I decided to build this old kit, which I found at the bottom of my closet ... It is an old ALBY joint-venture with Dragon-Shangai. I'll build this beauty OOTB, trying to get good results with this relic, not counting with after-markets.
|AMD 35 Panhard 178 - A very old ALBy - Dragon kit - I´ll build the French version|
The Panhard 178 (officially designated as Automitrailleuse de Découverte Panhard modèle 1935, 178 being the internal project number at Panhard) or "Pan-Pan" was an advanced French reconnaissance 4x4 armoured car that was designed for the French Cavalry before World War II. It had a crew of four and was equipped with an effective 25 mm main armament and a 7.5 mm coaxial machine gun.
|Panhard in parade...|
A number of these vehicles were in 1940 taken over by the Germans after the Fall of France and employed as the Panzerspähwagen P204 (f); for some months after the armistice of June production continued for the benefit of Germany. After the war a derived version, the Panhard 178B, was again taken into production by France.
In order to function as an effective long-range reconnaissance vehicle, the Panhard 178 had been kept as light as possible. The vehicle was thus rather small, only 4.79 m in length, 2.01 m wide and 2.31 m in height (1.65 m for the hull per se). Also the tapering engine compartment, where a Panhard ISK 4FII bis V4, 6332 CC, 105 hp motor had been installed, was built very low, giving the vehicle its distinctive silhouette, with a protruding fighting compartment. The use of a large turret with 26 mm frontal armour and 13 mm side armour, combined with 7 (bottom), 9 (top and glacis), 13 (back, sides and front superstructure) and 20 mm (nose) bolted and riveted armour plate for the hull, had compromised weight considerations however, so the vehicle still weighed 8.2 metric tonnes. However the mobility was rather good for a French AFV of the period: a maximum speed of 72.6 km/h and a practical range of about 300 km, made possible by two fuel tanks of 120 and 20 litres, the main one located at the extreme back of the hull.
Rough terrain capacity was somewhat limited however: though all four road wheels were actuated, the leaf spring suspension confined the off-road speed to 42 km/h and the possession of just four wheels allowed for a wading and a trench crossing capacity of only sixty centimetres; it could overcome a thirty cm vertical obstacle, assisted by two small bottom wheels in the front hull.
The driver was in the front, using an eight-speed gear box and a normal steering wheel. Steering could be switched into reverse immediately to allow the assistant-driver, seated to the left of the engine (or, from his point of view: the right), to drive the vehicle backwards in case of an emergency, using all four off-road gears, with a maximum speed of 42 km/h. This "dual drive" capacity is common for reconnaissance vehicles. The second driver had a separate entrance door at the left side of the hull. He doubled as a radio operator in the platoon commander or squadron commander vehicles, operating the short range ER29 or medium range ER26 set respectively. To make long range communications possible, one out of twelve armoured cars was a special radio vehicle.
The APX3 turret, having a large double hatch on the back, was rather large and could accommodate two men, like with the AMC 35; this was at the time exceptional for French AFVs. In the electrically traversed APX3, the commander on the right and gunner on the left benefited from a rudimentary turret basket, and sufficient vision devices including one periscope (which were of the Gundlach type on late examples) per man and PPL.RX.168 episcopes.
|Gundlach Vickers periscope|
Armament was first intended to be a newly developed 20 mm gun; when this failed to materialise it was considered to use a 37 mm Modèle 16 gun, standard for armoured cars, but this was rejected because of its poor anti-armour capacity. Instead the 25 mm SA 35 was chosen, a shortened L/47.2 derivation of the standard French antitank gun, the 25 mm Hotchkiss modèle 34. It was fitted with the L711 sight.
|Standard French AT gun 25 mm Hotchkiss modèle 34|
To compensate for the shorter barrel, the rounds use heavier charges, giving even a slightly superior muzzle velocity of 950 m/s. The gun had a maximum penetration of about fifty millimetres when using a tungsten round; the light 380 gram projectile was easily deflected by sloped armour though, even a 45° angle giving about 100% extra protection over the armour thickness measured along the horizontal plane. German tanks had many vertical plates however, and were vulnerable up to about 800 metres; on the other hand the light round, even when penetrating, often failed to set fire to an enemy vehicle; it sometimes took fifteen shots to achieve this; 150 rounds of ammunition were stored.
The secondary armament was an optionally coaxial Reibel 7.5 mm machine gun, with 3,750 rounds, 1,500 of which were armour-piercing. A reserve machine gun was carried to the right of the driver that could be mounted on top of the turret for anti-aircraft defence. Its magazines were carried on the inner walls of the fighting compartment, including the large main entrance door on the right.
|Reibel 7,5mm MG|
Experience showed that the type had several shortcomings: a weak clutch, slow turret rotation, a cramped interior, unreliable radio sets, poor cross-country drive and very noisy brakes. On the other hand it was reliable, easy to drive on roads and the engine as such was rather silent; all desirable qualities for a reconnaissance vehicle.
|AMD 35 in action|
During the production run several modifications would be made, such as the fitting of lifting hooks. The first thirty vehicles had two more primitive periscopes on the turret roof, a Chrétien diascope on its front and simple vision slits with armoured shutters on its sides; their drivers too had to use vision slits instead of an episcope. They also lacked a silencer and had semi-circular cut-outs at the wheel plate edges. From about the 111th vehicle (or fourth production batch) onward, several changes were introduced, including the fitting of an armoured ventilator covering on top of the turret, a factory plate with the name "Panhard" on the nose and a new softer factory camouflage pattern with the brown and bronze green spots no longer separated by black lines. From the 270th vehicle onwards stowage boxes were constructed on the back fenders, obscuring the pointed form of the engine compartment. The last turrets produced also had a backward pointing episcope for the commander, instead of a vision slit. (Wikipedia)
|Place of origin||France|
|In service||April 1937 - 1964|
|Wars||World War II|
First Indochina War
|Produced||February 1937 - ~October 1940|
|Number built||729 "A" versions, 414 B version|
|Weight||8.2 metric tonnes|
|Length||4.79 m with gun|
|25 mm SA 35 cannon|
|7.5 mm Reibel machine gun|
|Ground clearance||0.35 m|
Let´s rock !!! The kit:
|The kit - box open|
|Old times...Good times???|
|Out of the box...|
As I said, I chose to build the French version, so I will not use the radio frame of the German version.
The wheels seem too narrow. There are excellent resin versions on the market, but as I decided to build OOTB, I'll do something scratch, like home-made: I increased the thickness of the wheels using plasticard discs with 0.7 mm thick.
|Plasticards with 0,7mm thick|
And the "fat" wheels:
|The wheels, ready for paint...|
I don´t photographed the layer Primmer (it was the same color of the plastic), but these are the colors of my French girl:
|Black waves in the cammo|
|Gloss varnish to prevent silvering|
And the decals, with Microsol:
Now, it´s weathering....
In this week-end, the model work was productive....
My French Girl is ready!!!
This is the girl, dirty with pigments and oils...
|Panhard 178 - Left side|
|Panhard 178 - left rear|
|Panhard 178 - right rear|
|Panhard 178 - Right side|
|Panhard 178 - bird view|
|Panhard 178 with Kojak, for size comparation.|
Thanks for following, Mesdames et Messieurs ... Au revoir !!!