In the period between the World wars it became clear to the French forces that the Renault FT which had served so well was not up to the task moving forward. The vehicle needed to be replaced with another tank that could perform the same role, that could support the heavy Char D tanks. The original requirement dates back to 1926, but it was not until the mid 1930s that vehicles were submitted to perform the role. With Renault offering up the R35 for consideration, initially the R35 was required to have additional armour added, but with tensions increasing in Europe especially Germany 300 vehicles were ordered and the production vehicle shares a lot with the Hotchkiss H35 initially sharing the same APX turret. Due to difficulty in obtaining the APX turret the FCM became the standard.
This offering from Hobby Boss arrives in a substantial cardboard box with a divider inside, and a separate the cardboard lid having the artwork on it. All of the sprues are individually packaged except for where they are duplicated with the divided area in the box having the upper hull and the photo etch which is protected against damage via a card insert. There are no moulding issues that I can see visually. The gates between the sprue and parts being low in number and small in size while also providing good access for removal is a good sign for the modeller.
When you think about the R35 and its size in 1/35th scale you could be forgiven for questioning the price of this release, but it offers something that Hobby Boss has not shouted about. The hull of the model has a fairly complete interior, with full engine and transmission, cooling fans and radiators. The drive shafts for the vehicle and the driver’s area of the interior hull being well represented. I was not able to find reference to guarantee accuracy of the interior, but placement and look of parts seems logical to me. A large fuel tank is also included in the model and this is protected inside the hull via an armoured plate. The modeller who takes the time and makes the effort could make this small interior an impressive visual delight.
Moving to the exterior of the model, the lower hull is made up of separate panels which has enabled a lot of the detail to be accurately moulded on the panels both inside and out. The sprung bogies cannot be articulated as is from the box, but the modeller who has a little bit of know how could improve the visual appearance of the bogies by making their own springs rather than using the moulded ones. All of the various wheels on the vehicle are visually pleasing having crisp detail. The tracks provided are link and length and have a very nice level of detail moulded into them considering their small size.
The upper hull of the model has again been provided with detail on the inside and out, and hatch detail provided separately enabling the modeller to position as wished and obviously this will enable a good view of the interior. It is pleasing to see that Hobby Boss has remembered to provide the drivers instrument cluster. The track guards are full length separate mouldings, with my only concern being obtaining a good connection between them and the hull due to the limited connection. The unusual style of hooded French headlight has been accurately replicated in this release. The tools stored on the vehicle are for the most part provided clean, with the storage racks allowing the tools to be slid into them which will be quite a nice aide during painting. The tail skid on the rear of the vehicle is an especially well detailed, with the complex framework being very well represented.
The turret of the model has a well represented breach for the main part, but there is very little in the way of added detail beyond the viewing ports being moulded on the interior. The rear access door is again a separate part and so could be shown in an open position, but I would look into the accuracy of the interior turret detail before committing yourself to an open turret here. Hobby Boss has only provided a single finishing option for this release, which is a quite complicated four colour scheme with the difficulty being due to the small size of the finished kit and the interior detail if you have the hatches open. No detail is provided by Hobby Boss as to what the finishing option represents, and decals being exceedingly minimal beyond a vehicle reference number.
If you like the petite and high levels of detail that will test your ability this model from Hobby Boss could be for you. I would not say that it was small, but just checking the parts for the review hurt my eyes. Visual access to the interior parts of the model is aided by the number of hatches that can be left open if desired, and this is one of those models where the modeller will get what he gets from his level of effort that is put into the building and finishing of the model, which could result in a stunning little gem. I like Hobby Boss products but I do wish they would put more effort into the finishes so the modeller does not get repetitive strain injury hunting on line.