by: Andras [ ]
As someone who has an affinity to models with interiors, this kit came as a very nice surprise. For a historical outlook on the role of this armored car, this link (https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-role-of-the-Panhard-AML-in-the-French-Army-Was-it-not-made-redundant-by-the-EBR-and-AMX-13) gives a very good summary.
This is my first Tiger Model kit, and I did not know what to expect. The online renderings of the model looked very, very good, and the cover art of the box itself reminds me of the Tamiya 1:48 kits; but, as we know, looks can be deceiving. In short: they are not. I mean they are not deceiving. I thoroughly enjoyed building this model.
The model comes with a very well designed instruction booklet, and a colored page showing the camouflage patterns as a painting guide. The parts are well-moulded, the detail is crisp and fine, and I found no flash anywhere - it is a very high tech plastic model. There are valves, tiny nuts and all sorts of small details present on the model that you actually need a magnifying glass for. All-in-all, it is just a great little model, with just enough parts not to make it an enormous undertaking to build. You get 7 sprues with a total of 266 parts, one of which has transparent parts, 5 vinyl tires, 2 small PE with a total of 19 parts, aluminium and a brass turned barrel for the main gun and the coaxial machine gun, four metal springs and a small decal sheet.
There is a minimal PE but not exactly overdone; the fit is good, and when I dry fitted the hull to see how it holds up, it actually stayed together without glue. The detail both inside and out is good - when you open the hatches, there will be a lot of detail to see.
There is a great option of using either vinyl tires or plastic ones - as someone who does not like vinyl, I really, applaud the inclusion of hard plastic. There is also a metal barrel included for both the main gun and the coaxial machine gun, which is also very much welcome. The suspension has metal springs -they do not work, but they do look realistic. Everything is safely bagged, in color-coded bags for the springs to make the job of the builder simpler - the whole package is just geared for a pleasant building experience. (You can find photos of the sprues in this review: https://www.themodellingnews.com/2019/07/in-boxed-135th-panhard-aml-90-light.html?m=1)
The assembly goes in a logical manner of engine-interior-exterior (I did deviate from the suggested order somewhat to make painting of the interior simpler). You start with the main gun, the quite busy interior of the turret, with radios, main gun and machine gun ammo holders, turret basket, etc, and then finish up the exterior of the turret. (Perhaps leave the larger parts that are sticking out for later… things tend to break off during weathering.)
The next couple of steps are for the assembly of the engine: it is a simple affair, but the parts are very detailed, and you will end up with a very nice replica of the real thing. The gearbox and the shafts are moulded in one piece, which makes fitting them into their place really, really simple. After the engine you move onto the main fighting compartment: the driver’s position, the firewall, and the installation of the engine. Once the hull is finished on the inside, you start to work on the outside. There are a couple of options: the back rack can be depicted open (in use) and closed, you can install an extra wheel or jerry can on the door (I wish I went with the wheel…), and there is also part A6, which goes onto one of the mudguards and is probably some sort of tarp holder: it can be installed with the tarp (or whatever it is) in, or in an empty position.
Unfortunately not much is seen of the engine, and I really was tempted to try to do a cutaway to show it. Overall the build went quickly; the model is not overengineered despite the comprehensive interior. (If anyone is up to it, some interior LED lightning would really make the model pop.)
I decided to try to dust it up properly (replicating heavy, realistic dust is something I always found challenging), so I used AK Interactive’s dust, the acrylic pencil set, and a couple of Vallejo dust washes and rainmark products.