Ground vehicles
by Karen Rychlewski

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CGV Armored Car

Kit: JMGT (1:35)

CGV Armored Car, Russia, 1910

The French automobile firm Charron, Girardot et Voigt produced the first armored car which incorporated all the elements common to this vehicle type for the next fifty years. A prototype was purchased by the Russian Imperial Government and used to help quell the St. Petersburg riots in 1905, awarding the car the dubious distinction of being the first armored military vehicle to fire on its own civilians. The Russians ordered 10 more of the improved and modified version between 1906 and 1908. Two of the cars mysteriously disappeared in Germany during rail transit to Russia; ultimately, nine cars made their way to Russia by the outbreak of WWI. It is thought that one or more CGVs were used during the Russo-Japanese War in the far east. They don.t seem to have seen action during the Great War as there are no photographs of them during the hostilities.

The car was built on a touring-car chassis and was fully armored; the revolving turret had one Hotchkiss machine gun protected by a U-shaped shield. The design incorporated four steel panels which slid up to cover the windows and a hinged panel at the front which could be fully raised. The engine developed all of 35 hp. The low-slung radiator at the front was a feature of CGV automobiles which was retained in the armored version. A single gas headlight was mounted on the radiator and another spotlight was mounted inside the body. Two steel channels carried over the rear wheels were for use in crossing ditches.

The French JMGT kit includes resin and vacuformed parts. With no documentation and minimal instructions, the kit is a difficult one to build and major modifications were made to the kit parts. The body and hood were altered to the correct shape and proportions for the Russian version. This removed all surface detail and the body was almost totally reskinned with sheet styrene and all of the detailing was redone, including over 800 assorted PE nuts, bolts, and rivets. The front fenders and ditch channels are the kit vacuform pieces with all new supports and braces. The spare tire was modified from the kit part and covered with paper to simulate the cloth wrapping. These two photos show the model with most of these modifications made.

Wooden spokes from the spares box were added to the front wheels, and the wheels turned slightly to the left. Everything on the underside was scratchbuilt as the kit had nothing between the frame rails. I admit to getting a little carried away here, as most of this is now visible only to 1/35 scale mice and worms.
The model was painted with Testor.s Model Master enamels and weathered with washes, drybrushing, and powders of various sorts. It is permanently mounted on a piece of resin brickwork. The figure of the Russian officer is for a sense of scale; it was modified from a resin Polish soldier and it is a complete coincidence that it ended up looking like Czar Nicholas.

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