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Kit Reviews Tamiya's 1/35 French AMD35 Armoured Car

Smeggers

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Tamiya/ICM 1/35 French Armored Car AMD-35 1940 build review by Smeghead

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The kit is a re-issue of ICM’s AMD 35 Armored Car, in Tamiya boxing, with Tamiya decals and instructions manual and a single add-on sprue from the Japanese manufacturer.

The Kit
The kit arrives in a typical Tamiya box, although this seems to be a little too big for the contents. The box art consists of an artistic rendering of the completed model in olive drab overall, adorned with French roundels. The ICM sprues are packed all together in a single tight bag which led, in my case, to noticeable warping of the larger sprue – Sprue C. Tamiya items are packed individually and such better protected.
The instruction manual is printed in the usual Tamiya style in grayscale, on A4 format booklet. The first page depicts a black and white copy of the image from the box art, followed by a quadri-lingual (English, German, French and Japanese) short history of the vehicle. The upper side of the second page is reserved to technical advices, color chart. Because there is no sprue layout, a list of unused items is also included. At the bottom of the page is represented the first step of the building. Pages 2 thru 10 include diagrams of the assembly. Pages 11&12 contain information about the painting schemes and the application of decals.

Decals
The decals are printed in good registry, with excellent colors. The carrier film is cut very close to the printed edges, but they are a little thick and the edges visible. The transparency and adhesion are excellent.

Styrene Parts
Sprue A (ICM) x 1: All ICM parts are moulded in the brown stiff plastic characteristic to ICM products and contains the bottom plate, lateral exterior plates and other small items belonging to the body shell. Also moUlded on this sprue are the two halves of the engine.
Sprue B (ICM) x 1: interior floors, bulkheads, doors, front plate and read deck. The rear deck is molded with one hatch shut so only one half can be represented open.
Sprue C (ICM) x 1: turret halves, armament, ammunition and the whole horde of small parts to complete the engine and the interior detail.
Sprue E (ICM) x 1: the wheels.
All ICM parts are very well moulded, with excellent detail definition. A very fine parting seam can be encountered along a few parts, but very easy to clean except when on the leaf springs and smaller parts.
Sprue Y (Tamiya) x 1: the sprue shows a stamp on the back with the original year of release – 2007 so I assume it was initially conceived for another kit and adapted to the ICM kit. The sprue comprises parts for two fuel drums, three non-descript wooden cases, two rolled-up canvases, lower part of a figure with optional helmets and a pair of goggles. The parts are moulded in a dark green plastic. The detail is good and the fit is perfect. The leather jacket of the figure looks a little strange, but we'll see. The rolled-up canvases have difficult to remove seam lines at the ends and look a bit 1970ish. I ditched them and made my own.
Tyres (ICM) x 4: ICM provides hollow tires injected in vinyl for this build. The rubber is rather stiff and the weighted look cannot be achieved without some after-market purchases. The tyres have good thread pattern and reasonably accurate for what I could see in the war time photographs. There is no detail on the tire walls.

The Build
Being such a well detailed kit, I did a fair bit of research to ascertain where the vehicle has served. I had intended using this as part of a WW2 Desert diorama, but unfortunately, none of them went to the desert, many were captured and used by the Germans. Rather than use a standard Panzer Grey, I decided to paint it in French colours, so Olive Green came in. As for the interior, considering that the main objective of this build was the kit’s review in full, I painted it entirely, interior and exterior and I think it was a very good decision after all. As for open or closed hatches, I left the decision until the last phase of the build. I decided to build it hatches closed as my diorama did not involve mechanics or escaping crew.

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Step-by-Step Building
Generally speaking, I followed the instructions, altering things only to easy the painting process or to protect external small parts from accidents.
Floor and inner walls -The attachment of the floors to the lower hull plate it’s easy and straightforward; no difficulties here. Interior: bulkheads are attached in this step, delineating the internal space of the vehicle. For some reason the transversal bulkhead leans towards the engine room more than it should and that gave me minor troubles later on. The longitudinal bulkhead with the fan assembly went in perfectly.
Engine and Steering Wheels - the engine is a little gem and a perfect platform for super-detailing. No troubles whatsoever here, although the assembly contains some ten pieces.Steering wheels, that was a little surprise for me: judging by the external looks, I never expected AMD-35 to have a co-driver. Very easy assembly there. Attaching the steering wheels is easy and left no space for error. The fit is superb.
Side panels - it was by far the most complicated step that far, dealing with all the small parts attached to the walls: fire extinguisher, intercoms, spare weapon and spare ammunition drums. Besides, the panels have their own plumbing / wiring detail, moulded pretty much in the manner of aircraft kits that need to be detailed. A minor problem here are the locator pins in the back of the ammunition drums: they are thinner and longer than the holes designed to accommodate them. I’m not sure if that is a minor error from the manufacturer or it was made on purpose. If they are glued that way, a small space remains between the side panel and the drum. I took the easy option and cut the pins and glued the drums flush to the panel.
Attaching side panels: this is again a rather complex step, since the side panels need to match the lower plate and the bulkheads. It was here that I discovered the leaning bulkhead. Judicious use of file and knife, (and a few swear-words), then I clamped the assembly to dry overnight. Also on this step more small details (driver pedals, levers, spare ammunition for the 25 mm cannon) are added, all of them free of trouble.
Front section and Rear sections - the front plate (part B6) had a little warp to it and required a certain amount of work to locate correctly. Once glued in place the fit is perfect. The following part to join the assembly, A3, went in so well, you could hardly see the join. The driver's visor needed some work and was the only place I used any filler during this build. No such problems on theRear section; all panels fitted well here. The co-driver's hatch, however, did need the hinges removed to fit. I think the manufacturers have only considered the “open” option. Again, a minor problem, hardly worthwhile mentioning it.
Chassis undersurface - Some underside panels were attached here, as well as suspension and transmission parts. All easy and without stress. Attaching differentials: minor problem here again with the fit between parts C52 and C59, leading to a hair thin gap across the transmission axle. This is so miniscule as to not warrant any action. Few small details are to be attached here; but an additional diagram from Tamiya ensures the assembly goes error free.
Front and Rear wheels: the build of each wheel is detailed separately with additional diagrams – very neat from Tamiya! Attaching the wheels: it looks like a simple step, but for me was the most troublesome from the entire build. I’m not sure if it was me or the kit, but the parts C15 and C24 just didn’t fit as they should and I had to break them apart and re-glue, ignoring the angle of the locator hole at the back of the wheels.
Attaching rear parts - easy step! I skipped the attachment of the pioneer tools because I wanted to paint them separately, and attach them after the painting / weathering process of the vehicle was done.
Attaching the rear rack: the model maker has here the option to attach the rack extended or stored. If extended, parts Y4 and Y5 can be added. That was my intention, until I broke the rack and found it easier to glue the broken pieces in the stored position.
Attaching Engine Access Hatches and Doors - is another easy step. No problem here but the handles of the hatches seem to be a little over-scale. I decided to make my own using a fine gauge wide bent over a jig I designed for exactly that reason. The doors are teeming with detail begging to be exposed. I left the exterior handles for last, being afraid that I may damage them during painting / weathering. Attaching doors was as easy as it sounds. Not being sure how I was going to display the model, I glued the doors with white glue for final painting.
Attaching Armament - although the cannon itself contains only four parts, the assembly is quite well detailed and make an interesting piece. The barrel is moulded in halves but only the muzzle is hollow – a clever way to keep the assembly’s rigidity and to provide a good looking piece at the same time, without making use of side moulding. The coaxial machine gun is also nicely detailed, but unfortunately the moulding quality leaves a lot to be desired. The mould’s halves obviously didn’t match well and a shoulder is prominent along the part. Fixing the part is a rather delicate process and I’m not that sure that I’ve done the best of jobs there. Nonetheless, I replaced the barrel with a section of stretched tube.
Turret and Hatches - Attaching the internal turret details is not a complicated business at all, but I fellt that much of the detail is over-simplified here.
This step was what made up my mind to display a hatches closed model. As the door frame is warped there is no way to correct it without a door filling the gap. The turret was also warped but, luckily, I was able to remedy this with clamps and weights. Other hatches fitted well with little, or no remedial action required.
Attaching the turret - Fitting the turret to the upper hull was very tight and I needed to file away about 0.5mm to allow free and easy rotation.
Stowage - Since I was building a single colour vehicle, I decided that some extra storage would add some extra interest and realism to the model. As I've already said, I wasn't that enamoured with Tamiya’s rolled-up canvases, so made my own using tissue paper and white glue The wooden boxes have some nice detail to them and I had not intended to use, but felt I couldn't not use them once I realised how well defIled they were.

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Painting and Weathering
All interior painting was done by hand use Vallejo colour acrylics with an over-wash of well watered black and, when dry; a dry-brushing of lightened gun metal on the floor and bulkheads.The exterior was first sprayed with Halford's Dark Red Primer, followed by two coats of Vallejo Olive Green.
Decals were then added and treated with Decalcote.
A well-watered Vallejo Olive Drab was used on low lights then a dry-brushing of lightened Olive Green to pick up the fine details. The wheels and underside were treated to some well rubbed-in acrylic pastels with the treads picked out in shades of grey. The whole model was then sprayed with two coats of Acrylic Matt Varnish.

Conclusion
This was an excellent subject spoiled by some rather poor quality moulding and some rubbish packaging. Considering the fact that this was a rehash of an earlier ICM model, a name I have always thought highly of, I was disappointed to say the least. On a positive note, this was an unusual subject, which, with careful modelling could become a very interesting piece for a diorama. I thought the half-figure vehicle commander was a reasonable step in the right direction. I have always been an advocate of figures with vehicles.

All in all, I would give this an average 3/5.

Smeggers.
 

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