Legendary Renault FT-17, most influential and revolutionary tank design in history. It’s so tiny by modern standards that 1/35 model feels like 1/48. That’s why it’s even more interesting and challenging to build it with full interior.
It’s just perfect, even compared to modern Airfix kits. No flash, very dense and hard plastic allowing amazing level of details, and very detailed build manual. It’s the best plastic kit I’ve ever built. Also it’s worth mentioning that kit provides workable tracks and suspension (even with tiny metal spring for amortization).
Completed assembly for engine and transmission. Looks very cool, and really fun to build. Even though most of it will be hidden in full model, it’s still worth building just to understand the engineering solutions used in this influential tank.
Assembled workable suspension, absolutely awesome experience. I’ve read on the internet that lots of people had problems with it, or found it over-engineered, but for me it was a very fun and relatively easy build.
Painted interior walls with Cremmeweisse, painted chips with sponge, weathered with AK Interactive washes. Engine is not yet weathered on the picture, but I’m not going to spend much time on it as it will be barely visible on a finished model.
Next I started to actually assemble the tank, along with suspension. And suspension in this model turned out to be very fiddly to install, despite being fun to assemble. First I managed to partially attach suspension in a way that allows painting, and painted the body in tri-colour camouflage. When fixing the suspension in it’s proper position I ended up using CA glue just to make it all hold together.
Afterward I started painting the black lines separating all the colours, but at this point I was quite tired with the model, and simply put everything in a candy box and on the shelve.
Fast forward to 2021, I discovered the stashed unfinished model, and continued to work on it. Few days of work, few re-painted parts, and the tank is fully assembled, painted and ready for weathering!
But that was about all I could do in 2021, thanks to work and me dreading the weathering step, so the model went back to the box.
Finally, in 2022, after moving houses I discovered the FT-17 box once again, and this time I was determined to reduce the stash of boxes by at least this one.
I gathered my will and set for the most dreaded step of all - weathering. After watching a bunch of Uncle Night Shift videos, followed by a healthy dose of Rick Lawler, I was (at least mentally) ready.
Luckily I had all the necessary products to do the job, so no excuses to postpone it once again.
Most importantly, I had some sort of a grey powder from AK Interactive to thicken the paint to make mud. It was rather fun making the ‘mud’ and applying it to the tank, but I can’t say that I enjoyed it.
Weathering requires lots of creativity and artistic powers, which I simply don’t possess. Still, I persevered and had some fun, and the whole weathering only took few evenings.
I used oils for filters weathering and rust streaks, acrylic paint with thickener for mud, and same acrylic paint for splashes. I think I overdid the mud, but still I’m rather pleased with the result.
Fantastic model overall, and I’m very happy to finally finish it. Yes, it took me at least 3 attempts to it, and yes, I dreaded both painting and weathering.
But it was the first model with interior that I’ve built, first tank model in close to 20 years, and first time I did anything resembling heavy weathering with mud. All of this makes me rather proud with the end result.
And most importantly, even after all the setbacks, year-long pauses and fear of screwing it up - I finished it.