by: Adie Roberts [ ]
ICM really are producing some nice kits to be honest and this is one that has surprised me. A brief history;
In December 1931, the French Cavalry conceived a plan for the future production of armoured fighting vehicles. One of the classes foreseen was that of an Automitrailleuse de Découverte or AMD, a specialised long range reconnaissance vehicle. The specifications were formulated on 22 December 1931, changed on 18 November 1932 and approved on 9 December 1932. The final assembly and painting of the armoured cars took place in the Panhard & Levassor factory at the Avenue D'Irvy in the 13th arrondissment of Paris. The first nineteen vehicles were delivered in April 1937 and taken into service by 6e Cuirassiers. At the outbreak of the Second World War 218 vehicles were fielded with eleven squadrons.
The box art is nice and the box itself is very sturdy which seems to be the way with ICM. The contents breakdown as follows;
Four sprue's in sandy brown colour
One rubber sprue with four tyres
One decal sheet
One Instruction booklet
On opening the box were overall good the level of detail in the mouldings looked very nice, moulded black rubber tyres with nice tread on them. The booklet looks really good and easy to follow. The Injector pin marks although on the underside, were on some of the parts very deep and would require some work to make them acceptable, some stress marks to the mouldings where it has some of the detail.
Now I have to say that the body panels have some really nice detail on them, and raised rivets, the spring leaf suspension is crisp in detail. Some great detailing on some external vents, possibly making it a little too deep but still good. The turret again has some really nice detail with rivets and nice raised area for mounting armourment, plus a good crisp hatch hole.
Most of the injector marks are confined to the inside but you will have to do some work on them if you want to have the hatches open. The kit comes with some nice looking accessories like tools to be placed on the exterior a wing mirror, though this is quite thin and would require some careful removal from the sprue. All in all the whole exterior looks really good. There is also a great level of detail around the wheels with drive shafts and wheel hubs some of the detail will be lost in the construction of the kit.
The detail on the interior looks very good, though unless you leave some of the hatches or doors open you would not be able to see it properly. The driving position or dual drive as manned by a driver who had full control of the vehicle with an eight speed gear box, this is recreated internally with some nice detail. Should they get into any trouble in front of them then it could be switched to the assistant driver/radio operator, he could then drive away from any immediate danger using his four speed gear box; again this is also reproduced with steering wheel gears and foot pedals. The rest of the interior has some really nice detail including armour and machine gun drums. The engine also has some great detail, but unless you are going to cut a hole in the panel, which could be done quite easily will be impossible to see. The next bit that grabbed me was the huge fan with great detail opposite that and slightly higher than the fan was the exhaust outlet the exhaust itself has good detail on it and gives someone who loves the weathering lots of different options. The detail on the floor is nice with good rivet detail. The whole interior is very impressive even the hatches and doors internally have their own nice detail on them. When building planes I love to include wire details and weather floor pans nicely but this kit has it pretty much covered I would add some wire detail maybe slight improvement to the engine but all in all it does look really nice straight out of the box.
I have to say that ICM have surprised me with the level of detail they have produced with their instruction books it is very clear to follow with a good level of detail on the step by step printed instructions. Starting from 1 with the internal floor being connected to the chassis up to number 56 with the last panel being applied to the back of the upper hull near to the turret it is all very clear. Showing you the level of detail of the interior from 1 to 19 is practically all the interior with the rest being the hull sides and turret which again has some great detail
I found the decals to be very colourful and without any floors that I found.
ICM have provided markings for two options;
1. 1st Platoon 6th CUIR, 1st DLM, France, Spring 1940
Colour options lists Model Master paints
1749 Flat Black
1764 European Green
1710 Dark Green
1701 Military Brown
2. 3rd Platoon, 8th CUIR, 2nd DLM, France, Spring 1940
1749 Flat Black
1764 European Green
1764 Dark Green
This is the third ICM kit that I have reviewed now and I have to say that overall they are really good. This is the first piece of armour that I have been lucky enough to review and I am very impressed with it. The detail is not perfect but is very good, the amount of detail in the interior really is very good as is the amount of thought gone into it. I think this model will inspire some modellers to expose the interior in some way, this could be the hatches and doors being left open or of course cutting away some of the hull to expose the detail.
It looks like it will be a good fit, I did try two separate pieces and have to say there was no issues with those, but some of the pieces are quite small and fragile. Take also into account the R.R.P of £20.99, I recommend this kit to anyone interested in world war 2 or French light armour. I also hope that ICM carry on bringing out these kits that are not only nicely moulded but are great value for money.