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Traction Avant 11CV

Ace 1/72 Traction Avant 11CV Build Review

By John Kelley

Date of Review February 2011 Manufacturer Ace
Subject Traction Avant 11CV Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72273 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Unique subject; good detail Cons Gaps along wheel wells and trunk
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $13.45

Background

The Traction Avant 11CV was one of a series of Citroen  automobiles with  front wheel drive monocoque construction body in Europe. Known today as Unibody Construction it gave strength to the whole car without a heavy frame.   The series was first developed in 1929 and is still popular with enthusiasts today.  Many were used by the French Army and by the Germans during the occupation of France.  Some of these vehicles were simply civilian models with new paint and, in the case of the German's, blackout lights.

The Kit

Ace Models produced some of the most unique 1/72nd scale kits available.  Their models are short-run injection moldings, which means the kit does not always fit as well as those that are produced with high quality steel molds.  Nevertheless, many of the kits they produce will never be manufactured by the more well known companies.  If you have a little patience and you take your time, Ace Kits will produce an excellent model.

Some of the detail was a little but some, like the bumpers, were molded very thin.

Assembly

Starting with the chassis, I built everything according to the kit instructions but after having finished the build, I recommend you leave off the bumpers, Parts 8 and 9, until you are finished and ready to paint. Care must be taken when removing the bumper mounts as there are several sprue gates that need to be cut-off. Because the part is so finely molded, I used a razor saw to remove it from the tree and then trimmed and filed the excess plastic off.

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I added the seats and left the wheels off until I was finished with the model. Step B is construction of the main body. I added a .010 x .040 strip styrene to the hood so that the body would be a little wider and fit under the roof better. I sanded this down and added a .010 rod along the top of the hood to simulate the hinge.

I glued the roof to the lower body and began test fitting it to the chassis. This is where the majority of the work was done. The wheel wells have large gaps between them and the body. I applied various lengths of .010 x.040 strip stryene under the body wheel arch to reduce the gaps between the arch and the fenders. This left several steps in the body wheel arch so to reduce the gaps, I added Squadron Putty to the arch and let it dry until a skin was formed on the surface of the putty. I took the body and carefully pressed it onto the chassis. The excess putty squeezed out and formed a close fit between the arch and the wheel well. I sanded off the excess and repeated the process until I narrowed the gap in both wheel arches. The trunk lid was a little short so I added .030 x .040 strip styrene. I sanded and filed this to shape. In the process, I removed two trunk lid handles which I replaced with .010 rod. Again, I added putty like the wheel arch and let it form on the gaps on the body. Carefully sanding to reduce the gaps in this area. This was the most difficult part of the entire assembly. I sanded down the gap on the windshield pillars and blended the radiator in with the hood. I added some sheet plastic to the bottom of the radiator to eliminate the gap between it and the chassis.

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After working on the body and getting it as gap free as possible, I worked on the details. Both headlights have two holes in the center of them from the molding process. Rather than fill the holes, I simply drilled them out and later painted the insides silver and filled the holes with white glue to represent lenses in the lights. I made one mistake that I had to correct later; I misread the instructions and glued the license plate Part 17 directly to the wheel well. Later research told me I needed to glue both tail lights Part 24 on and then add the license plate holder to the left tail light. The kit does not provide clear windows but instead gives you patterns to cut out. My method was to rough cut the patterns, leaving the lines, then apply them to double stick tape. I pealed off the other side and attached it to some clear sheet styrene. I cut the pattern to size and then carefully pealed the pattern from the plastic. This gave me the correct size for the windows and is much easier than trying to draw a line around the pattern and then cut. With this, the major assembly was complete and I began painting.

Painting and Finishing

Starting with the interior, I used Tamiya Flat Earth XF-52. I painted the inside of the body and all interior parts. I have to say that this was something of a guess. I have found very little, if anything, on the 11CV in military service. Since many were taken directly into service from civilian use, I figured the Earth would be a close match to a civilian interior. No doubt I'm wrong but it looked good. For the exterior, I painted it Tamiya Field Grey XF-65 with 20% White XF-2. The tires were painted NATO Black XF-69 and the muffler and exhaust were painted Red Brown XF-64.

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I gloss coated the model with Pledge Floor Wax with Future and then added a black wash to the radiator grill, wheels, handles and chassis frame. I dry brushed with the Field Grey and White mixture. The taillights were painted silver then Tamiya Clear Red and, finally, after flat coating the entire model, a drop of Future was put on the taillights and headlights.

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After completing painting, I added the windows. The side of the vehicle is slightly curved so I ran the side windows between my finger and a drill to create a bow in the window. I attached all clear parts with white glue. After this was dried, the steering wheel handle was painted black along with some of the dials and knobs on the instrument panel and this was added to the body. The seats were given a light wash of black and dry brushed Earth. The body was then attached to the chassis and the wheels added. The decals went on very well, but the adhesive was weak so I added Future to the license plate holders and the decals then adhered to the parts.

Conclusions

This was a very enjoyable kit to build and one which I would happily build again. My biggest complaint though was with the instructions. There was no history on the vehicle and except for the exterior paint scheme, no other paint recommendations or colors were given so the interior colors are based on guess work.

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One thing I would have liked to have seen included in the kit decals would have been the FFI markings that were painted on many vehicles when the Allies liberated Paris. I highly recommend this kit to anyone interested in civilian vehicles, especially those pressed in the military service. This is a unique kit and color schemes for civilian as well as military are quite abundant. Using patience and care, this model can be built into an exceptional kit.

My thanks to HobbyTerra.com for this review sample.

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