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P 204(f) with CDM Turret - ICM 1:35 (35377)


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P 204(f) with CDM Turret

ICM 1:35 (35377)

 

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The Panhard 178 was at the time of its manufacture (1935) an advanced reconnaissance armoured car used by the French armed forces. The 178 being Panhard's internal project number. The vehicle features 4 wheel drive a 25mm main gun supplemented by a 7.5mm machine gun. It was the first 4 wheel drive type of vehicle mass produced for a major power.  A feature of the vehicle was a driving position in the front for the drive, and a separate one at the rear for the second driver. The second driver also doubled as a radio operator in command vehicles.  The main gun used was a shorten version of the 25mm Hotchkiss L/42.2 the then standard French Antitank tank gun. To allow for the shorter barrel the gun used heavier charges, this would penetrate 50mm of armour using a tungsten round, 150 rounds of 25mm ammunition were carried.  Secondary armament was a coaxial Reibel 7.mm machine gun for which 3750 rounds were carried, approximately half of them being armour piercing. A further machine gun was carried which could be mounted on the turret for anti aircraft use. The magazines for this gun were carried on the walls of the fighting compartment. 

 

Approximately 370 vehicles were completed and available for use once war broke out and they were employed by infantry units as well as the Cavalry. When in combat with German vehicles armed with 20mm cannon the Panhards often came out much better than the enemy vehicles. Following the French defeat nearly 200 (many brand new) were used by German reconnaissance units. An interesting modification made by the Germans was to develop the Schienepanzer as railway protection vehicles which were fitted with special wheels to allow them to run on railway tracks. The CDM turret comes from use by Vichy French Forces.  Camouflage du Matériel was a clandestine organisation for hiding weapons and material to oppose a German invasion. However it was never used and following the German take over of Vichy the organisation was dismantled and the material distributed out. Not much is known of this organisation due to its secret nature. 

 

The Kit

The kit is a re-release by ICM of their new tool kit from 2015 (Which we note has also been re-boxed by Revell & Tamiya). This kit also includes a set of 4 figures. The kit has a full interior, both in the fighting compartment, both driving positions and the engine bay. The detail on the parts is very well done, down to the rivets on the main hull to the checker plate main floor, and the louvres on the engine covers. There are 5 sprues of tan grey plastic and 4 rubber tyres in the kit. There is an extra sprue over previous kits for the new turret. 

 

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Construction begins with the fighting compartment floor being glued to the lower hull, followed by the rear driver’s bulkhead and both drivers seats. The longitudinal bulkhead between the rear driver’s compartment and engine compartment is then glued into position, followed by the eleven piece engine. The drivers steering columns and steering wheels are next, along with the gear sticks and foot pedals. The rear drivers transverse bulkhead is then fitted as is the rack of shells for the main gun, which is glued to the fighting compartment bulkhead.

 

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Each of the two sides of the hull has a door that can be posed either open of closed. On the inside of each side there is are numerous ammunition drums, for the machine gun, to be glued into position, along with the driver’s instruments and a spare machine gun. The sides are then glued to the lower hull, followed by the front and read bulkheads and front glacis plate. The rear mounted engine deck is then attached, along with the fighting compartment roof. The engine louvres and rear mid-bulkhead hatch are then attached, and can all be posed open should the modeller wishes. The rear wheel arch mounted storage boxes are then fitted and finished off with their respective doors.

 

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Fortunately, the running gear an suspension on this kit is really simple, just the two axles with two piece differentials and drive shafts are assembled, the four suspension spring units are then fitted to the underside of the hull, followed by the axles/drive shafts. The steering linkages are then attached, along with the brake accumulators, drop links, horn and towing hooks. The wheels are each made up from two part wheels and a rubber tyre. Once assembled the four wheels are glued onto their respective axles. The rest of the hull is then detailed with grab handles, door handles, pioneer tools, headlights and a rack on the rear bulkhead.

 

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The turret is then assembled; beginning with the breech being added to the barrel, this is then fitted into the turret and the outer cover attached. This is fitted to the turret ring. The large rear entry hatch is then fitted. Periscopes and grab handles are the attached and it can be fitted to the car.

 

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Decals

The small decal sheet provides markings for just two vehicles. These are in a German Yellow Scheme with brown and green squiggles. There is some conjecture these vehicles were just one colour and the squiggles seen are from tree branch shadows?

 

 

Conclusion

This is a great little kit from ICM of an important French Armoured Car used by the Germans as well. The addition of the vehicle crew makes it much more complete. Highly recommended. 

 

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

 

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