Tamiya R35 First Look
Designed from 1933 onwards and produced from 1936 by Renault to replace the aging FT tank, the R35 was intended as an infantry support light tank, equipping autonomous tank battalions, that would be allocated to individual infantry divisions to assist them in executing offensive operations. To this end it was relatively well-armoured but slow and lacking a good antitank-capacity, fitted with a short 37 mm gun. This SA18 37mm gun was the same gun that the FT had. In fact, as FTs were retired, their guns were pulled and fitted to the R35. The turret was the standard 1 man APX turret, with poor vision and entry through a hatch on the back of the turret. The commander, alone in the turret had to direct the driver, load, aim, and fire the gun, and try and stay in touch with the other vehicles in his group and the tactical situation. He had to communicate with the driver, his only other crewmate, by yelling and touch. After the fall of France many were captured by the German army. These were primarily used in security functions and training behind the line, although many were converted to 47mm panzerjagers anti tank.
What's in the Box
This is a very small box for a 1:35th scale tank. 11 by 7 1/2 by 2 about the size of Tamiya's jeep. The box is the expected Tamiya packaging, with profiles on the long sides and Japanese text that I assume offers a bit of history and kit features.
Inside you get the typical Tamiya instructions, laid out in a multi-fold sheet. Steps look to be clear and easy to follow
You also get a nice separate write up of the history of the vehicle in Japanese, English, German and French, a color shot of a museum example and full color profile sheets of the two marking options provided in this kit, detailing the complicated French camo schemes that were applied to these vehicles
On to the plastic!
There are 4.5 sprues
You have 2 A sprues This is the running gear sprue. The model has link and length tracks, with the upper run molded with the necessary sag. The track links are small, but it doesn't look like cleanup will be a problem. The flanges and details of the running gear looks to be captured well, with the idler being done in multiple parts to have the fine undercut detail necessary.
On to the half sprue, it's the turret. packaged by itself it's a lovely little piece. The cast pieces in the kit seem to have very nice casting texture, some might wish to enhance it with your favorite technique and it might take some research to determine if any casting marks are necessary, but for a basic out of the box review the kit texture should suffice.
Next out of the box is the sprue with the hull and upper body. The hull is a flat-pack style hull, rather than a bathtub, but there are locating tabs everywhere and a bulkhead that should make it easy to get a square and solid base.
The top of the hull, again with a nice cast texture, is so small it looks like a 1:72 vehicle
The last sprue has the balance of the details, tools: front hull, some additional running gear parts, gun and details, and exhaust parts. It also includes and overworked but determined looking commander figure to place in the open hatch on the turret. This looks to be up to Tamiya's improving recent standards for figure detail.
Finishing things off we have a nice little decal sheet for the two marking options. The decals look to be printed in good register on typical Tamiya stock. There are also a couple tiny sprues of polycaps
This looks like another excellent entry to the Tamiya catalog. It's an uncommon but important subject and the initial impression is assembly of this kit will be simple and straight forward. The complex camo schemes detailed in the instructions will possibly be a bit challenging but if carried out will make for a tiny but striking addition to the modeller's collection.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Tamiya for this review kit.
Reviewed by Dave Mckenny
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