Kit Preview : 1/76 Ostmodels Somua S35 Cavalry Tank

About the manufacturer
Ostmodels in Tasmania has an extensive range of 1/76 vehicles overlooked by mainstream manufacturers. I don't know if Ankef Fuglsang, the owner is still active at the moment of writing (9/12). There is a catalog online at Henk of Holland's web site (Henk crafted several masters for Ostmodels).

Click here for catalog.

About the vehicle
The Somua S35 was France's best tank in 1940. Used by the cavalry in France's armored divisions, the DLM's (Light Mechanized Divisions), it had good firepower and protection but was burdened by the design flaws shared by all French tanks of the period, namely a one man turret and the lack of a cupola, which greatly diminished the fighting effectiveness of any formation. The gunner-loader-target spotter-tank commander could only focus on one task at a time and being forced to fight buttoned down greatly limited his situational awareness, not to mention the impossibility to fight any coordinated group action.

Please refer to the Wikipedia article for a more detailed description.

About the kit

This resin kit seems to be accurately sized for 1/76 based on a rescaled Bradford drawing. The part breakdown is : one piece hull, right and left one piece tracks and running gear, exhausts, 47mm gun, turret MG, cupola roof, turret hatch, hull stowage box. The left side of the hull is either damaged or short-shot, the fender is incomplete for most of the length of the hull. The track assemblies require some cleaning up. The inner sides need to be sanded down. The three parrot beak shaped turret lifting hooks are not very well defined and are better replaced. Other than that the kit looks precise and well detailed. Aleran make a decal sheet of the Somua with markings for the 4th Cuirassiers, 18th and 29th Dragoons.

Reviewed on Sep. 4, 2012.