Saturday, 22 February 2014

Comparison of available Citroen 45 truck kits

I need a lot of trucks for my Rapid Fire Finnish 1944 army, a whole lot! The Finns used a wide variety of commercial and specialised military vehicles and among these were French Citroen 45, 3.5-ton, 4x2, Cargo trucks.

Apparently they inherited these large lorries from the Germans, but these distinctive and powerful vehicles were desperately needed and I wanted to included them in my Finnish army. The main problem is that this truck is a relatively rare subject for Braille Scale kit manufacturers, and none of the mainstream injection moulded companies produce a model of it.

I did manage to track down a couple of examples however, but both have various pros and cons and neither is exactly a convenient a solution. The first is by SHQ and is a 20mm white metal model and the other is a rather gorgeous 1/72 resin kit by Wespe.

Now I've mentioned SHQ models before and I can't say that I am exactly enamoured with this company's products. For a start, they're models are 20mm scale, that's 1/76 and not my target scale of 1/72 - so they are, of course, under-scaled. Additionally, they are made from white metal, and I have come to dislike this media as I prefer a softer material to work with. But - SHQ's Citroen 45 is easy to get hold of, unlike the Wespe C45 I bought next.

Wespe Models is a Romanian company with an enviable reputation for making very high quality scale replicas of historic military vehicles. But, as you might imagine, such premium products come at a premium price!

The SHQ model isn't actually all that cheap at £12 plus postage, but the Wespe model is £17.50 plus shipping. To be honest the additional cost of the Wespe is a very fair representation of the quality gap between the two models, although I think the SHQ is - in my opinion - overpriced for what it is. The Wespe price may make you wince, but you'll have no complaints about the quality of the product - which certainly isn't the case with the SHQ kit.

Now, onto the differences in scale. Naturally SHQ's 1/76 model isn't ideal, but I am willing to accept the slightly underscaled model if it represents a item that isn't available in the larger scale, or is good value for money. But in this case the actual difference in the sizes of the two models is negligible in certain areas.

The differences in the sizes between the two kit's wheels is the most
noticeable indication of the two disparate scales. 
In other areas the differences in sizes between the models are almost
As you can see from the accompanying photos there are some aspects of the SHQ model which seem to be close to the Wespe C45 dimensionally, though there are others - like the wheels - which obviously exemplify the differences between the two scales. In the end, however, overall the two trucks don't look that different...But then we come to the difference in quality.

A lot of my disappointment in the SHQ C45 does come from the material it's made in, I just don't think that white metal is the ideal medium with which to produce a display quality model. It's propensity to distort and it's excess of flash and pitting work against the detail that the manufacturer has puting into the model. For sure, with care, an acceptable model can be produced in white metal - MMS models exemplify the best in this area - but largely it seems to be a cheap material for fast results.

Resin, on the other hand, can produce some very subtle and delicate detail - and Wespe seem to be masters in working with this material as some of the tiny components included in their model are rendered perfectly. But maybe I am prejudiced, but at least with regards to these two models we seem to have a model which typifies the worst aspects of white metal models compared to model which epitomizes the best of resin modelling.

My last word on the differing merits of the two models is to point out the
number of parts in either kit - the SHQ has about a dozen, while the Wespe
model has about 50 parts!
Note: In defence of the SHQ model it is a wargaming quality kit and is meant to be a simplified model, not a display quality model (which the Wespe model very definitely is). However, when one considers the comparative prices, there really isn't enough difference between the two kits to fairly represent the obvious gap in quality between them. I'd say the SHQ kit is worth about £7.

Next: How do the two model compare when cleaned up and constructed?


  1. Thanks for the comparison. I'm not a huge fan of metal either, but the front grille of the SHQ version seems to look better than the Wespe one.

    1. Now it's funny you should say that (thanks for the comment) but despite the SHQ C45's faults the front grille is - arguably - a bit better than the Wespe. It isn't perfectly symmetrical, but there is some interesting detail included that the Wespe - ironically - doesn't have! Be interesting to compare them again when they are painted.