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In-Box Review
French Battle Tank Char B1 bis
Version with narrow fenders
  • ch1

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

It is no exaggeration to say that one of the major (and most long-awaited) releases of 2006 was Tamiya's Char B1 Bis in 1/35th scale. However, after going through a lot of the available references - both on the 'web and in reference books, many people came to the conclusion that although it is an excellent model, it does lack some of the detail we have come to expect from their competitors. Two major areas come to mind. Firstly, the provision of plastic gun barrels and secondly, the fenders which are 'nice' enough, but suffer from over-scale thickness. The rear exhaust cover also suffers from excessive thickness, calling for some attention.All these 'niggles' aside Tamiya's Char B is an excellent kit.

The basics
35213: French Battle Tank Char B1 bis (version with narrow fenders is produced by the Polish after-market specialist Aber. The set comes within a plastic snap-top envelope and is protected by a thick sheet of rigid card. 35213 consists of two sheets of PE (Photo-Etch) along with two pages of instructions.

In detail
Due to the MANY areas covered in this set, i've been referring to the donor kit as to what needs improvement, I'll break the coverage of the set into the following areas:
Upper deck
Fender Replacement
Miscellaneous detail

Upper Deck Many of the (new) details are simply additions. Amongst them are three sets of casting numbers for the small (rear) access panels on the rear engine deck, one for underneath the main gun and two more for the turret. I still remain unconvinced about PE casting numbers as they seem too 'flat'. The (small) rear exhausts also receive some additional detail.

Highs: Simply, the detail of the coverage. Particularly important, is undoubtedly the replacement of the kit's fenders which are one of the weakest areas.
Lows: The complexity of the set. It is without a shadow of a doubt, VERY daunting.
Verdict: You want to build a Char B with all the bells 'n whistles? Then get this set. It would however be a very considerable improvement on the basic kit. It will however be a major although rewarding project,
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35213
  PUBLISHED: Jul 11, 2007

Our Thanks to Aber!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


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