Blast Models
B1 bis Update Set French Version
1:35 #BL35103K
Review by Terry Ashley

TamiyaBlast Models follow their two French tank crew figures (sets #BL35099F and BL35102F) suitable for the recent Tamiya Char B1 bis (kit #35282) with this update for the B1 bis French version containing 18 parts cast in light grey resin and a small instruction sheet.

The quality of the resin parts is very good with just the usual casting blocks to be removed and no air bubbles or other blemished to contend with.

Detail on the parts is very good with cast texture on the Commander’s observation hood and the driver’s hatches as well as fine casting numbers and rivets about the place plus a few very small parts that will need care cleaning up and attaching to the model.

A complete Commander’s observation hood is provided which includes as mentioned nice cast texture as well as the six top flush screw heads in the correct position and nicely detailed lower bolted rim plus the three small lifting lugs missing from the Tamiya part although these may need a little trimming on the undersides for a cleaner finish.

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The side vision port cover is a separate part with inner port detail while the flap for the front binocular sights is rescued from the Tamiya kit with the resin observation hood fitting neatly into the turret cut-out but you may want to add a couple of retaining lugs like the kit part so it doesn’t come loose if the model is moved as it just sits in the opening.

Added to the back is a replacement hatch with nice latch mechanism moulded on as well as the separate opening bracket that just clips into the latch mechanism allowing you to easily reposition the door if not sitting a Commander figure such as the Blast Models figure set #BL35102F on it.

The main gun mantlet is provided in resin with the correct slight offset on the 47mm gun mantlet while the machine gun mantlet has subtle cast texture and small casting numbers included. Some mantlets don’t have the casting numbers but it’s a lot easier to remove them if not required than add then on with both mantlets simply replacing the kit parts without any alterations required.

The driver’s hatch and front plate are also replaced with resin parts that include subtle cast texturing and small casting numbers on the front plate as well as other improvements on the kit doors with kit parts B14 and B30 fitting to the resin upper door the same way as with the kit parts for another trouble free substitution.
The only omission are the five flush screws on top of the front vision visor but these can easily be added using the Lionmarc/Passion Models 0.6mm Brass screw heads.

The 75mm gun mantlet is also provided that includes the six small bolt heads around the barrel opening and the small lifting eye on the top although this is a complete ring and most are pigtail type hooks on the real B1, but it is easy to modify the part being resin.

There is a little build up of resin on the inside of the mantlet and the instructions indicate to sand down the kit gun mountings (parts A16) but I found it easier to shave some resin from the inside of the mantlet with a curved X-Acto blade to fit leaving the gun mountings intact.

The large aerial base and guard on the rear hull is provided in resin with excellent concertina texture on the aerial base which looks very convincing but you have to cut off one rivet head to fit this which isn’t a problem and lastly there are small fittings for the rear upper hull and on the side panels under the tracks.

Added to the front plate are the oval Renault logo but the instructions show to fit this too high on the front plate but is easy to add according to photos plus a replacement head light with inner globe detail if you wish to show the light cover open which again has additional detail from the kit part.

The single page instruction sheet has photos of the resin parts fitted to the Tamiya with the parts called out by number and are very easy to follow making thing that much easier again.

Overall this is an excellent update set for the Tamiya kit with all the replacement parts having improved detail over the kit parts and not requiring any modifications to the kit and just minor trimming on the main gun mantlet during fitting makes for a simply set to use.

Highly recommended.

Also see the review of set #BL35107K B1 bis Update set German Version
The Char B1 bis Subject Page lists other reviews of sets available for the Tamiya B1 bis kit

Resin parts
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Hommes et Matériels du 15e BCC CHARS B AU COMBAT
Histoire & Collections
ISBN 2-913903-42-8
B1-B1 bis-B1 ter

Trackstory No.3
ISBN 2-9520988-4-4
Char B1 bis
AFV Super Detail Photo Book Vol.2
Model Art Co.Ltd
French Military Vehicles

Ground Power Special 12/03
Thanks to Gilles from Blast Models for the review set.
The set can be purchased direct from Blast Models or from AFV Modeller Shop in the UK.

Page created September 15, 2006

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