Char B1 bis - Trumpeter French Char B1 bis (07263)
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After consulting some references I decided to make my Trumpeter Char B bis as "Verdun II" from the 1st Armoured Division. I refined the turret detail by re-cutting the vision slots, drilling six holes in the cupola roof and three holes in the turret roof. I replaced the cupolas visor and added three hooks around the sides of the cupola. To allow the inclusion of a commander figure, I opened up turret hatch, scratch building a new hatch cover. The figure was created by using parts from the Preiser German and US tank crew figures. A new driver's hatch cover was scratch built and vision slots added either side of the driver's position, plus the main driver's vision slot was corrected. The front lamp was detailed by adding a butterfly nut to rear and lens cover. The hull gun mantlet had six holes drilled around the barrel slot and a pigtail hook added to the top. A thinner antenna mount guard was scratch built and the antenna cable trunking ends hollow out with two rivets added above the two supports on the top of the trunking. The small square cover between the turret ring and antenna trunking, is Wehrmacht addition which I removed and replaced with a small ribbed isolator made from plastic rod. An additional antenna mount was scratch built for the "Verdun II" tank. The turret gun depression guard was changed for a thinner gauge one made from brass rod. A number of important panel lines on both sides of the hull had been omitted by Trumpeter and had to be scribed in. The hull side door hinge detail was added and a new brass rod hand rail to replace the plastic lump over the door. The four jack attachment points (I think that's what they are) were tidied up using plastic rod. Two small mud scrappers were added on either side of the hull above the mud chutes, plus a line of rivets running the length of the hull next to the top run of track, donated from an Airfix Grant kit. The engine deck cover handles were removed as these were a later addition. Four towing shackles were added along with four hooks for stowing the tow chains. I had trouble with paint cracking and falling off the vinyl track, so I scratch built two track links which were cast by my good friend Horst Kalinke in white metal. The track links and a replacement drivers hatch cover are now available from Friendship Models. The Verdun II transfers came from the Matchbox/Revell Char B kit. I used Humbrol No30 aerosol for the base green and hand painted the disruptive pattern of Humbrol No120 (light green), Humbrol No160 (brown) and the black outline. A detailed article on the modifications to this model was featured in Military Modelcraft International April 2010 titled‘A Char B bis Named Verdun II’.

Copyright Tim Neate