Renault UE Update Set
Azimut 1:35 Scale Set #35373
Review by Terry Ashley

The kit:
Azimut have released this update set for the recent Tamiya Renault UE (kit #35284) and while the Blast Models UE update set (#BL35117K) has only exterior parts this set is predominantly focused on the interior. There are some exterior parts in etched metal but these are best ignored as we will see below but there are plenty of resin parts to make the set worthwhile.

The set contains just 19 parts cast in light grey resin with a small etched fret with 22 parts and a another separate formed brass part that is loose in the packaging so take care when opening the plastic bag the parts come in.

Standard of resin casting is very good overall with the usual casting blocks to be removed along with some fine resin film but there were no air holes or other blemishes apart from the rear bulkhead warped a little that can be fixed with a dip in hot water easily. There are a couple of minor blemishes on the engine such as on the fan belt part but these can be quickly dealt with.

With the etched fret, this is from the 1997 Ironside UE update set and is simply not up to today’s standards and apart from the tool straps the rest is best ignored.

There is the front plate armour which requires you to shave off the kit detail and glue the etched over the top, but the etched rivets are flat in profile and you would have to solder the joins to eliminate any gaps which would obviously have to be done before adding to the kit plastic part. This is a lot of work to end up with poorer defined detail than you started with, so just cut out the Renault Badge logo from the etched part and use this on the Tamiya panel.

There are the crew entry hatches in etched but these are flat without any detail at all, no rivets on the hinges or elsewhere and again offer no improvement over the kit parts and the side exhaust cover has open vents but the vents themselves are not raised, just flat embossed and there is no indication where to bend the guard. You could use the kit part as a guide but again there is no real advantage in this other than the open vents.

You are far better using the exterior resin parts from the Blast Models UE update set (#BL35117K) which have better defined detail and just concentrate on the interior parts from this set as we will do right now.

The largest casting is the full engine and transmission in one piece and this is an excellent casting with crisp well defined details that match the excellent engine shots in the Focus book very well with all main engine components included in the casting.

Added to the engine are the fan belt assembly and two other parts to the rear along with the drive shafts at the front and exhaust pipe extension which fits through the hole in the kit wall when the engine is installed in the kit.

On the left side there is additional etched quadrant which has to be bend to form a sort of L shaped semi-cone but this is all but impossible given the small size and thickness of the brass part unless you have a specific forming tool for the job. It would have been nice if this was pre-bend and I have fitted this in place in the images in the original flat profile which you may have to settle with?

To finish off the engine there is quite a bit of wiring that can be added if you want to dress it up a little and most of this is shown clearly in the Focus book engine shots and you would obviously paint and weather the engine before final fitting to the hull.

Other interior items include replacement seats, the two drivers’s steering levers and the instrument panel which is actually glued to the side of the engine making fitting in the right place easy but for some reason the driver’s foot pedals are not provided?

The battery is provided for the front right but some trimming will be needed to fit snugly over the Tamiya cross member (part B12), also fit the battery as far outboard as it will go clear the transmission when fitted.

At the back is the large radiator and fuel tanks in one casting with well defined detail and also includes the fan at the back which is hidden after assembly but we know it’s there. You have to take care fitting the radiator as it shouldn’t sit flush with the rear cross member (part B9) as indicated in the instructions but 2mm forward of this. It is best to glue one side kit panel to the floor and test fit the radiator by temporarily fitting the rear hull panel (part B7) as you go to ensure they all line up correctly.

Finally there is the rear bulkhead that fits between the seats and the radiator and I found it easier to glue this to the upper hull part (B14) instead of to the lower floor as this made lining it up as you fit the upper hull much easier.

There is quite a bit of surgery required on the Tamiya parts to fit the resin parts starting with removing the moulded on engine access hatches and the three large locating posts on the underside of the upper hull but the parts will still fit okay without these posts.

The access hatches are provided in resin parts and care will be needed when removing the moulded on hatches to trim them flush with the hull to leave a lip to sit the new resin hatches on as well as being careful not to damage some surrounding rivet detail as you go. Also note that I also removed the moulded on fenders to take the replace resin fenders from the Blast set while I was there.

After gluing the rear panel (part B14) to the upper hull I also trimmed this on the inside to conform to the rear hull contours as this will help clear the radiator when you fit the hull parts together later and as mentioned the resin bulkhead was glued to part B14 while test fitting often as you go to get things lined up okay.

The assembled engine and transmission fitted very well to the lower hull with a small notch on the undersides fitting over the forward cross member ensuring things line up okay, especially the drive shafts that fit into the hull side holes as does the exhaust pipe extension.

After fitting the engine in place you can then add the front hull panel, the other side panel as well as the two rear panels and these all fitted well without further trimming and provided you test fit these parts often during assembly of the resin parts there shouldn’t be any real surprised at final assembly.

The final fitting of the hull top was also without incident but again you can make this easier with regular test fitting, especially of the top hull while fitting the engine to ensue the transmission ‘box’ sits centrally in the hull cut-out when you finally add the upper hull.

The fit of the replacement resin engine hatches is a little tricky as the rear hatch has straight bottom edges while there is a step in the hull and you will need to trim the hatch accordingly to fit and the front hatch may also need a little trimming to fit properly. The easy way around these minor fit issues is to show the access hatches open to also show off the interior detail in the process as most would do if using this set or you could use the Blast Models hatches which fit a little better in the closed position.

The instructions are a series of exploded drawings that are mostly clear enough to see what is required but at the risk of repeating myself test fit often during assembly to avoid any real problems at the end.

This set being mostly the interior if you dismiss the poor etched parts can be used in concert with the Blast Models set #BL35117K exterior parts to do a full job on your UE and it’s good to see two update sets compliment each other rather than duplicating what you get.

The detail on the engine/transmission and rear radiator parts is very well done and the final fit to the small UE interior is very good overall with the trimming needed nothing out of the ordinary for this type of update set and fills the interior very nicely.

As the interior of the UE is very visible if the top crew hatches are shown open this set will be invaluable to UE builders with the engine and transmission also visible with the access hatches open.

Highly recommended 8/10.

See the Renault UE Subject page for additonal UE item reviews

Set contents:

Resin parts
Two views of engine casting
Etched metal parts
Detail images
Click for larger view

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Renault UE
Focus No.1
Editions DU Barbotin
French Military Vehicles

Ground Power Special 12/03
Thanks to Azimut for the review set.

Page created December 16, 2007

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