Renault FT-17 Tank
Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:57 PM
This kit is from RPM, a small Polish company (the tank was used by Polish forces), and is injection moulded, although exhibiting some short-run characteristics such as flash and short shot components - thankfully confined to a number of c-shaped links, which I'll hopefully be able to replicate with shaped brass rod. I bought the kit direct from Poland some while ago, as it was still much cheaper than getting it from the UK, even with shipping.
Seeing as it's a bit out of the ordinary, I'll bore you with a box shot or two
The tracks are made of a very flexible grey sparkly material, and word has it that they don't like to be stuck together. That info, coupled with the quite prominent sink marks in the flat track pads, and the fact that the individual track links are prominent around the drive sprocket (not bendy like the rubber ones) led me to speak to Lou Stener, who has a bit of a sale on at the moment too. He'd got some of the Fruil tracks at a more paletable price, so I took the plunge and am now just waiting for them to be delivered or lost by Royal Mail
I'm going to have a peruse of the instructions for a wee while and then start the build. Wish me luck!
Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:26 PM
Mine arrived this morning and I've been itching to have a go with them but I've been out all day. I snatched an hour or so this evening and got them out of the box for a play.
You get 3 bags in the small box. Two bags of white metal track links, and 1 bag of tiny rollers - again in white metal, and comprising short hollow cylinders. The final part of the kit is a short roll of flexible wire.
If you've not seen or used Fruil tracks before, you usually need to open up some of the holes in the links, so I set about 1 side with a 0.5mm drill chucked into my pin vice. Then I cleaned up all the mould seams round the edges with a medium sanding sponge, and got on with the build up. You hook up the links, squeeze a roller in between them and thread the wire through - it sometimes takes some waggling before it lines up and goes all the way through, but once it's there, chop the wire close to the end of the track and secure both ends with CA. Rinse and repeat!
I built up one track run just to demonstrate the difference between kit and aftermarket tracks.... your mileage may vary, but I'm convinced they'll be a massive upgrade to the look of the machine when I'm done
Posted 07 February 2010 - 02:22 PM
You might notice that one sponson has a white tip. That's where there was a bit missing on the sprue. Not a short shot, but a fracture - a lot of parts seem to have built-in break points where the two fronts of styrene have come together, presumably starting to set as they butt up, so not mixing and leaving a weak point. So far I've had to repair 3 or 4 of these breaks, and of course replace the missing nose of the sponson with styrene sheet.
Posted 08 February 2010 - 11:48 AM
Den - don't get disheartened with individual track links. They're not ALL bad
Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:03 PM
I got the 2nd sponson finished off, and started working on the hull. There's a bit of detail in the driver's compartment, but it's a bit soft & inaccurate, so I've replaced some of it. The semi-bulkhead behind the driver has a strap across it that acts as a backrest, so I built that out of styrene and tin sheet, the bulkheads of styrene sheet with Archer rivets for detail. There were some sink marks in the driver's compartment, so I filled those with CA, sanded them back, then reinstated the casting texture with a brush coat of Mr Surfacer that was then stippled with a soft brush. It matches the rest pretty well, and you'd never know there was a sink mark there
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