ChristopherLeeMiller

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French FT-17

Started: 12/15/2021Updated: 12/25/2021
BrandMeng
Scale1/35
Kit NumberTS-011
Year Released2014
ScalematesLink
CompletedYes
Build Time

Interior

With a basic interior being included in this model, consisting of control yokes, gear selector and the driver's seat and a few gauges the interior is pretty easy to build. The walls get painted a flat white, the floor an olive green, and details in various colors from there. Interior detail comes along very quickly and construction was able to move from there.

Interior ProgressInterior Front ViewTop Plate Installed

External Detailing Pt 1

The instructions now move onto the external surfaces of the tank, areas that will eventually be hidden by the tracks and thus get added now. Small tiny bits of photoetch are added to replicate leather straps to hold down tools. Tow hooks also are added and the first part of the working suspension as well, using a metal rod at that.

Left Side DetailRight Side Detail

Suspension

One of the really cool things about this model is the working suspension as mentioned before. Attached to the body are the mainsprings that allow the entire arm to swing up and down as the tank trundles along. To go with this the tensioning arm is also sprung to provide tension to the tracks while navigating surfaces.

Suspension Arms

Building up each side of the suspension took some time and patience as there are many little parts that go on and at the same time aren't glued to allow everything to operate and roll. The bogies themselves took a lot of effort to get all the parts lined up and glued without gluing the wheels stiff either. The result is pretty cool! At this point, the instructions tell you to attach them to the body of the tank but i decided to wait to do this till the final assembly stage, mostly to aid with painting.

Tracks

The track links were included in a bag in the box, already removed from sprue and they simply click together to form the lengths for each side of the tank, however, a little work was required to clean up ejection points before sending them to the paint booth.

Exterior Details Pt. 2

With the suspension out of the way, the instructions turn back to closing up the tank and turning attention to the turret and the gun as well as the tail for assisting the tank over ditches. The tail was a very fine bit to build, it took some patience to get all the pieces to line up and sit still long enough for the glue to hold, and then adding PE on top of that, the result looks great though, very fine detail!

Tail Section Attached

Turret

The turret of this tank is very simplistic, with the sides added before topping it off and adding a vented dome, or I think its a vent. When building the turret one must choose if they want the cannon or machine gun used, this depends of course on the markings used. I chose the 'A' marking which uses the cannon and the machine gun becomes an accessory, an unintentional detail I didn't realize till after I tossed the machine gun but was able to recover before it went to the trash later!

Paint

With the model more or less completed I was able to start painting the model. I started off by priming the model with Mr. Surfacer 1500 black to give shadows where appropriate when painting the final colors. This is where leaving the track arms off paid off as it made everything going forwards a breeze. I purchased a few Vallejo model air colors to paint this model, a green, brown, and tan color as appropriate. I started by painting the model overall in the tan color and let this dry before going back and doing the green, then the brown with drying time between each. The green turned out to be too light, from the references I've seen it's much darker but I was kinda wanting to just move on from this model and so went with it. My tank is special is all I can say, maybe they got the color wrong from the get-go?

PrimerTri-Color Camo

Final Assembly

To get this model to the final stretches some paint was in order. Detail painting of various parts on the tank already and adding various tools and other little bits as well. The trio of tools received wood brown handles and a gunmetal tool head before attaching to them their correct spots on the side of the tank. After placing the sledgehammer I was finally able to attach the intake port for the engine, although the shade of color was way off, oo clean so I had to add a bit of wash to it to bring the tone more in line. The internals of the main gun also received a gunmetal color contrary to the instructions flat black, before attaching it and the scope inside the turret.

With that done it was time to attach the various doors and call this one done.

Assembly Mostly Complete

Diorama Base

One of the last parts of the build is building up the diorama base that's included in the box, a very nice touch if I say so myself even if I have no experience building dioramas. Assembly was very straightforward, basically forming a box, with a lid, and then building up the base and attaching it. The details such as wood planking and sandbags are attached afterward.

Some putty was required to get a seamless look to the entire base though beforehand and with that done I was able to paint the base flat black.

The next step was to give the area where the tank sits was then given Tamiya flat earth.

Diorama BaseBase Color

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