The Citroën 11CV entered production as a civilian passenger car in 1934, and was produced in four-door sedan, two-door cabriolet and two-door rumbleseat coupe versions. It was revolutionary for its day in featuring front-wheel drive and a monocoque frame. The name “Traction” comes from the French term traction avant, meaning front-wheel drive. The term ‘11CV’ represents the power of the vehicle, since CV stands for chevaux vapeur, a French unit of horsepower used to determine motor vehicle taxes.
The 11CV was powered by an air-breathing (rather than fuel-injected) four-cylinder in-line 1900cc engine producing 46hp at 3800 rpm. Rated top speed was 120km/hr and the vehicle consumed 10 litres of gasoline per 100km. It was 4.45m long, 1.67m wide and 1.52m high, and weighed 1045kg unloaded.
Along with its cousins the 7CV and 15CV, the 11CV proved immensely popular and almost 250,000 were built before production was interrupted by the Second World War in 1940. Production of the series resumed after the war and a total of almost 760,000 examples were built before production ceased in 1957.
The rugged construction and good handling qualities of the 11CV brought it to the attention of the French military, who employed large numbers as staff cars and utility vehicles. After the capture of France in 1940, German forces appropriated many 11CVs and used them in a wide variety of roles across many locations including France, Russia and North Africa.
Tamiya’s 1/48 scale kit consists of 31 dark grey styrene parts, with a further 4 clear styrene parts for the windows and headlamps. The larger parts such as the chassis floor-pan have a number of ejection pin marks but these are shallow and will be hidden after assembly.
The instructions are well laid out in the format familiar to anyone who has built a Tamiya kit before. The exploded view line drawings are clear and uncluttered, and each part has an index for the appropriate Tamiya paint color.
Construction begins with the wheels which are in one piece each, with separate hubs. Each wheel has two sprue attachment points on the center-line of the tire, so take care when removing them from the sprue. If you are careful, you will not damage the tire tread, and the remaining nub of styrene can be carefully pared and sanded away.
The hubs (parts B2) are extremely tiny and are prime candidates for tweezer-launched orbit, so take extra care when trimming them from the sprue and cleaning up the attachment points. Be very sparing with the adhesive when attaching them to the wheels.
Step 1 of the instructions continues with the chassis assembly. The floor pan (part A10) includes the mounting arms for the front and rear bumpers, which are rather delicate so once again, take care when separating the part from the sprue.
The front axle (part A5) has a collar in its center that fits into a notch in the lower side of part A10, and this is then held in place by the front suspension (part A15). Be sure to seat the axle firmly in its slot or part A15 will not fit in place.
The rear axle (part A4) simply slides into place. I was positive that I would manage to lose it at some point during construction, so I left it separate until assembly and painting was complete.
The exhaust pipe (part A12) fits into a slot on the underside of part A10. The joint between the parts is quite neat but you can add some filler if you desire. I opened up the end of the exhaust pipe with the tip of a new #11 blade.
Step 1 ends with the installation of the bumpers and the seats. I found the joints between the outer ends of the bumpers and their mounting arms left some gaps, so I filled these with gap-filling super-glue and sanded them smooth. At least one photograph of a vehicle in German service shows the front bumper to be completely missing, so you have some options in this regard.
The seats are nicely molded but the grab handles on the tops of the back-rests are a little over-scale. I decided to use the kit parts “as is” for this out-of-the-box review, but I recommend that you cut away the grab handles and replace them with thin wire.
Step 2 of the instructions deals with the front fenders (part A1), to which are added the dashboard (part A7), steering column and gear shift (part A8) and steering wheel (part A11). The dashboard is slightly simplified when compared to photographs of the real vehicle, but you can add the various switches and levers from wire and rod if you wish. Similarly, the firewall lacks the clutch, brake and gas pedals but these will be virtually invisible once the model is assembled. Again, it is no great effort to add them from wire and styrene strip if you desire.
Step 2 concludes with the vehicle’s headlamps (parts B6 and B7). These are fitted into holes in the front fenders. There was a little play in the holes and some small gaps remained after assembly, though the headlamp mountings were actually part of the fenders themselves. I used a little gap-filling superglue and sanded the joints smooth.
The kit provides both clear lenses (parts C2) and blackout covers (parts A9) for the headlamps. The instructions direct you to use the blackout covers for vehicles in German service and while common, this was by no means a hard-and-fast rule. Photographs exist of 11CV’s in German service , particularly in Luftwaffe service, with the regular headlamps. I intended to build a Wehrmacht vehicle and the few photographs I could find all show the blackout covers, so I chose to use these.
Step 3 in the instructions deals with the upper body shell (part A16), into which you must insert the side and rear window glazing (part C3). Part A16 has two sprue attachment points on the rear edge but they are nicely designed so that you can cut them off and clean up the edge without marring the outer surface of the body.
The interior of the body shell is devoid of any detail whatsoever, but this is not a major problem since it would be very difficult to see such detail if it was there. The only item possibly worth adding is the rear vision mirror at the upper center of the windshield, but that’s a matter of personal opinion. I chose not to add it.
The body shell is created with a multi-part mold (also known as “slide molding”) but be aware that this leaves a very fine mold seam from the top of the rear wheel arches to the rear edge of the rear doors. Scrape this seam away very gently with a fine file and try to avoid scratching the styrene more than necessary.
The windshield is a separate part (C1) with integrally molded windshield wipers. The instructions direct you to insert this part into the body shell from the outside. For ease of painting however, I decided to leave parts C1 and C3 separate until final assembly.
Step 4 of the instructions adds the spare wheel cover (parts A14 and B1) on the lid of the trunk, the rear license plate (part A13) and the grille (part B3). Since I was building a Wermacht vehicle with the grille the same color as the body, I fitted the grille in place according to the instructions. If you choose to model a civilian vehicle with a chrome grille however, I recommend leaving part B3 separate until after painting, then fixing it in place with super-glue or even PVA (Elmer’s Glue for us Murkins).
I placed all the completed sub-assemblies on a piece of card, anchored down with a loop of masking tape, and primed them in flat black with Citadel Chaos Black acrylic applied from a spray can. This is by far the most efficient way to prime your models, and the paint is very thin so it does not mask detail. It doesn’t mask surface blemishes either, so examine your model after spraying to ensure that you’ve cleaned up any mold seams or sprue separation points.
The instructions direct you to paint the interior and the seats in XF-55 Deck Tan, and this color is certainly evident in color photographs of restored vehicles. I chose to follow the instructions, thinning the paint 1:1 with Windex and applying it with my trusty Aztec airbrush. Photographs show the floor and firewall in a darker brown, so I used ??? I painted the dashboard with X-18 semi-gloss black as indicated in the instructions, but a number of photographs of civilian vehicles show it painted a pale tan, so use XF-55 if you prefer.
After masking the interior, I sprayed the outer body shell, front fenders, front and rear bumpers and the wheels with Tamiya XF-63 German Grey. I used a fine brush to paint the windshield frame and wipers in the same color.
The tires received a coat of Gunze Sangyo Tire Black applied with a brush. I also picked out the rear tail light with Citadel’s Mithril Silver followed by a blob of Tamiya Clear Red.
The kit provides markings for four vehicles:
- A field gray vehicle from the Luftwaffe 8th Air Corps on the Eastern Front.
- A field gray vehicle from the engineering company of the Wermacht’s 112th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front. This vehicle retained its French civilian license plates even during its service with the Wermacht.
- An olive green vehicle of the French Army in 1939/40.
- A black French civilian example. Being a civilian vehicle of course, you can paint it whatever color you wish, provided you are willing to take liberty with the license plate.
The markings are provided on a small waterslide decal sheet. The carrier film is commendably thin and the decals are all in register.
As already noted, I chose option B, since I have a diorama concept in mind for this model. There is a photograph on page 50 of Tankograd Soviet Special No. 2001 KV-2 depicting a disabled KV-2 with a Wehrmacht passenger car parked nearby, and the crew of the car posing for the picture. The car is a Wander W23, not an 11CV, and the unit is the 183rd Infantry Division rather than the 112th, but I intend to exercise some artistic license.
The kit decals settled down well under a coat of Gunze Sanyo’s Mr Mark Softer, though the divisional and tactical insignia on the fenders needed several coats to get them to conform to the compound curves of the surface.
After painting was complete, I added the windows and the windshield to the body shell using PVA glue, and fixed the body to the chassis floor. I slipped the rear axle into position, and glued the wheels in place. Voila!
This is a nice little kit that builds up easily into a nice model. It is a very quick build and the model took me approximately 3 hours to complete, not including the drying time for the paint. I highly recommend it to a beginner, to those looking for a second model for a diorama, or for someone simply looking for a nice, quick and enjoyable project.
....oh, and I'll echo my comments from the "first look" review...please please PLEASE Tamiya, release this kit in 1/35 scale. You will sell a gazillion of them for French, German and even late-war British and American dioramas.
Oldtimer Gallery http://www.autogallery.org.ru/m/cit1135.htm provides a number of wartime photographs of vehicles in German service, plus some interior shots of a restored vehicle.