Tamiya 1/35 CitroŽn 11 CV

KIT #: 35301
PRICE: $28.00 MSRP
DECALS: Five Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New Mold Kit

HISTORY

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 some parts of 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).

THE KIT

This is the third 11CV kit I have seen in the last few years. First was a Tamiya 1/48 version, then one by Ace in 1/72 and now this one in 1/35. I like the car. It just oozes 'French Underground' as I've seen the type used in so many WWII movies where the underground was part of the plot.

Like their 1/48 kit, this one is a curbside without a full engine. The doors are separate on this one so you can build it with the front doors open. As one expects from Tamiya, the builder will not be faced with a plethora of small parts. Tamiya's way of doing things is to incorporate a lot of small 'fiddly bits' into a single casting. It is this that probably makes Tamiya so popular. One can build a Tamiya kit of subject X much faster than one from another company that has more detail parts. But I digress.

The kit has a one-piece body. The front fenders are separate and one attaches the firewall to this assembly before gluing to the chassis. The axle stubs and bumper mounts are molded on the chassis. In fact, the only underside bit you add is the exhaust pipe and muffler piece. All of the glass pieces are separate and Tamiya is nice enough to provide a paper template for these so you can use them to cut masks. As these were used for staff cars, a German driver is provided to sit behind the wheel. Frankly, a fetching French maiden would have been my personal choice, but alas, one is not included.

The car has five options. One is a German staff car in overall Panzer Grey. Next is a French staff car in overall olive green. An all black civilian version is next with the last version also being civilian. This one is light blue with black fenders and can be built as one that has been commandeered with German plates. The decal sheet is nicely done and includes the white fender edge markings for the German staff car.

CONCLUSIONS

At $28, it probably won't be one that everyone will get. Japanese kits are getting to be rather pricey, even for small kits, which is why Hobby Boss is doing so well. But if you like these sorts of subjects and in this particular scale, well, you now have it.

My thanks to me for picking this one up. Can you say 'impulse buy'? Sure you can.

November 2009

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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