GAS! ICM WW1 British Infantry

Hello,

Had a little time this afternoon to make a start on this little project, the ICM 1/35 WW1 British Infantry in Gas Masks. Thought it would make a nice break from some other builds I’m working on. My plan is to build is to feature in a small diorama of a trench or advancing across a section of no man’s land. I’ll see how they look at end of building and painting before I make a decision.

Detail and moulding quality is good. Little bit of flash, bit uniform details and wrinkles are nice and sharp. Plastic is a little soft, but easy to work with. The set features three infantrymen and an officer. The original release hards and field caps are still present, so useful to keep for conversions.

A small sprue holds the parts to make the gas masks and chest mounted bags. They look quite spooky!

And lastly, a sprue with all the personal kit, weapons and other accessories. Very nicely moulded and lots of useful stuff.

IMG_20211128_140603870~2|529x500

Instructions are printed in colour, but aren’t the easiest to follow for construction. Lots of test fitting will probably be needed.

Got the majority of one soldier built this afternoon. All fitted quite well. The ammunition pouches needed a little bending to make the conform, the softness of the plastic definitely helps!

Thanks for looking.

6 Likes

The only reservation I have over this set is the officer. I thought that by 1917 they has learned to carry a rifle like the ORs so they weren’t so obvious to snipers, etc. Similarly I believe all brass badging had been replaced by cloth, but I stand to be corrected. I also understand that while the British Army had started the war with webbing equipment, shortage of supply had resulted in a reversion to leather: originally this was supposed to be for training only but it increasingly found its way into the field, but supply problems may have been resolved by the date you are modelling.

Regards.

M

2 Likes

Did making ones way through a gas barrage show on uniforms and equipment? In other words did it make helmets etc look wet?

2 Likes

Would depend on the agent in question.

Chlorine is a “gas” gas and wouldn’t have done too much to wet uniforms. Mustard on the other hand is quite oily and should properly be thought of an an aerosol or a mist.

That being said, it’s not like anything was ever all that dry in the trenches to begin with.

2 Likes

He is a little obvious thinking about it, especially his stick! This is a reissue of the 1914 set, so he’s a legacy of the original. If I can’t do anything with him, I’ll leave him out. No doubt I can use him for something else.
Will have to look into the webbing. Should be easy to solve with painting.

1 Like

A good question.
I’m going to do a little research into it. What gas were the British Army using in 1917 and was it used prior to an attack?
Or what gas was used by the Germans if I go with keeping them in the trenches?
What other gas protection was used? With mustard being an irritant I would imagine gloves were issued.

2 Likes

I’m glad you’re tracking your build of these here. I really like figures and like to see what others do with them.

1 Like

My Bad, I had a quick look at the relevant “Osprey” and it would seem the leather only went into the field with Kitchener’s new army and webbing would be right for your models. If you can scare up a couple of rifle-holding arms from the spares box the officer should be O.K. In WW2 the real officer-killer was supposed to be the map case, when open the cellophane cover over the map produced unfortunate glints… Which reminds me, you will have to add cloth covers to the helmets, even after adding sand to the paint they were still too shiny.

Cheers,

M

1 Like

Nice looking set of figs, nice clean lines and shapes on the moulds. Looking forward to seeing this take shape.

@MoramarthT - You are quite correct in regards to the leather web equipment. In 1914 it was realised the production of the canvas 1908 pattern could not meet the demands of the rapidly growing conscript army so a leather set, the 1914 pattern, was commissioned to fill the gaps. Can’t say I’ve actually seen it in kit form on a regular soldier.

1 Like

By 1917 the go to agent for both sides was mustard. Effective defences for chlorine had been developed by this point and the necessity for favourable wind conditions made effective deployment difficult. It was also water soluble which reduced its long term effects in the rainy conditions often encountered.

Mustard was the most commonly used agent by both sides during the war (though Phosgene takes the cake for deadliest, accounting for 85% of all gas casualties). The oily liquid nature was less vulnerable to wind, impervious to water (and would contaminate puddles) and wasn’t reliant entirely on inhalation for effect.

The downside was it was less useful in direct support of infantry assault because it was liable to contaminate your own troops. The Germans used large quantities during Operation Michael to saturate front line positions and render them uninhabitable rather than attack directly.

Your boys could also be masked up on the assumption that they’re going to be gassed if in the attack.

2 Likes

Gas Capes? Mustard gas penetrates ordinary clothing such as uniforms, so rubberised cloth is needed for protection. “Noddy Suits” add charcoal and/or other filters/absorbents against nerve agents.

Cheers,

M

2 Likes

So I’ve been digging because it was bugging me. I can’t find a single reference to a WWI issue gas cape among commonwealth forces.

The closest I’ve found is an unreferenced mention of a “gas suit” issued to US medical personnel and “gunners” (I assume arty) presumably because of the need to operate in the nasty for medics and stay at their guns in the event of an attack for artillery.

1 Like

Thanks guys.
The noddy suits would be a challenge to make up, probably doable with some thin rolled out milliput. Given how cheap this set is, I might try it one day on another set.

So, from what I’ve been able to find looking around the interweb, the small box respirators the figures have were introduced in late 1916 and gave protection against chlorine and phosgene.
The first use of mustard occurred in July 1917 at the Third Battle of Ypres. So that gives me at least a 6 month period that they would be correct for.

Tom, was thinking that myself about the helmets. I think I have a couple of spares from Tamiya’s WW1 infantry. Have lots of uncovered helmets lying around so I’ll have a go at trying to make my own. Maybe cover them in some PVA soaked tissue for the first try.

1 Like

Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned “Noddy Suits” as they were more a response to nerve agents whose existence only became known to the western allies late in WW2 upon the capture of German munitions, while the Russians captured the manufacturing complex.

Cheers,

M

2 Likes

Yeah looking again at the photos I saw, they might have been WW2 era. Bit difficult to tell when they’re wearing the same helmet!

@phil2015 @Karl187 glad to have you onboard. The ICM WW1 figures are really good. I’ve been able to add most of them to my stash. Some really interesting subjects. The Italian set is probably one of my favourites. A largely forgotten force in WW1 and ICM even included a Villar-Perosa twin 9mm machine gun!

2 Likes

Haven’t done as much over the week as I would have liked. Suppose it’s the time of year.
Hopefully will have more time over the holidays.
Have managed a bit of time today and the first soldier is nearing completion as far as assembly goes.
His arms were a bit tricky to get right, but his Enfield in his hands helped get it right.

Did a little bit of research into the webbing and the cloth 1908 Pattern was the standard gear. The British Army had conducted a number of trials with leather webbing in the years prior, and all proved to be either cumbersome and awkward to wear, unsuitable for .303 clips or deteriorated.

Seems to have a good decision in the long run. Leather would have been a lot more difficult to mass produce in the war years.
Interestingly, in the James Holland documentary World War Speed, a comparison was made between the cloth 1937 webbing and the leather and metal gear worn by the German Army in WW2. More comfortable and quieter was the conclusion. The German kit clanked and rattled when on the march!

2 Likes

I’ve been working away at these as and when I get a chance and this is where they’re currently at.
Nothing to report other than the fit is very good. Just needed a little Mr Surfacer on the join between the legs.

Have been giving some thought to the final display and I’m thinking of having them advancing along a section of trench. As of they’re going to fight off a German raiding party during a gas attack.

3 Likes