Total building time 108 hours
Begin date February 17, 2021 – May 21, 2021
Kit #TS-011 – French Light Tank (Riveted Turret) FT17
Photo-Etch set #E35-199 French FT-17 Light Tank (Cast Turret)
This is my first Meng kit and on the basis of this one, I would try another kit from this manufacturer.
I think they took a shortcut (what a surprise for a corporation!) with this kit. From what I can tell, it’s their TS-008 kit only without the sprues containing the engine parts…and unfortunately some interior parts. If it’s your intention to build this kit with all the hatches closed then the missing parts don’t matter. If you want to model open hatches then you’ll have to flesh out the commander/gunner’s position by doing something for the mine rack and ammo rack, as well as the rear bulkhead of the fighting compartment.
Had the missing interior parts been supplied, this would have been an OOB build. I think I was fortunate in finding the AM PE set that I did, even if it’s for the cast turret variant. What I needed was the mine rack and ammunition rack. There were a few more parts that were nice to have in PE, though I didn’t use everything I could have. PE is very good for some things and not so good for other things.
If you build by following the provided instructions then you shouldn’t have the problems I encountered, which were largely self-inflicted. Figure out a better way than I did to align the sides of the turret and don’t out clever yourself with the gun the way I did. From what I can tell, fit was good and things went together well (unless you out clever yourself, too.)
At 108 hours, it’s the quickest build I’ve done since I started keeping track of time (in 1991). I’m pleased with a model of the first type of tank the US Army used in combat. This model is marked as a tank from the 2nd Platoon, 1st Company, 344th Tank Battalion, 304th Tank Brigade of the US Army (American Expeditionary Forces) as deployed at Verdun, October 1918.