Ace 1/72 Traction Avant 11 CV
KIT #: 72273
PRICE: $8.95  from
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken



Allow me to paraphrase some of this from the kit instructions. Just makes things easy as I know zilch about the actual history of the car. Anyway, today, front wheel drive and 'frame-less' monocoque bodies are the norm when it comes to automobiles. However, in the 1930s, this was something of a ground breaking design. Citroen of France was one of the major producers of cars such as this and offered these 'traction avant' or 'traction' (basically 'front wheel drive') cars, which were quite popular. The 11 CV was produced starting in 1934 and there were 7 CV and 15 CV cars as well. These designations were based on the taxable horsepower of the automobile (something that still continues in the US if you look at your car's registration).

The 11 CV was powered by an in-line four cylinder engine of 1900cc that was installed longitudinally. With no need for a drive shaft, the car could be lower to the ground, which improved cornering performance and cut on wind drag. Adding a torsion bar suspension provided a smooth and comfortable ride.

The Traction was a very popular vehicle thanks to the additional speed and fuel efficiency over other cars of the time. Naturally, the military saw that these would be good to have as staff cars so the French Army bought a number of them. With the fall of France, it was normal that these would be used by the Germans as well and saw service on all fronts. Even with the end of the war, the CV 11 was kept in production until 1957. It was one of the finalists in the Car of the Century judging of 1999 (which chose the Ford Model T as the winner).


Ace is one of those companies whose kits I've built in the past. They have been very much short run kits and I have to say I've started more than I've finished. They were made of soft, white plastic with very large attachment points and dodgy fit.

Well, it seems that over the years, Ace has improved. While the sprues are still large, the attachment points are quite small and this makes removing small pieces much, much easier. I found absolutely no flash, sink areas or pesky ejector pin markings where they wouldn't be hidden. The molding itself is quite well done with those panel lines and details crisply done.

With only about 30 parts total, this is not a complex kit, but it is one where the builder needs to take care. This is as much due to the finely detailed small parts as anything. Sprue removal of these small parts will have to be gently done to keep from breaking the part. The body itself comes in sections and there are no clear parts. The instructions have a template you can use, but you need to supply your own clear acetate.

The instruction sheet is a single folded piece of paper with a parts layout and markings guide on one side and the three construction steps on the other. Options are for four cars. One in gloss black as a civilian car, two German staff cars in Panzer Grey and one French Army staff car in Olive Green. The small decal sheet provides license plates and isn't the best when it comes to printing as aside from the white plates, the numbers on the plates are pretty much illegible. At this scale, I'm not sure it really matters.


ISo now we have one of these in what is the smallest scale yet. With so few parts, actual construction should not take too long. Removing and cleaning up those small bits will be somewhat time consuming, but the end result will be a car model that is interesting and will certainly not take up a lot of shelf space!

 May 2009

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