by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The Renault Company began designing the cab-over AH series of trucks for the French Army in 1939. One of them was an AHN truck of 3.5ton capacity. This truck was equipped with a 6 cylinder engine and was rear wheel drive only. Production was begun in March 1941 under the control of the German occupation administration. AHN trucks were widely used in all German arms of service up to the end of the war everywhere, Eastern Front, Italy and France. There were about 4000 AHN trucks produced between 1941 and 1944.
ICM has taken a great step in these days of internet shopping by packaging their models in a cardboard box with flip top lid and then a card lid placed on top of that, this style of packaging does in my opinion greatly improve the odds of a model travelling through the mail systems of the world and still reaching the buyer in the same condition that it left the factory. The only down side is that ICM package all of the parts in a single re-sealable plastic bag and in this case the tyres and clear parts in separate plastic bags, but again these are all placed together in the single bag. My concern is that parts could be damaged by rubbing against each other in the bag. The contents break down as follows;
6 tan sprues
2 clear sprue
8 vinyl rubber tyres
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
A look over this latest model offering from ICM gives me the usual good vibrations I get from most of their products. The mouldings are free from flash, but there are some flow lines present on some parts; the flow lines do not look or feel to have caused any issues that will need to be remedied. There are some ejector pin marks that will need to be tackled, but these are small and shallow, the placement of them does look to have been well considered as they are not excessive in number and a lot of the placements will be hidden on the finished model.
You will not be surprised to hear that the underside of the vehicle is of a very high standard. The chassis is a multi part affair and this approach does mean that ICM offers a very well detailed and accurate chassis for the model, but it does mean that care has to be taken by the modeller to make sure everything is square to avoid issues as you progress through the build. There are a few ejector pin marks on the inner face of the chassis rails which depending on your requirements should be fixed during the build.
Engine and Gearbox
Another area that ICM does well is the engine and gearbox of the model, the details are of a very high standard and with the addition of some wiring you will have the possibility of having a very nice jewel in the engine bay. I was unable to find reference for the engine which will make adding wiring difficult and means I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the parts, but I have come to trust the effort put in by ICM and as such I believe it to be accurate. The radiator and tin shield is also nicely represented on the model as is the pipe work.
Wheels and Suspension
The steering rack included with the model does not allow for the front wheels to be depicted turned and this is one of the few weaknesses of the model in my opinion. The leaf springs are well replicated and have only the faintest of seam lines present, so if care is taken these should look very good. The bell housing of the differential is a two piece moulding and so there will be a seam that may need to be remedied. The wheels appear to accurately match online reference and so should look good. The tyres have a very light road tread pattern on them and I am not in a position to comment on the accuracy of this pattern. The spare wheel storage area is another nicely detailed area and I cannot credit ICM highly enough for the effort they put into what is a hidden portion of the model for the most part.
The cab interior is another area where I spend fruitless hours on Google looking for reference; however there is a good amount of detail to make the area look right. The seats are a bit of a let down as while I like the design they have that new look about them rather than the lived in look. Regardless the overall look of the cab interior has been nicely tackled. The cab exterior is very nice and does match online reference, of particular note is the front grill which has open slots and nicely replicated branded parts. The glazing is of a good thickness and this prevents distortions when looking through it into the cab. The doors of the cab are fairly simple in design, appear to have all of the relevant detail. ICM has provided the doors as separate mouldings, but only indicates them added as closed, it would not take much work for them to be shown in an open position.
The Rear Cabin
Starting with the frame work that support the cabin floor and attaches it to the chassis; this has been well tackled as it will allow for ease of construction while providing a sturdy support framework, there are a few small ejector pin marks that would ideally be fixed before assembly despite how difficult they will be to see on the finished model. The cabin itself is devoid of detail on the inside which is a crime in my opinion considering how much detail ICM has lavished elsewhere. There is a wooden frame included with the model and listed as ‘not used’ and this could be modified to add roof detail, this gives the modeller a starting point for adding their own detail. The exterior of the cabin is quite good and will look the part. I cannot avoid thinking that ICM should either include interiors for models like this, or provide separate offerings for those modellers who wish to have an interior.
The decals offered only furnish one vehicle with Heer number plate and listed as being in France in 1944. The decals can just be felt on the sheet and so are in my opinion of an acceptable thickness. The carrier film around the decals is minimal and so there are no issues there.
The instruction booklet is very good, being well laid out and guiding the modeller through construction without difficulty. ICM has come a long way since I first looked at one of their kits and its instructions.
The lack of an interior in the cabin of the model is a real shame that should not be the case. The rest of the model is very good with the possible exception that the front wheels cannot be shown turned. The detail on the chassis, engine and suspension marks ICM for me as one of the best injected moulded plastic only model manufacturers out there. My only reservation about this offering is the cabin interior.