Builds French Char B1 Matchbox 1/76 scale model kit

the Matchbox Char B1, with it's main armament cased in the hull with a smaller antI tank gun mounted in a fully rotating Turret, 1940 Battle for France era.
matchbox box art.jpg

the kit has been lounging around my stash for many years, and I have already made up the tiny Renault 17, lost somewhere in my house move in 2017. So the B1 remains unbuilt and still on the sprues, ready and waiting to be made.
painting inst pt two.jpg

The Matchbox 1/76 range of Tanks and military vehicles came with a diorama base included in their kits, a great innovation of the time.
base of diaorama.jpg

the diorama in this double kit is quite well done, and I'm going to paint it up and use it here, replacing the missing Ft17 with some horses, towing a gun or a wagon or whatever I can find in the stash, Horses played a massive role in WW2.
instructions for buildings.jpg

the kit has already been painted in red primer paint, so it's ready for assembly
building wall.jpg

the kit includes four Frenchmen, luckily, I doubt I have any others in the stash.
two french soldiers.jpg
 
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the Matchbox Char B1, with it's main armament cased in the hull with a smaller anto tank gun mounted in a fully rotating Turret, 1940 Battle for France era.
View attachment 564580
the kit has been lounging around my stash for many years, and I have already made up the tiny Renault 17, lost somewhere in my house move in 2017. So the B1 remains unbuilt and still on the sprues, ready and waiting to be made.
View attachment 564584
The Matchbox 1/76 range of Tanks and military vehicles came with a diorama base included in their kits, a great innovation of the time.
View attachment 564585
the diorama in this double kit is quite well done, and I'm going to paint it up and use it here, replacing the missing Ft17 with some horses, towing a gun or a wagon or whatever I can find in the stash, Horses played a massive role in WW2.
View attachment 564586
the kit has already been painted in red primer paint, so it's ready for assembly
View attachment 564588
the kit includes four Frenchmen, luckily, I doubt I have any others in the stash.
View attachment 564589
Hated the Matchbox multi colour plastic and gouged panel lines. I still have the Renault although it needs a repair on one track.
 
well it is 1/76 scale, so I'm not expecting too much after my 1/35th scale Grant build.

First assembly of the lower hull plates.
hull construction b.jpg

hull construction a.jpg

fit of parts is good, I don't remember Matchbox kits throwing up any assembly problems.
hull construction c.jpg
 
the track joins are leaps ahead of the Airtfix tracks of the same scale, a proper interlocking join.

turret joined to the hull roof, assembly is very straight forward with no hitches.
upper hull and turret.jpg
 
hull sealed up
upper hull and turret fitted.jpg

the armour around the hull main armament is a L shaped piece that was tricky to seat properly, firm pressure saw it pop into place, and it's a good fit.
hull fittings such as this massive over scale antenna base, look at the size of the thing, well over size, especially the lack of radios in French tanks in 1940 was a great weakness of the French Tank arm, I'm going to replace this and not fit the antenna.
ant base.jpg
 
with the hull exterior components fitted, like the grab handles and pioneer tools, the B1 is assembled and is ready for a paint scheme.
char b1 built rear upper.jpg

char b1 built rear.jpg

char b1 built.jpg

char b1 built upper.jpg
 
hull sealed up
View attachment 564702
the armour around the hull main armament is a L shaped piece that was tricky to seat properly, firm pressure saw it pop into place, and it's a good fit.
hull fittings such as this massive over scale antenna base, look at the size of the thing, well over size, especially the lack of radios in French tanks in 1940 was a great weakness of the French Tank arm, I'm going to replace this and not fit the antenna.
View attachment 564703

The char B1 bis were fitted with 1 ER 53 radio as standard. Coy Cdrs tanks also had an ER 55 radio set.

The antenna base was indeed massive.

b1-adroit.jpg
B1+-+R.jpg
 
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the Matchbox Char B1, with it's main armament cased in the hull with a smaller anto tank gun mounted in a fully rotating Turret, 1940 Battle for France era.
View attachment 564580
the kit has been lounging around my stash for many years, and I have already made up the tiny Renault 17, lost somewhere in my house move in 2017. So the B1 remains unbuilt and still on the sprues, ready and waiting to be made.
View attachment 564584
The Matchbox 1/76 range of Tanks and military vehicles came with a diorama base included in their kits, a great innovation of the time.
View attachment 564585
the diorama in this double kit is quite well done, and I'm going to paint it up and use it here, replacing the missing Ft17 with some horses, towing a gun or a wagon or whatever I can find in the stash, Horses played a massive role in WW2.
View attachment 564586
the kit has already been painted in red primer paint, so it's ready for assembly
View attachment 564588
the kit includes four Frenchmen, luckily, I doubt I have any others in the stash.
View attachment 564589

This was a lovely little kit - I remember making it many, many years ago...

In fact, I think they were the last 1/72 model tanks that I ever made, I think they both got left behind in the IJLB model club....
 
The char B1 bis were fitted with 1 ER 53 radio as standard. Coy Cdrs tanks also had an ER 55 radio set.

The antenna base was indeed massive.

View attachment 564710View attachment 564711
great reference photo there, thanks, look at those chains hanging off the tail end, I've cut the antenna base in half and it still seems massive, but more like the one's in these pictures. The antenna itself is like something from Gulliver's travels.
photo showing antenna b.jpg

photo showing antenna.jpg
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
great reference photo there, thanks, look at those chains hanging off the tail end, I've cut the antenna base in half and it still seems massive, but more like the one's in these pictures. The antenna itself is like something from Gulliver's travels.
View attachment 564713
View attachment 564714

That's because it was a flag pole.

Can you guess what colour flag?
 
That's because it was a flag pole.

Can you guess what colour flag?
I'm reading Max Hastings "all Hell let loose" elements of the French Army fought harder once the BEF left, but by then the die was cast. Some evacuated Frenchmen insisted on being repatriated, right into a German prison camp.
 
This was a lovely little kit - I remember making it many, many years ago...

In fact, I think they were the last 1/72 model tanks that I ever made, I think they both got left behind in the IJLB model club....
Yes! did the very same, except mine was left behind at Norton Manor Camp Taunton model club, mine was my second Tamiya Chieftain. Still, the Juniors coming up behind in the next intake probably finished it. So it went to a good cause.
 
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