Texts, model and photos by Didier Lecru
The Citroën 2CV with a 20mm cannon during the Algeria war.
While I was browsing the web for
pictures of vehicles used during the War in Algeria, I found 3 pictures showing
a 2CV modified to mount a recoilless rifle or a MG. All the hints lead to
suppose this latter was a MG151 already in use in the naval helicopters. Stunned
by this kind of vehicle, I questioned the archives department in Chatellerault
(procurement agency) and in Vincennes (department of Defense). I was answered
this vehicle really existed but with no more details to add.
I think it is a prototype used by the GHAN that is Groupe d’Hélicoptères de l’Aéronavale (Navy Helicopter Group) n°1 based in Algeria. Having only the 3 pictures abovementioned, and to build this model, I bought the 1/43 scale Solido Die-Cast model representing a fire-fighter van model 1951 and the Heller kit "2CV berline" in the same scale.
I first dismantled the Solido
kit before removing the red paint. Then I removed the roof as well as the
windscreen and the 2 doors. This was not an easy part and even hazardous.
The rear part has been fully redone. The front compartment got the same treatment. I only saved a seat from Solido and the wheel. To tell the truth, I should have made a new one. The “static” doors are redone.
In the middle of the hull, a pivot coming from various the spare parts box is set in place. 2 bars are fixed, the rear one getting a saddle shaped seat.
It is the Heller chassis which fits pretty well after some modifications. I had to redo the rear axle to look more realistic. On the contrary, I used the Solido wheels which tires have a nice tread pattern. The floor has been made from aluminum foil coming for some food box.
It has been made from stretched sprue in accordance with the pictures. The glass is a piece of clear plastic sheet.
The machine gun
According to the pictures, this part is made from scratch with various bits of plastic. The scale looks to be respected.
The headlights are redone from
the Heller parts.
A handle is glued in front of the hood.
Some hooks are glued in the center of the wheels as well as on the hull sides and on the windscreen frame.
The dashboard is redone as well as the pedals.
The Solido seat is improved.
An radio antenna base is fitted to the right side.
The rear lights are made from clear plastic and painted with clear red paint.
A mirror is fitted to the left front wing.
Having no official references, I decided to use the Humbrol #104 Oxford Blue. I applied the usual weathering methods.
I only could paint the GHAN 1 marking. I didn’t dare to paint the smaller letters to avoid messing up the whole vehicle.
It was a nice vehicle to do as I
was really motivated. The main difficulties were the 1/43 scale and the metal
cutting. Plastic is softer. It is rather small and quite fragile to handle. The
CA glue was of a great help in this project. Moreover, the lack of documentation
does not help. On the contrary, it can be an advantage as you can use the well
known artistic license!
To tell the truth, I was tempted to build this model with the 1/24 Solido base.
I do hope that this model will raise some old souvenirs and help more pictures popping up.
Do not hesitate, it is worth a try!