This is one of those tanks that definitely have a lot of personality. From absolute obscurity it was launched into the general consciousness* by the online game World of Tanks, which features it as a tier IV light tank. It has a certain notoriety as it is certainly one of the worst tanks in the game, but despite this it became somewhat of a legend (or a cult, rather) simply due to its quite unique looks. It's a sort of hipster tank, just like the Churchill Gun Carrier. The WoT community has created several amusing memes around it, and it has its own nickname: "The Duck". Right now the only mod I run with the game is the "rubber duck" custom paintjob.
*Well, more accurately, into the general consciousness of a certain gaming community...
The unique look of the tank is the result of its designers taking the idea of sloped armour to its limits. The plans were drawn up in 1940 as a replacement option for the S35 and S40 cavalry tanks, but due to the German invasion these plans did not materialise; no prototypes were ever built. (To be fair it would have probably performed just as bad in real life against panzer IIIs and IVs as it does in-game.) The only contemporary image of this strange-looking tank available online is a drawing.
A great video of the tank in action can be seen below.
I have been toying around with Blender trying to make a printable model of this tank, but so far my efforts are less than satisfactory. (I'm not giving up, though; if I succeed I will paint it in the Rubber Duck scheme.) Needless to say when I saw that OKB Grigorov is producing a version of this vehicle I ordered one at once. I quite like this feedback of computer games into the scale model industry; a lot of newer releases were clearly inspired by the weirder prototypes, paper panzers popularized by WoT.
The kit comes in a typical OKB box, the parts placed into ziplock bags. The instructions are computer generated and quite simple, but this is a simple model after all. Once you finish the suspension/running gear, you're essentially finished. It comes with two PE parts, and two transparent resin pieces for the headlights. It lacks the back-mounted machine gun that was planned (it was pointing upwards, mounted inside the hull behind the turret). Other than that it looks very similar to the blueprint, but distinctly different from its in-game representation. (Which is a shame, because the WoT turret with its secondary machine gun turret looks much better in my opinion? Well, this is what Blender is for, I guess.)
The resin pieces are excellently cast, and the detail is really nice. There is some flash around the parts (which is expected). The tracks come in straight sections which need to be warmed up slightly, and wrapped around the drive wheels/idlers. There are no decals provided.
The model went together without a hitch. The suspension arms fit well, the wheels went on nicely, and the tracks were a breeze to install; that was pretty much the extent of the build, really. Apart from this I had to glue the turret and the gun in place, install the headlights, and add the side-skirts. The building process took about an hour. The only tricky part was to fix the side-skirts onto the curved profile of the tank.
The painting was also pretty easy: I primed the model with the side-skirts off with Vallejo's German Grey primer, and applied AK's Chipping Fluid. Once dry, I mixed up the (fictional) blue-gray color from WoT using Tamiya paints, and misted it over the model in several layers. This was followed by some moderate chipping using a wet, stiff brush.
When the model was dry, I used some oil-paint based filters (light brown, blue) to modulate the base color somewhat, and sealed everything with gloss varnish. Unfortunately there are no decals provided with the model, so right now the painting and weathering process has stalled at this stage until I find some suitable ones.
Overall the model is nice: well designed, easy to assemble, and unique-looking. The price is moderately high, but affordable; it's great as a weekend project (or for the true fans of Le'Duck).
Highs: extremely simple to assemble, weird, unique subjectLows: price is somewhat high; no decalsVerdict: recommended for French armor enthusiasts, WoT players, or as a first resin model for beginners
I am a biologist by trade, and as a hobby I've been building scale models for the last twenty years. Recently I started to write reviews of the models I bought. These reviews are written from the point of view of an average model builder; hence the focus is on quality of the model, how easy it is to...