Friday 1 May 2020

Citroen Traction Avant

One of the most iconic cars ever produced has arrived at Nystrup. The Citroen Traction Avant. To be true there has always been a Traction Avant at Nystrup. Two actually. They were 1:35 scale models, one a Tamiya TA with gas generator, the other an older resin kit from DES-kits built around 2008. Both models were pre-war BL-11 cars.

When I decided to change scale, it was clear from the beginning, that I had to have a Traction Avant on the 16 mm scale version of Nystrup Gravel. Now it has arrived in the form of a 1:18 Maisto model of a TA 15-Six from 1952.
The overall impression looks very much like the real Traction Avant. The car received progressively more chrome as the years went by. A lot of chrome is present on my 1952 model.
The first Traction Avants left the assembly line prematurely in 1934 with the design not yet quite finished resulting in a lot of mechanical troubles. Citroen was declared bankrupt and was taken over by tire producing Michelin, the problems with the Traction Avant solved and the car became a design icon, a well selling car and continued in production until 1957.
An illustrative overview of models and production numbers. 

The Traction Avant is famous for being designed with a hydraulic brakes, unibody construction and traction through the front wheels and a strikingly aerodynamic body. In Denmark the Traction Avant was popular and used by many different users, from directors as an imposing company car, the national police to car owners with a desire for a comfortable car. For small business owners it was even available as a small van.
In post-war Denmark the TA was available as a van. With high taxes and import restrictions on cars, the vans were produced the avoid government restrictions. After service as a van for a required number of years, the concept was to rebuild the van into a family car again. 
My Maisto model came from ebay and is another boxless model available rather cheaply. As a practical modeller I'm amazed that it isn't the quality of model itself that constitutes its value, and that without a box the same model can be had for sometimes a quarter of the price compared to a model with a box.

With a second hand model you usually have to accept a few scratches and a missing part or two. I have found three small scratches on my TA and no missing parts. The wind shield is a bit dusty, but that and the scratches will be taken care of.
The TA is a long vehicle. The 1:18 model is 26 cm long from bumper to bumper.

All doors open on the Maisto model. The interior seems a bit too light in comparison with most original photos of TA interiors. I will check if I need to change colours on floor and seats.

For a large scale model the wind screen wipers are not particularly well detailed. Another area where I will have to do some research. A small damage in the paint above the wind screen will have to be repaired as well.

Both sides of the bonnet opens to reveal the six cylinder engine. It's not as detailed as e.g. an engine in a Norev-produced car. A repaint of the engine will help a long way, but I will probably replace and add detail as well.

The spare wheel on the TA 1952 model moved to an inside mounting in front of the boot. It must have been quite unpractical having to remove the spare wheel to place a suitcase in the boot? The image also shows a mould seam on the petrol filler lid that have to be removed and a very rudimentary rear light that may have to detailed a bit.
The Citroen is now going on a shelf to wait for its number to be drawn for repair, detailing and outfitting like a Danish car. I will enjoy its sleek lines from my favourite reading corner in the study. From afar I can't see the model's small faults.


  1. Tillykke med dit nye køretøj!

  2. A real classic. Very interesting advertisement for the special Danish van-version. If I understand it correctly there are (almost) none of the van-versions left as they were all re-rebuilt back into sedans confirming that tax issues and import restrictions were the main reasons for people buying the vans in the first place. Looking forward to you super detailing the model!