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Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car

ICM 1/35 Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car Build Review

By Rob Pollock

Date of Review May 2013 Manufacturer ICM
Subject Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35535 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car in this scale Cons Still needs lots of work
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $15.00

The Project

This kit received a favourable 'first look' review on this site recently, and on that basis, I decided this would be a nice interim 'breather' project. The kit was listed in the earlier review as requiring 'advanced' skills, but as I completed the model in seven days to the standard seen here, and as I am an occasional car modeller only, I think modellers with reasonable skill levels and confidence would enjoy building this kit.

That said, the kit is not without its foibles; think of it as an eccentric uncle whom without warning shouts inappropriate words during a quiet family meal.

Everything looks good. The parts are well-moulded with no flash. Detail is crisp. However, previous devotees of ICM will recognise the rather soft styrene, which can be easily damaged by careless blade work (Ask me how I know.), but has some benefit when it comes to removing the absolutely tiny handles and levers from their sprue gates.

Instructions are in Russian and English in a sequence of 21 steps, A page is allocated to sprue layouts; the sprue parts are numbered, but with the occasional error. Colour callouts are Model Master. Each step utilises exploded views, with the alpha-numeric parts indicated as appropriate.

Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car

The model is based on that of a 'Special Purpose Garage, Moscow 1945' selection of two vehicles, each with a different registration (front and back plates provided). The exterior colour is black, but as a web search revealed several 1936 Packard models in crimson red, I decided that crimson (Humbrol 20) might be an appropriate colour for a 'red' car.

The engine builds cleanly with good detail. Chassis cross-members and road springs link neatly together. There is, though, an oddity in Step 8. The tyres are each constructed from five thin discs and the hubcap. Each disc has a serrated outer edge to simulate tread. The hubcap is fitted to the face of the innermost disc, with the other sections joined and then slotted over the hub and the last disc as a single unit. As the hubs require chroming, it's necessary to treat the tyres and hub as separate painting features.

Further, when the discs are married-up, the tread appears overstated with deep gaps between sections. My solution was to face-fill the tread faces (as a unit) with green putty, carefully sand off any excess to face level, and then with a small wire brush lightly rub the tread face in the tread direction. The result is that the filler is slightly reduced, leaving the adjacent disc edges otherwise unaffected, and an acceptable tread level is achieved. It sounds more difficult than it was. Others may not see this particular build feature as an issue.

Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car

In Step 11, another oddity: the body shell is in two longitudinal halves, so the builder should be prepared for additional finishing work on the shell both internally and externally. The interior details are nicely realised. The price paid for this detailing is that the interior panels are just that – separate panels that have to be fixed to the inner faces of the external door units, with two additional panels to be fitted to the internal rear area of the body shell itself. This sounds simple enough, but once the panels and door sections are matched, a vertical groove is created centrally which in turn is meant to receive the outer edge of the driver/passenger divider in a 'T'. In this case the groove was too narrow and required a little fettling so as to slot in with the divider edge on each side of the car. To note, the clear window parts are sandwiched between the internal and external panel sections.

In Step 13, part A41 is forlornly hovering over the upturned body shell, which otherwise is shown to indicate the placements of dashboard, front and rear screens, and luggage compartment door. It may be that a printing error has occurred and there should be a directional arrow indicating that A41 is in fact the rear seat backrest, and should be fitted adjacent the rear seat itself.

When fitting the body shell over the body frame (Step 15), there is a slot/tab fixing arrangement along the line of the rear wings (fenders). The fit was ok here, but the forward section of the shell at the firewall, where the firewall rides the transmission hump, required a little extra work at the line to avoid it sitting too high on the chassis. Unfortunately, when I noticed this, the rear section was already secured and access to the forward area was too restricted.

My solution was to free a chassis cross-member underneath the engine, which allowed the engine to sit a little lower, so that the shell could be fixed flush to the chassis. Once this was achieved I then readjusted the cross-member. The alignment is important because in Step 16, trim items B4 and B16 fit along each side adjacent the running board, flush with the external door panels, and lining up to a piece of body detail adjacent the engine compartment, effectively spanning a considerable length of the car. These two pieces in turn house two chrome fixings used to secure the two spare tyre units at pre-designated points. In short, beginning with the fitting of the internal panels to the door faces, and up to the point where the long pieces of trim are set, if anything is out of alignment, everything is out of alignment.

In Step 17, the complete body unit is fitted to the chassis. The rear of the chassis frames are gently curved to fit flush against the inner line of the rear wheel wells. This looked fine initially, but when the units were secured the car appeared to be raised at the rear section – more like a street rod than a 1930s limo. I rechecked the build sequence for the chassis/axle/road springs in Step 9, and although it appeared that the build had been executed correctly, something was clearly incorrect. I will accept that it's likely something I've done, but I still have a suspicion that the axle (A12) is misaligned relative to the road springs (C37/C38). I made a couple of clandestine adjustments to the chassis/body frame to correct the 'sit'. If you build the model without issues at this point- kudos!

In Step 21, the placement of the windscreen wiper units is indicated by two arrows, as fixed to the top of the screen. In fact, these units should be fixed to the lower edge of the window adjacent the forward panel.

Although the interior detail is good, I didn't think it so good that I wanted to model the Packard with open doors, although this is technically possible. I did however choose to open one side of the engine compartment, with the hood cover cocked back and over. I added a few cables and wiring detail in the engine area as a simple enhancement. I also used a tiny piece of 2mm plastic rod, chromed, for the filler cap along the rear wing.

The few decals provided are presented on a tiny sheet. They are thin and in register, but do not respond to chemical softeners. I used Micro Set and Mr Mark and these made no impression at all. This is particularly annoying where the slightly rounded hub centres are concerned. Finally, I used thinned white glue and glued them in place, ditto dash decals and registration plate numbers.

Packard Twelve (Model 1936) WWII Soviet Leader's Car

There are five figures with this kit – of Stalin, Molotov, et.al. They are bagged separately on a single sprue and have their own instruction sheet. The figures are well-moulded with excellent detail. For scale, I chose the figure of Zhukov, as he appears to be striding forward while the other figures appear somewhat static.

Here are my pros and cons.

  • Pros: good detail, practical construction sequences, quality figures, reasonable price, scale might be useful with armour subjects/dioramas (To note, in 1/35 the Packard is just 15.5 cm in length.).
  • Cons: minor errors/omissions in instructions, some build-links too fussy, poor decals.

If you are interested in a kit that 'builds itself', look elsewhere. If you are willing to exercise a few of your modelling skills and think laterally, this might be a subject of interest.

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