Having just taken delivery of this kit and after a quick look in the box I thought I'd post a review of this all new kit. Some of you may remember that Dragon released a couple of these way back in the day. I think they were using the Alby moulds. Anyway at the time I never managed to get hold of one and over the last few years have not even seen one come up for sale on ebay or the like.
So I was delighted to see ICM release this one. The kit comes in a nice strong box with a very smart cover illustration. On opening you find four sprues molded in a nice tan plastic, a set of rubber wheels and a small decal sheet. The instructions are in booklet form and are clear and easy to understand. Colours are called out clearly as well throughout construction. The decals are all in register and look very crisp indeed. Markings are provided for four French vehicles all labelled "spring 1940".
The wheels are cast in rubber and are very nice indeed having an excellent tread pattern. The rubber is not too soft either.
Sprue "A" has most of the hull structures as well as the engine and again detail here is excellent. The distinctive rivets on the outer and inner hull sides and floor pan are very well done being nicely in scale. The suspension springs are molded on the hull sides as well which means a more easier construction and better alignment later on without sacrificing detail.
Sprue "B" again has mostly inner and outer body work and engine hatches etc. The engine hatches can be posed open to show off the engine bay and here they have louvre detail on the inner faces. In fact all the hatches in the kit have the inner areas fully detailed and no sign of a pin mark at all. Again here rivet detail is exceptionally well done and in scale.
Sprue "C" deals with the turret, interior details armament and drive train. The turret looks very nice indeed and has great rivet detail. Both the main gun and co-ax machine gun look to be very good with the main gun being in two halves, some careful sanding will be needed to keep the profile of the barrel once glued. Interior parts such as seats, steering wheels and ammo are provided and again all are molded very crisply. There is no provision to turn the front wheels as the axles have square ends which slot into the wheel hubs. However I'm sure it won't be too hard to achieve this if you so desire.
And lastly sprue "E" has the wheel hubs and rims. The bolt detail on the rims is nicely done and they look to have the correct amount of bolts in place. The rear hubs as you can see have the slots for the axles.
So there you have it a quick look in the box but a very impressive peak! the quality of the parts is excellent and the colour of the plastic means it's easy to work with AND see all the fine detail. The fact it's got a full interior including engine & bay just makes this even better. Very little if any filler will be needed to sort out any pin marks and all the hatches have interior detail. What's not to like? I'm very impressed with this kit, it just oozes quality and proper research into the subject. Also the price of the kit is very competitive, I paid £20 for mine which is an absolute steal in my opinion!
Well done ICM for this one, I'm sure it will be a popular kit as it served throughout WW2 with the French and Germans (who were very impressed with it) and continued to serve right up until the 1950's.
For references I can recommend Editions Du Babbotin Focus No 6 Panhard 178 ISBN 978-2-917661-09-3. This small book has a full history and a colour walkaround of one of the three surviving vehicles left in the world.