Saturday, 5 October 2013
WW1 French Schneider CA1 Char d' Assaut Part 1
The French Army introduced the Schneider in 1917 in order to to try and break the stalemate of trench warfare. The design was not overly succesful, being basically an armoured box with limited main armament traverse. Early marks were also susceptible to catching fire and were known by their crews as "mobile coffins".
As with the Renault FTs, the running gear was constructed first. 13 tanks were to be made with a 14th to be made into a Gun Tractor. The front idler wheels were cut from aluminium tube and fitted with spokes and the rear drivers were made the in the same manner as described in previous posts. Running wheels were cut from slices of knitting needle. Again, simple jigs were made up to keep everything uniform.
Running gear sponsons completed. They are attached to the lower hulls by means of extended axles which slot into holes in the side of the hulls.
The lower hulls were made next. Fairly straight forward, 40 thou styrene sheet the main component. The angled bow plates did prove a little tricky but a card template made the job a lot easier.
The upper hulls were then started, being constructed from 30 thou with 20 thou overlays for the panels. The upper hull was designed to mate closely with the lower hull and bows.
As the main armament only had a traverse of some 13 degrees, I made the gun fixed. However I wanted the Hotchkiss Machine Guns to traverse, so the following method was used. Wooden beads of the correct diameter formed the Ball Turrets. The hole through the middle of the bead was used for MG attachment. To allow the Ball Turrets to swivel, I heat formed cups and made "plungers" to hold them against the exterior of the hull. The picture explains a lot better than I can.
In Part 2 I will complete the build description and illustrate the method of painting.