EBR FL11/75 mod51
Ref : Hobby Boss #82490 French EBR-11 Wheeled Reconnaissance Vehicle
Azimut #10038 EBR FL11/75 mod51
DEF Model DW35065 French Panhard EBR

The EBR (engin blindé de reconnaissance - reconnaissance armored car) is rooted in the Panhard AM201 armored car which was adopted in May 1940 but never produced because of the invasion of France by Germany.
At the end of the war, France decided to get a fast reconnaissance vehicle with a more powerful gun than the 37 mm one of the US M8. The EBR project featured the main characteristics of the AM 201 : 8 wheels with 4 raising ones and the overall design of the hull. The engineers added a hydraulic suspension, a rear driver station and a flat 12-cylinder 200 HP engine. The original Hotchkiss turret was soon replaced by the Five Lille FL 11 one.
The first prototype was built in 1948 and the first vehicles were tested in unit in 1949. The EBR was officially adopted in December 1949. In between the hydraulic suspension for the wheels with tires was abandoned and replaced by a more classical spring suspension.

The EBR FL11/75 mounted a 75 mm SA 49 gun. Its secondary armament comprised one 7.5 mm MAC 31 Reibel coaxial MG and two MAC 31 in the hull located in front of the drivers. Some vehicles were equipped with a close defense ring mount armed with another MAC 31 and mounted to the vehicle commander station. Its crew consisted in a commander, a gunner and a main driver at the front and a secondary driver at the rear.

The EBR saw action during the war in Algeria and performed well during the missions. Its main flaws were its noisy engine and the heavy maintenance it required because of its complex design. But the EBR was very resistant against mines.

To face the Warsaw Pact vehicles, the SA 49 gun was assessed too weak, thus a version fitted with the AMX 13 FL 10 turret and the SA 50 gun was adopted under the denomination EBR FL10 mod 55. To fit the turret the hull was slightly modified.

From 1964, the EBR FL11 were upgraded with the replacement of the SA 49 gun by the 90 mm model F1 gun. The EBR FL 10 were phased out and a small number were transformed into command vehicles. The rotary loaders were removed to install radio sets and the gun was replaced with a wooden dummy one.

In total, 836 EBR FL 11 and 279 EBR FL 10 were built for the French army. The EBR was phased out in 1984.


The kit

Under the denomination EBR-11, Hobby Boss has released the EBR 90 F1 fitted with the 90 mm gun. The box includes 10 sand plastic sprues, two hull halves, eight vinyl wheels, a sheet of photoetched parts (PE), a sheet of decals, an instructions booklet and a color page for the decoration. The sprues come in sealed bags and the turret stowage basket is protected by some foam.

The molding quality is very good with few visible ejection pin marks and very thin molding lines. The level of detail is satisfactory but Hobby Boss made a number of mistakes which will be mentioned later on. The overall dimensions are good. The vinyl tires are quite good but the molding line on the tread is hard to remove. The metal wheels also come with vinyl "tread" which fineness is not on par with the rest of the kit. The wheels will be replaced by the DEF Model resin reference.
The beautiful one piece gun must be noticed.

As I intended to depict a vehicle during the war in Algeria, I purchased the Azimut conversion (see the review here). It provides the 75 mm gun and the ring mount and other details. Unfortunately this conversion is little useful with the exception of the aforementioned parts.

The assembly

In a classical way it begins with the hull and the suspension. At step 1, one can add 4 bolt heads on the flat parts on top of the parts C11 and C12. At step 3, you have to glue the footsteps PE-7. They are very fragile and can be glued at the last moment. The "Panhard" and "54" markings are sanded away and replaced by the Azimut PE parts. However the PE number "54" looks a bit oversized.
A step 4, the PE parts PE-12 are too long and the instructions are not clear how to fix them to the exhaust pipe.
A step 5, we need to fix a mistake by Hobby Boss. Indeed, the light cluster C5 must not be glued to the front right fender but to left rear one. One of the A14 parts must be glued in its place. The positioning holes for the parts C1 and C2 to the right of the driver must be filled. Those parts are not present on the rear vehicle. To glue the PE bolt heads PE-11 and PE-4, I applied some Tamiya liquid cement in multiple layers to soften the plastic. Then I pressed the parts and adjusted their position when needed. Hobby Boss ask you to glue 11 parts PE-4. For real there are 14 of them and the PE sheet has enough parts. The parts PE-1, PE-5 and PE-6 must be slightly shortened. The slots for the parts PE-2 must be lengthened.
A step 6, to depict a model 51 vehicle, you need to fill the positioning holes for the tools on the glacis as they were attached to the rear left fender.
A step 7, I didn't use the rear mirrors. I only used their brackets on the fenders. As mentioned above, the shovel and the pickaxe are not attached to the hull but to the left fender. At the bottom of the pickaxe a stop in plastic card is added.
A step 8, you need to fix another mistake of Hobby Boss. Indeed, parts F9 and F10 are too long. The part close to the driver station must be aligned with the hull roof. You must cut about 2 mm. Then the L shaped rubber gasket is simulated with some tin foil. Consequently parts PE-3 are useless. The crowbar F8 must be replaced by two pieces of gun cleaning rods. They are made of 0.88 mm Evergreen rod. The straps are made of tin foil.
The two hull MAC 31 muzzle are added using bits of Evergreen rod.
The hull assembly is over. The resin wheels will be glued after the hull weathering.

The turret requires more work to depict the early model. The turret issued by Azimut is badly cast and features a large gap between the oscillating part and the pivoting one. The overall dimensions are wrong as well. So it is the Hobby Boss which is modified.
The most difficult is to redo the trunnions of the oscillating part. Hobby Boss designed the turret to be moveable but has totally messed up the position of the pivot axis. This one is not in the center of the turret but at the trunnions which are correctly molded by Hobby Boss. The turret is drilled out at the trunnions and axis made of Evergreen rods are added. To enhance the solidity fo the assembly, the both turret parts are glued together.
The dust cover is not used. So the L shaped rubber gasket must be represented. Some tin strips are used to do so. The positioning holes for the stowage baskets are filled with putty. A tarp is made of tissue soaked with white glue and the straps are made of tin foil.
On the pivoting part, below the gun, a rubber protection is made with a square of plastic card.
On the turret roof, the vision blocks covers are added. As they are empty, a bit of plastic card is added to figure the glass. On the vehicle commander cupola, you need to add the ring mount. It is made of two strips of plastic card which are shaped prior to being glued. The air vent F19 has to be chamfered close to the VC station.
At the front of the turret, the auxiliary sights are removed and replaced by the early model ones. To do them, some thin electric wire is coiled around a bit of piano string.
To conclude, you need to assemble the MG and its bracket and the 75 mm gun. The Azimut conversion gives the main parts which need to be altered because they are not accurate.
The MG mount in my sample had a large air bubble which obliged me to redo the whole upper part on which the MAC 31 MG is fixed. Thanks to documentation provided by the Saumur museum (visible here) I managed to make the system with styrene strips and plastic card bits.
The PE searchlight bracket is too large. The lower part is removed and redone with styrene strip. The back of the light provided by Azimut is flat. The real one is conical. I glued a piece of 1.5 mm thick plastic card and sanded it to get the right shape. The glass of the light is made of clear plastic. The wingnuts are made with very thin plastic rods.
The MAC 31 lacks of fineness. I cut away the flash suppressor and replaced it by a bit of Evergreen rod which I drilled out with a conical drill.
Then you need to modify the gun. Azimut provides a 3 mm diameter aluminum tube and tells you to use 61 mm of it. The given length is maybe good for the muzzle brake provided by Azimut. But this one is too short, indeed Azimut omitted the connection sleeve at the back.
So you need to use 48 mm of aluminum tube and to redo the muzzle brake. To do so, you must cut the rear of the resin part and replace it by a bit of 5 mm long plastic tube. To get the right diameter, the best is to use the 90 mm gun of the Hobby boss kit.

The build is finally complete.

The decoration

The color choice is simple, it is French army green. For this, I chose XF-13 J.A Green.
Concerning the markings, apart the number 13, none of the markings provided by hobby Boss is correct. The registration plates are pure fantasy. The numeral 3 on a white disc is correct for the model depicted by Hobby Boss but not for the version I made. At last, I intended to represent a vehicle during the war in Algerai. I got inspired by the website of the 8th regiment of Hussards veterans which display many period pictures.

I chose a vehicle belonging to the 4th squadron. For the registration plate, I used spare numerals from the Echelon Fine Details sheet dedicated to the Leclerc. The unit markings (R in a square) and the white letter G on a black background have been printed.

For the weathering, I applied to the lower hull and the wheels a mixture of plaster of Paris and pigments. Then several layers of Earth have been sprayed on the bottom of the vehicle and its sides without excess. The pictures of the reference website show vehicles in pretty good condition.


References :

Website of the 8th regiment de Hussards veterans : http://www.amicale-8-hussards.com/album_8.htm
Magazine Model Selection issue n°19 special issue "the EBR"