In 1941, a number of armored vehicles were designed by the Vichy French based on the Dodge 4 x 2, 3-ton truck. The automitrailleuse Dodge-White was the first variant. This particular vehicle featured armored plates and a turret from the White-Laffly 50AM armored car. Due to a lack of components, a second variation was produced; the automitrailleuse Dodge – nicknamed the Tanakė. The Tanakė featured 12mm armored plates, a 37mm gun, and two to three FM24/29 Light Machine Guns.
These vehicles saw action in Lebanon and Syria in June and July 1941 and in North Africa in 1942.
This kit from RetroTracks
consists of 38 parts molded in a light grey resin. There are no photo-etch parts or decals provided. Included are two A4 sheets of paper; one being an “information” sheet about the Dodge Tanakė (showing a nice exterior side view of the vehicle’s “combat compartment”) and the other is an instruction sheet. There are no steps depicted for build-progression; simply a blow-up drawing showing the rather ambiguous placement of the parts. This page also includes a picture showing a “head on” view of the vehicle.
Again, there is a single blow-up drawing showing the part placement. For some parts, position will be rather cut and dry, whereas placement of other parts would be aided by photographic references or using a “common sense” approach. The reasonably low parts count makes this issue a bit better for the builder. Dry-fitting and careful examination of the parts will be a must for this build.
There are several question marks (?) on the instructions; these reference the light machinegun placement (options) and what appears to be an accessory bag. Based on optional placement points, I’m inclined to think of this as a bag used to catch the expended brass. I did locate one very good French-language website for the FM24/29 LMG, http://armesfrancaises.free.fr/FM Mle 24-29.html, however I could neither prove nor disprove what this “bag” was used for.
The parts are, as mentioned, molded in a light gray resin. The overall quality of the molding is excellent. There is some flash present, but it is minimal and appears it will be easy to remove without damage to detail.
There are three large parts; the left and right half of the “combat compartment” and the cab/engine compartment/front fenders. These three parts make up the majority of the vehicle. There will be some minimal pour-block removal to be done, flash to be removed from the cab’s windows and rear access, the rear compartment’s “view-ports,” and some general cleanup.
The two “combat compartment” halves, when dry fit, mate pretty well. Some sanding and filling will probably be needed. Additionally, before the glue is set, I’d highly recommend that these two halves are aligned with the cab. Detail on the exterior includes hinges, tie-downs, access panels, and rivets; all cleanly portrayed. The interior detail shows two “ammunition lockers(?),” a nice floor pattern, and access panels.
The cab consists of the main body, the base, seating, shift lever, and the steering wheel and column. The instructions are vague about how
the base and seating are to be installed, but looking at the parts, the base (with seats and shifter) fit in from under the cab body. The steering wheel and column should be installed before the base is attached. Detail on the inside of the cab is sharp enough that RetroTracks has included a basic instrument panel and “glove box.” The exterior detail includes the louvers on the nose and sides of the engine compartment. Though they are not exceptionally “sharp,” they are very nicely rendered. The step pattern below the doors is quite well defined.
The undercarriage/drive train consists of roughly eight parts; rear axle/drive shaft, rear dual-wheels/tires, front axle, front leaf springs, and front tires/wheels. The casting quality of these parts is excellent; detail such as the tire treads, bolt/lugs, rims, et al is very fine. The rear duals are 2/3rds cast – in other words, they are “cut off” on the top which, due to the limits of casting technology, will aid in attaching them to the underside of the “combat compartment.” For my sample, the drive shaft for the rear axle is slightly warped, as are the front leaf springs. I believe that these minor issues can be easily fixed during the assembly process.
The interior and exterior “combat compartment” doors are very nicely reproduced; excellent hinge and rivet detail on both.
The armored windshield cover can be installed in either the opened or closed position. Of note though, there is no detail on the inner side of this shield. Should it be positioned as open, the underside is not likely to be seen.
The 37mm gun, shield, and pedestal mount parts are nicely cast. The top of the shield does have one flat surface that is rather rough, but a thin application of putty will rectify that. The outer detail of the shield is quite nice; good detail overall. The inner surface is rather plain with not much in the way of the gun’s “workings.” There are two small pour plugs along the top edge; care will be needed when removing these. Basic cleanup of the shield’s edges will be needed.
The FM24/29 Light Machine Guns are, considering their size, nicely molded. Detail is good and exceptional care will be needed when removing them from their resin sprue.
Regarding the additional parts; the headlamps are nicely done, the front and rear tow- hooks are extremely, extremely fragile, and the axes are good. One of my two axes has a rather misshapen head – I believe that a careful application of fine putty (Squadron Green) to the head will allow it to be properly reshaped.
The obvious “word of caution” regarding this kit is care; because of the size and intricate nature of some parts, care will be needed when removing them from the sprues. One other note: CA or cyanoacrylate glue will be needed; regular styrene glue will not work with this material.
A Build Log
has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.
I would like to thank Gary Hirel for providing this kit for both the “In Box” and “Build” reviews. Thank you Gary.