The quality of the etched parts is again excellent with well defined details and fine relief of the larger and smaller parts. Some of the smaller parts will require care removing from the frets and cleaning up the fine burs with the parts having the usual engraved bending lines to make the job easier.
The most notable items are the three large engine deck intake grills which are pre-formed with raised open louvers and look quite impressive. The rear two are straight replacements for the kit parts A18 and come with small hinges that can be made workable with the aid of some 0.5mm plastic rod (not included). This will allow you to show the grills open if you wish as this is often seen on a few shots of disabled Char B1s. There was nothing too difficult in forming the hinges for any experienced with etched parts but could be an adventure if not done before.
The forward right hand grill is a little more difficult as you have to cut out the moulded on grill from the kit upper hull and you should be careful not to remove any surrounding bolt heads in the process. The etched grill is then fixed firmly in place with cyanoacrylate and has additional supports for the guard railing added.
As the grills are see through you may want to blank off the insides with some plastic card so you can’t see right into the interior but the grills look very good when in place.
The set gives you both the narrow and wide fenders to use as you wish and these are in four segments each side with separate underside braces and hull side brackets so you should be able to add and remove the fenders as per the real thing if careful during assembly.
At the back you also get a choice of short or long exhaust heat shields and inner exhaust covers plus the mounting brackets with the shields having to be curved around the exhaust and its best to anneal the parts by running through candle flame to soften the parts to make the bending easier.
Both the aluminium barrels are cleanly machined with hollowed out muzzles and simulated rifling included with the 75mm barrel also having the two notches on the sides of the correct size and location.
To fit the 75mm barrel you simply cut the kit barrel from the front of kit parts A16, best done after gluing them together with the inside mounting included and then insert the metal barrel pin into the resulting small hole in the gun mounting.
With the 47mm barrel you have to cut the kit barrel from the small rear mounting lug, drill a small hole in the lug and insert the metal barrel pin with the rest of the assembly as per the instructions.
Both the barrels match available plans well with any discrepancies being well under 1mm.
Other etched parts include the “Renault” logo on the front plate plus the very small casting numbers seen on top of the lower front cross member and extreme care will be needed in both removing these from the fret and in gluing in place as they are only about 1.2mm in height.
There is also the small bolted ring around the bottom of the turret cupola and the latches inside the turret and hull hatches plus the armour cover for the right side engine deck hatch which just replaces kit part B6 without alterations required.
This set covers most of the obvious updates for the Tamiya kit and the alternate fenders and exhaust covers adds a nice choice with the pre-formed intake grills a standout feature. The barrels require very little work to fit for an all up nice set to add the final touches to the Tamiya kit.
Etched and Metal parts
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The Char B1 bis Subject Page lists other reviews of sets available for the Tamiya B1 bis kitReferences:
| Hommes et Matériels
du 15e BCC CHARS B AU COMBAT
Histoire & Collections
|Les CHARS B
B1-B1 bis-B1 ter
AFV Super Detail Photo Book Vol.2
Model Art Co.Ltd
Ground Power Special 12/03
Thanks to my credit card and for the review set.
Page created December 12, 2006