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Model Kit Review

1/35 French WWII Armoured Car "Joseph Camaret"

 

Review By Christophe Jacquemont

 

Basic Item Information

Item

French WWII Armoured Car  "Joseph Camaret"

Stock Number

350001

Manufacturer

Scale

1/35

Medium

Resin and Photoetched Parts

Retail Price

47.80 Euro

Review Date

April 22, 2016

Photos

                   

                   

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Detailed Review

BSM is a new common venture started in Spain by Minor Models and AGV Models, each playing on their own strengths of photoetch and resin expertise, respectively.

 

Their new “Joseph Camaret” armoured car is BSM's first full model kit in 1/35. I received it recently as a review sample for this website. This is a first look at the kit, but I will post a full construction review later on.

 

Background

 

This makeshift armoured car was born out of a project by the French resistance in occupied France. Two WWI vintage trucks and two Simca 5 cars were secretly converted into combat vehicles by fitting armoured superstructures to their chassis and adding armament. The work was done at night while German troops still controlled the territory. Incidentally, the Simca 5 was the licence built French version of the Fiat 500 Topolino.

 

The two Simca 5 based vehicles were armed with both a machine gun and a flamethrower. They were named “Joseph Camaret I” and “Joseph Camaret II” to honour the memory of Joseph Camaret, a former leader of the local resistance group who was captured and ultimately died in a German concentration camp.

 

A very large area was still held by German troops, trapped in the Saint-Nazaire pocket from August 1944 to the 8th of May 1945. The two armoured cars and the two armoured trucks were intended to support an attack by Free French forces from the outside of the pocket. The big French roundels on the vehicles were meant to prevent friendly fire from strafing allied aircraft. However this support role did not materialize and the improvised armoured vehicles never saw combat. I must say I can't help being a bit skeptical on their effectiveness fighting against seasoned and better equipped German troops.  However, at the very least they were probably a morale booster for the resistance group.

 

Some useful photographs of a preserved vehicle are available on the French modeling website "Maquette Garden". In addition, a lot of good information, including period photographs, can be found on another French website, “Fédération Française Des Groupes De Conservation De Vehicules Militaires” (M.V.C.G): although you might need an online translator if you don’t read French.

 

What’s In the Box?

 

The kit's contents come well protected in a rather large box, especially considering the diminutive size of the vehicle.  From what I understand this model was first planned as a comprehensive conversion for the Tamiya Simca 5 model, but BSM wisely chose to release a full kit instead. Truth is, very little of the Tamiya kit would have been used for such a conversion and the chassis would have had to be drastically modified anyway.

 

The main photoetch fret (there are also a couple of PE parts packed with the decals) is very impressive and of the proper thickness to insure scale accuracy and structural integrity. The Photoetch parts are designed to be used for the armour and chassis as well as some interior and detail pieces. The PE parts are complemented by resin parts as well.  In fact, there are more than what I was expecting actually. Resin parts include, tyres/wheels, steering wheel, chassis, machine gun and many other small detail items.

 

BSM also includes a decal sheet which provides all the necessary markings (a nice touch for a resin kit).  The markings include a large tri-colour French roundel and the vehicle names “Joseph Camaret I” and “Joseph Camaret II”.

 

The full colour instructions provided by BSM are very well done.  They consist of a double sided A4 sheet (8 ½” x 11”) containing the parts plan and construction diagrams and a single sided A4 sheet with photographs of the bottom chassis assembled and unpainted, two period photos showing the real vehicles and a couple of colour pics showing the assembled and painted model.

 

The double sided sheet is a bit difficult to read as the printed diagrams use some very faint, thin lines. However, this is not too much of a problem as the instructions are also available online and appear much clearer on one’s computer screen. While you're on Minor's website you can also have a look at additional photos of the unpainted subassemblies HERE.  To access the PDF instructions click on the following Adobe PDF icon:

 

Finally, after carefully studying the parts and instructions I can make the following comments: 

  •  Some of the resin parts exhibit a bit of flash which will have to be cleaned up.  It’s not a huge job but you will have to be careful as some of the parts are delicate!

  • The tyre tread pattern on the wheels isn’t very detailed and would also benefit by having air valves added (as with 99.9 % of all other wheeled vehicle kits out there).  Also while looking at the wheels, they looked familiar to me and it got me wondering if they were recasts of the Tamiya Simca 5 kit wheels.  Comparing this kit's wheels/tyres under magnification with high resolution photos of the Tamiya Parts I obtained from the Internet, I'm about 95% sure they are one and the same.  However, I cannot be 100% certain without comparing the plastic pieces to the resin parts. 

  •  A stronger bond between the photoetched assemblies would possibly be achieved by soldering, them.  However, I have zero experience in that field so I plan on using regular “superglue” and accelerator when I build the model kit.

  •  The Armour plates were welded together on the real vehicles, so I think weld beads will be worth adding for a more realistic look.  That effect can be achieved by using either textured stretched sprue or epoxy putty.

  •  To be frank, not much of the interior will be seen once the model will be built.  In fact, I would normally skip including the interior parts and paint the inside of the vehicle black.  However, for the sake of this review I will definitely complete the interior.

  •  No flamethrower is included with the kit.  However, as I have very little info about that weapon I will omit adding one.  But, you may want to scratch build something yourself.

  •  I'm normally wary of using decals provided by resin kit manufacturers, as I’ve had too many nightmares in the past with them disintegrating.  So, as a preventative measure, I'll probably coat the decals in this kit with Microscale Micro Decal Film to make them stronger.  However, as you get two sets of names with the decals, I'll try one first to see how it goes without prior treatment.

  • I may also add some strategically placed reinforcements on the inside of the model.  However, I will only be able to determine if that is necessary or not after the start of construction.  As the saying goes: the proof of the pudding is in the eating!

Summary

 

This product looks like a professionally packaged, extensively detailed and eminently buildable kit as long as you have some experience working with resin and photoetch. Although cautious by nature, I think my suggested improvements (i.e. making custom weld beads, etc) will help achieve an outstanding model in the end.  Anyway if you're interested in oddball armoured cars and don't mind working with photo-etched assemblies this is a great kit to pick!

 

Stay tuned for my upcoming full build log of this model kit.

 

Thanks to BSM for the Review Sample.

 
Copyright: Christophe Jacquemont - April 22, 2016