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1/72 Retrokit Automitrailleuse (AM) White Armored Car

Kit Review

By Patrick Keenan - Aurora, Illinois USA

Basic Item Information

Item

Automitrailleuse (AM) White Armored Car

Stock Number

R72030

Manufacturer

Retrokit (A sponsor of WarWheels)

Scale

1/72

Medium

Resin and Photo-Etched Brass Pieces

Kit Contents

(31) resin pieces and (4) PE Brass Fenders

Retail Price

25 Euro (Approximately $37.00 USD)

Reviewer

Patrick Keenan

Review Date

February 21, 2008

Review Summary*

Review Type

Full Build

Basic Positive Features

Accurate and very nicely detailed model kit. Fit of kit was VERY good.

Basic Negative Features

No decals, painting or marking information provided.

Overall Rating

4.06 of 5.0

Kit Accuracy Rating

4.5

Parts Fit Rating

4.5

Parts Casting Quality/ Detail Level Rating

4.25

Decals, Marking/ Painting Information Rating

None Provided

Instructions/Packaging Rating

3.0

Recommendation

 Highly Recommended

* For information regarding the review terms, grading scale, etc. please go to the WarWheels Review FAQ/Key

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Detailed Review

Background

To be completely up front with you all, Retrokit is a sponsor of WarWheels.net.

Retrokit is a small resin kit manufacturer located in the UK.  They produce 1/72 scale models of armored vehicles (tracked and wheeled) and some sci-fi kits and have a decent inventory of kits in their stable.  Retrokit seems to specialize in more esoteric subjects like the AM White Armored Car, but they don’t appear to concentrate on any one era or type of vehicle.  Although I have a number of Retrokit models in my stash, this is the first review I am doing of any of their products.  So, I now present my review of Retrokit’s 1/72 Automitrailleuse (AM) White Armored Car model kit. 

The AM White armored car was first produced in 1915 and had a chassis built by the American firm White Motor Car Co. but had it’s armored body built by French company Laffly.  In 1918, the French took over full production of the AM White.  The vehicles were externally VERY similar and hard to tell the difference.  However, the main difference between Models 1915 and 1918 was internal in nature in that the US built 1915 model was left-hand drive while it’s French 1918 brother was right-hand drive.  For more info on the AM White armored car check out the vehicle index here at WarWheels.

http://www.warwheels.net/WhiteModel1918acINDEX.html

 

Kit Accuracy

Like most WWI era vehicles, there is not a lot of reference material available.  However, I do have a few photos of this vehicle on WarWheels and there are a couple nice photos in George Forty’s “A Photo History of Armoured Cars in Two World Wars”.  After checking those photos, I have found no major discrepancies in size, shape or dimensions of the model kit.  In fact, I have to say that I didn’t find any proven minor discrepancies either.  I hate going out on a limb without having a HUGE amount of references, but I am going to say that this kit looks like it is very accurate when compared to the limited resources I have.

 
Fit of Parts

The fit of the parts was outstanding when compared to any type of model kit (including injection molded kits), and superb when compared to other resin kits in any scale.  I only used putty on one occasion which was completely my fault.  To be quite honest, I was sanding a piece, got distracted somehow, and took off too much resin.  If it wouldn’t have been for that incident, no putty would have been needed to complete the kit.

The most vexing construction aspect of any wheeled vehicle model kit (especially resin kits) is usually the suspension and wheel alignment.  Although I love WFV’s this part of the construction usually gives me fits as if these parts aren’t properly aligned, the entire model kit will be “off”.  Well, I am very happy to say that the fit and alignment of the AM White was almost perfect and went very smoothly.   I had no problems whatsoever.  Kudos to Retrokit!

 

Quality of Casting/ Detail Level of Parts

The quality of the casting of the kit resin pieces is top notch and very well done.  There is no mold shift, only very little flash present on the parts and even small pieces are also well cast when compared to kits produced by other resin companies.  For a resin kit, very little clean up and putty work was needed.  In fact, the only putty I needed to use was due to a bit of overzealous sanding on my part.  If not for that, no putty would have been needed.

The detail level of each individual part is very good.  The larger pieces such as the armored car body, turret, wheels, etc are excellent.  Only the smallest parts are a bit less detailed than I’d like to see. However, since this kit is only 1/72 scale, this phenomenon is fairly common even for plastic model kits produced by the “big boys” (large model companies), so I don’t feel ‘cheated’.  Also, after completing the model kit, I also feel that the overall detail level will was very good too. 
 
Decals, Marking Information and Painting Information

Like many resin manufacturers, Retrokit does NOT provide Decals for the AM White kit.  Although this is the norm, it really disappoints me to see this practice.  In fact, at times it discourages me from buying resin kits.  To me, no decals in a kit mean much more work for me to do.  To properly finish some of these kits, I’ll have to do a bunch of my own research and create my own markings.  Honestly, I am lazy and if I am buying a kit, I’d like to get markings with it.  This is only my opinion, but I am sure I am not alone.

Also, no painting or markings information is provided by Retrokit as well.  Please see my comments above about the lack of decals as those are also applicable to the lack of painting and markings info too.  The great news is that Retrokit is starting to include decals with their upcoming kits and are even going to produce decals for some of their prior releases.  Way to go Retrokit!!

I finished the model using Tamiya Acrylics.  The base coat was J.N. (Japanese Navy) Green XF-11, and the rubber tires were painted XF-63 German Grey.  To weather the AM White, I dry-brushed a mixture of XF-53 Neutral Grey and the base coat J.N. Green.  Finally, I used MIG Pigments “Brick Dust” P029 to give it a "lived in" look.

 
Instructions/Packaging

Again, like many resin kit manufacturers, Retrokit provides only basic construction instructions.  Only one exploded view drawing is given to us to aid us in construction.  The good news is that the kit is fairly uncomplicated and the one drawing was sufficient enough for most modelers who have even a rudimentary knowledge of resin kits.  Two fairly large and very clear photographs are also provided to assist in the building process, and compliment the drawing very well.

Retrokit packages their kits in a sturdy cardboard box and has their parts bagged and wrapped in bubble wrap.  The packaging should help the kit stand up to most any abuse it encounters in our wonderful postal services’ hands.  That is unless they decide to use the package as a wheel jack while changing a tire.

 
Conclusion

Retrokit has released a very interesting armored car kit in the AM White and was a fun and relatively easy project when compared to other resin kits.  The accuracy level seems to be very high when compared to the limited references out there and the model pieces are well detailed and well cast.

The main negative issue with this model kit is the lack of decals, markings and painting instructions.  With that being said, Retrokit is not alone in this practice as most other small resin model kit manufacturers do not provide them either.  The great news though is Retrokit is planning on releasing many future kits with decals and upgraded instructions.  

Thanks to Domi Jadoul and Retrokit for providing the review sample to me.

Highly Recommended
 
Copyright: Patrick Keenan - November 29, 2007