Saturday, 31 August 2013

WW1 French Renault FT Chars

The French introduced the Renault FT in 1917.   It was the first tank to use a  fully rotating turret and became the standard from which future tank designs were based on.
The Renault FT was used in considerable numbers by both the French and US Armies in WW1 and continued in use all over the world up to the commencement of WW2.

Drive sprockets and the big front idler wheels were constructed first.   As I was making 14 tanks in all, I wanted to get these out of the way!   The drive sprockets were constructed by the method described in the post "Making Drive Sprockets"and the idlers were made using plastic conduit and styrene disc infills, suitably detailed.
The side bars were then cut out and assembled.   They were detailed with rivets and overlays.   The drivers and idlers were then attached to the side bars.

The return rollers and road wheels were then constructed using slices of knitting needle.   Simple jigs were  made up to aid assembly and to keep the spacing uniform.

The running gear sponsons were then detailed with suspension units and springs.   Provision was made to attach the sponsons to the bodies by four Delrin 8BA screws.   This made final painting a lot easier.

The tracks were made up individually from 30 and 40 thou sheet with a piece of half round strip at the trailing edge of each link.   These were then attached to the sponsons.

The bodies were then constructed from 20, 30 and 40 thou styrene sheet.   The panels, hatches, etc. were done by overlaying the 20 thou over the 40 thou.   I ended up making four variants of the Renault FT, the Char Mitrailleur (Machine Gun Tank), Char Canon (37mm Cannon Tank) and the Char TSF (Wireless Command Tank)   The two gun tanks were made with either a Berliet Turret (Plate) or Girod Turret (Cast).  

The Girod Turrets were turned up from suitably sized pine dowel and then detailed with hatches, rivets and armament.   The Berliet Turrets were made up from 30 thou plastic sheet.   The domed hatch covers were made by the heat forming process.   Rivets and final detailing were then applied.

Paints used were Vallejo Tan Yellow with a little Sun Yellow, Humbrol M70 and M102 and the outlining was done with Vallejo Black slightly thinned.   Playing Card decals are from ScaleLink.

The first two FTs awaiting being dispatched to the Front, pictured outside the gates of the Renault Factory.


  1. Stunning! You have made a whole battalion for Command Decision :) What rules do you use for your games Col?

    1. Thanks Al. I am more of a collector and builder rather than a wargamer. I did wargame many years ago with my son on the Games Room floor but have not had the opportunity in recent years. One day!

  2. and collect we do, storage can be a bit problematic sometimes in 20mm, I guess your scale even more so

  3. Col.,All these postings here are 5 years past.Are you still around? Could you sell 1 54mm FT-17 tank ?
    Take care......Randy D.

    1. G'day Randy. Yes I'm still around but I'm sorry, I do not make AFVs for sale any more. The cost of postage coupled with what I was getting in return for the vehicles made it prohibitive. Sorry about that.