US WASP (1943 - 1945)
The Women’s Airforce Service Pilots organization was a unit during World War 2 in which women became trained pilots in order to test or ferry aircraft to war zones, the whole intent being to free more male pilots for combat roles. Formed from the Women’s Flying Training Detachment and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, the WASPs merged these two into a single unit in 1942 and carried out their various duties until 1944. Despite their service, WASPs were accorded no military standing and did not receive any of the benefits accorded male members of the Army Air Corps. Thirty-eight members of the unit died while transporting military aircraft or cargo, towing targets for live anti-aircraft training, or performing any of a number of other high-risk training missions in the service of their country. In 1977, thirty-three years afterwards, the survivors were finally granted veteran status. In 2009 the unit was collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their selfless duty.
ICM has once again come out with a figure set unlike anything else on the market. In this case, they provide three beautifully sculpted figures of women pilots and support staff in casual poses which can be employed in a variety of dioramas or stand as individual display pieces. All three figures are very well detailed with distinctive features and character.
Assembly is relatively straight-forward with a couple of exceptions, one being the pilot with the parachute harness, which took me a bit of fiddling to figure out. Unfortunately, ICM no longer shows multiple views of their figures in the instructions, instead offering a sort of “low rez” version of the box art. This means that you’re sometimes stuck piecing things together from guesswork. I THINK I got mine right, but without further visual reinforcement I can’t be sure.
The only other place requiring a bit of patience and putty was the office woman’s dress, which did not fit well and required some persuasion to come together. Putty is definitely required in any case. No other problems with assembly were encountered, however.
When it comes to painting, I discovered online that the range of uniforms used is a lot broader than what is presented on the box art, so I took liberties and used some of the online information to paint them up in more than the fairly drab khaki shown. I love the differences among the figures, in that you can clearly see that the woman with the parachute is an “older hand” than the other two women. All three positively exude character and I can hardly wait to find a suitable setting for each of them. Outstanding!
All in all, I can’t think of anything about this set I didn’t like with the exception of the somewhat vague instructions. This is a unique set that I am really charmed with. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
My thanks to ICM for constantly pushing the modeling frontier, and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add these lovely ladies to my collection.
Everyone be safe and happy modeling!