Jump to content
Model Cars Magazine Forum

Heller 1928 Citroen Bordens Panel Van Build

Recommended Posts


I don't believe I've posted anything about this build on this forum. I know I did on the Spotlight board. As I'm into light commercial, I really like this old Citroen line of trucks offered by Heller. There are several in the series. There is a Citroen Normandee woody pickup (the other kit I won that week) as well as a Waterman (French fountain pen company) van and a hotel shuttle bus. I did manage to find a bunch of research photos on the Internet, including a few varieties of the bus. I didn't find any of a real Bordens van.

I used to see them cheap at shows and managed to collect them all, but that dried up years ago. When I see them going cheap on eBay, I'll bid but usually lose. Imagine my surprise when I won two for around $20 each in the same week. I did want to have one for parts for when I build the others, as well as wanting a set of those wheels and tires for another build. The above Bordens truck was the first to come in the mail, and since it got a USPS hole in the box (yea, straight through one of those tough Priority Mail boxes too), I decided to just build it.


These trucks don't have a ton of parts but are nicely detailed. They have a very vague construction, and there are a lot of tiny fragile parts. Think about the assembly of early Revell kits. Heller also has the chassis building up inside the finished fender unit, instead of separate, which was a challenge. See above photo. I know how to build that better the next time. Also they expect you to build up the body from separate panels once they are finished and painted. Not easy at all. I'm struggling with this step right now.


Another idea that looks good in theory but doesn't work in real life. These parts are held together by a flexible but very thin bit of plastic. Even while attacking the large ejector pins on the inside of these panels, they will split apart. I wound up gluing them together, using a bit of metal rod on the matching seam on the inside.


Like I said above, there were a ton of photos of vehicles on the Internet. These are like the Model T of French cars and seem to be widely popular. The same vehicles were light commercial trucks and both open and closed sedans. I did notice that there is an open touring car as part of the Heller series. Guess I'll be needing to get that one!

This engine shot is worth a thousand words. There are a few differences between this and the engine supplied in the kit. The kit engine has the top hose closer to the front of the engine, and the kit engine only has two blades on the fan. I never saw that before. I used it since it's cool.

The next post will be my actual build to date. Hope you enjoyed the background on the kit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The box art is nice but varies from the kit a bit. While the body had straight edges near the door opening, the box art showed a rolled edge. I decided, in the absence of 1:1 photos, that the rolled edge looked better, so I added it to my body with Evergreen.


The little four banger built up reasonably well and is nicely detailed. It didn't have a distributor or coil so I added them. I made the distributor from Evergreen tube. The coil was from my '50 Ford pickup parts box. The real engine used red wire, so did I. I will tone it down with Dullcote. There wasn't room to fit in the tube they ran around the exhaust manifold in, so I didn't do it. Maybe I'll fit in some aluminum foil or something later on.


Here's the chassis up on wheels, with the floor plan attached. Although the rear area will be limited in view, since the rear doors don't open, I still did the full wood graining of the floor. I just like doing it! The kit instructions wanted it painted wood brown, the only reference I had.


I finished the body panels and added the decals. I was worried they'd just dissolve in the water, but they were quite easy to work with. The match between the front of the body and the cowl is poor and didn't come out well for me. The kit instructions said to paint the inside of the body panels flat black, but to highlight the wood structure. I thought that would be too dark to see inside (especially since you will only see in there from the drivers area), so I did my panels the same color as the exterior and I did paint the wood structure.

I am trying to get the body assembled right now and it's a tedious process. I will be needing to touch up some paint as I already have some glue marks. I may finish that up today just to get it over with since I'm dreading it. I wasn't looking for a show vehicle anyway, I just wanted a nice shelf piece to sit next to my Danbury Divco Bordens truck. I also wanted to see how the kit went together and looked finished.


and here's what my bench looks like right now. Three (count 'em!) vehicles nearly off the bench at the same time. Actually, my Dodge van camper is about at the same point. I've never done this before! LOL

And for those into trivia and details, the surface they are sitting on is the pink board that I've built models on since my kitchen table days. I would use it to protect the table, then each evening I'd put it with my work on it, up on top of the refrigerator to keep the kids safe. It went with me to the model room where my bench is a hollow core door wrapped in brown paper. I've used it on top of the bench to protect it since I cut into it and drill holes in it all the time. On top of that is a rather thick piece of glass, which is the lens from a Xerox machine. I got that from my father's hoard.

So that's my Citroen to date. I am at the point of final assembly, and am breaking glue joints and little parts. And as I am fixing one thing, I seem to break another. You know how it goes. But when I get frustrated I walk away, so I should go back upstairs while I'm feeling good about it! I should be posting more soon!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

awsome , i have been scouting the net in holland for a kit like this , there are other versions as well , to bad they are really expensive over here (more then what i want to pay)

awsome base kit for a custom rod / unique build

but also cool stock , nice work already :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...