by: Darren Baker [ ]
ICM has released another of the Panzerspähwagen P204. This is I believe is the 5th release of this vehicle from ICM, this release having the CDM turret. The following portion of the introduction is as provided by ICM.
The most numerous and perfect WW2 French armoured vehicle, was the AMD -35. It was designed by the Panhard company as a reconnaissance vehicle for the Cavalry. Its serial production was launched in 1934, and it was named Panhard 178. Those vehicles had rear engines and all wheel drive. Their main armament was the 25mm anti-tank gun. A total of 551 vehicles were produced up until 1940. As part of the French Army cavalry unit Panhard 178s took part in combat in the spring of 1940. More than 200 vehicles were captured by the German army and under the designation Pz.Spah.204(f) used in the Wehrmacht. Some of these vehicles had the CDM turret with the 47mm gun added.
This release from ICM is packaged in the usual manner, of a cardboard tray with flip top lid, and a separate card lid with an image of the product printed on it. Inside there is a single re-sealable plastic bag containing all the parts for the model, including another bag with the vehicle tyres inside it. Loose inside the box is an instruction booklet, with the decals nestled inside for protection.
This model from ICM has a pretty thorough interior, with the addition of some wiring needed to lift it to a very high standard. There is a very nice anti-slip floor included plus both the front and rear optional driving positions. Firewalls are included, with nice moulded on details. ICM has provided a good representation of the engine, only requiring the addition of wiring to replicate the circuits, thus finishing the model to a high degree. Also included in the interior is the ammunition stowage, and this is I believe is one area that is incorrect, due to this vehicle having the 47mm gun.
The hull of the model has been designed in such a way, that a good portion of the interior can be observed. There is a lot of rivet/bolt detail present that should make the finished model visually appealing. The leaf spring suspension has been moulded as part of the two side panels, and so clean up will require a high degree of care. The axles have a pleasing degree of detail, and it needs to be noted by the modeller that the axles are secured to the underside of the leaf springs and not mounted on the top which is more usual; so give this some thought when it comes to adding them. The wheels of the vehicle have a reasonable level of details, as does the tread of the tyres, but the tyres are vinyl, which I know will not prove popular with many modellers. External details on the whole, such as grab handles, tools and light fittings have been well tackled, that should add to the visual appeal of the exterior.
Moving onto the turret, there is unfortunately no detail on the interior of it, despite the hatches being provided as separate parts. The hatches are quite large and so if open with a figure in place it will reveal that lack of interior detail, with that said the extreme angle at the front of the turret does give it a very late war and pleasing appearance. The gun on the vehicle has not been slide moulded, but ICM has provided a disc to go on the end of the muzzle, which gives the appearance of a hollow, but I would still drill it a little bit using the disc as a guide. Disappointingly the breach has limited detail, but as the turret is missing interior detail this does not really matter. The periscopes on the turret have been provided separately, but no clear elements have been provided.
This latest offering of the Panzerspähwagen from ICM has retained the appeal of the previous models, with the added appeal of a new turret. The only error that I obviously picked up was the incorrect ammunition stowage, but this is compensated by a very good interior in all other respects, and the fact that ICM kits remain very affordable while offering a lot.