Flyhawk 1/72 Renault FT 75 BS
The Renault FT tank was deployed in 1918 with both machine gun and 37mm cannon armament. It was recognized at the time that a larger gun was needed to attack fortified positions. It was decided that a vehicle should be developed on the chassis of the Renault FT with a 75mm Blockhaus Schneider (BS) gun mounted. The 75mm BS was originally a short-range fortress gun. Although the 75mm BS gun had a short effective range, its small dimensions, light weight and high rates of fire made it attractive as a support gun on FT tanks.
Two different prototypes were built. The first design was rejected but the second prototype was a straightforward conversion of a standard FT tank replacing the turret with a fixed superstructure.
This vehicle was accepted as the Renault FT 75 BS and some 600 were ordered in mid-May 1918. The first production FT 75 BS was completed in late July 1918. However, there were delays in production and only 11 75 BS vehicles were delivered before the Armistice in November 1918 and, as far as is known, none saw action. After the Armistice, the orders were cut back severely and only another 29 were delivered in 1919.
Many of the FT 75 BS were shipped to French units in North Africa and Syria after WW1. A few saw some action in the French colonies in skirmish campaigns against rebellious tribesmen. Two FT 75 BS were found by the Allies in Tunisia in 1942 after Operation Torch, the invasion of Vichy held North Africa.
There has been one resin kit of this version of the FT17 produced by Modell Trans Modellbau in 2014, although they names it the FT-17 BS which doesn’t seem to be right. Other than that resin kit this is the only 1/72 kit of this subject.
The kit comes with a top opening box and it is quite sturdy. The box contains 2 kits and all the sprues are bagged. The small PE fret and decal sheet are attached to a piece of card and in their own bag too. Inside the box we have:
- 1colour instruction sheet.
- 1 small decal sheet
- 52 parts per kit for 108 in total
- 17 PE parts on 1 fret per kit for 34 in total
The level of detail in this kit is up to Flyhawk’s usual exceptional standards. Attachment points are small and ejector pin marks are out of the way. There is lots of fine detail on the parts The tank is built in 8 steps and the instructions are clear.
The steps are:
- Assemble the main part of the hull and remove a few small pieces of plastic and add the first of the PE.
- Assemble the left-hand running gear including track.
- Assemble the right-hand running gear including track.
- Add the running gear and ditching device to the main hull.
- Adding a storage box to the left-hand side of the hull.
- Adding exhaust and shovel to the right-hand side of the hull.
- Assemble the 75mm gun and the armored superstructure it goes into
- Add the gun and armored superstructure to the hull.
The color scheme is shown in color and the paints are called out by name and Mr. Hobby, Tamiya ranges. You get left, front and rear views of the 2 decal options.
The best price I can see for this box is on eBay for about $16.00 including shipping.
This is a well-detailed kit of a relatively obscure vehicle and so should be of interest to 1/72 scale WW1 and WW2 modellers. It’s also really good value at $16.00 for 2 kits and that includes a few pieces of PE too.
Many thanks to Flyhawk for sending along the kit for review.