French FT-17 Light Tank in 1/35...
...building the Meng kit of the Rivetted Turret version
Another kit I have started building is this Rivetted Turret version of the French FT-17 from Meng. One of the elements to strike me in this one is an unusual feature in 1/35 scale kits, and that is the inclusion of a diorama base. It rather brought back memories of the old small scale range of Matchbox kits which always included some form of diorama base, a series which is still available thanks to now being part of the Revell stable.
I'll start by mentioning the diorama base as this fits together very well, and requiring little or no filler, and it includes a cross brase underneath which adds strength to it. With the sides, plinth parts, top and bracing, there are also separate parts for some sandbags and some broken wooden trench boards. This is a really good idea, and quite practical with the FT-17 as it is a small tank in 1/35.
There is some interior detail to this one in the front for the driver's compartment, and with the breech, in the turret as well. This is useful if you want to add a couple of crew figures and open the access hatches. The engine hatches are also separate, but no engine detail in this one. There are a couple of metal parts for the suspension on the running gear, plus four metal springs so it can work. The two smaller ones I found fiddly to fit in the way you trap them between the upper and lower elements of the running gear. The wheels are all moulded in their pairs, so all can rotate quite happily once assembled. Individual link tracks, with the links simply clicking together. A few etch detailing parts, my favourite of which is the 'leather strap' which is all there is by way of a seat for the vehicles commanders. External detail is very nicely done. The instructions tell you how many links to fit in each track, but I found these were too tight a fit and kept popping apart so used an extra link in each side. It makes them a touch slack but when sitting on the level surface it is hard to notice and much better than ill-fitting links that split apart too easily. You have a choice of machine gun or 75mm gun for the turret. By choosing the 75mm, it leaves the MG to be mounted on a tripod that is also included in the kit, along with a strip of ammo and x6 ammunition boxes.
I painted the interior before the top plates went on the hull. Just the base and the exterior to do now. I'll add an update as these get done...
I bought mine through Tiger Hobbies UK.