etching, 1 piece wood veneer, 5 elements of cast brass decor and instructions.