1/600 Scale French Hotchkiss H35 Light Tanks.
Contains 10 highly detailed tanks.
Hotchkiss H35 Light Tank
- 10x French Hotchkiss H35 Light Tanks
In 1926, the French Infanterie
decided to provide armour support to the regular infantry divisions by creating autonomous tank battalions equipped with a light and cheap infantry tank, a char d'accompagnement
. For this role at first the Renault Char D1 was developed, but it proved to be neither particularly light nor cheap. In 1933, the company Hotchkiss et Cie
, under its own initiative, presented a plan to produce a lighter design through the application of new manufacturing techniques to produce cast steel sections to construct an entire hull. Hotchkiss et Cie
was a French arms manufacturer established by American gunsmith Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, who had learned his trade at Colt and Winchester in Connecticut. Hotchkiss moved to France in 1867 and set up his own gun factory at Viviez near Rodez. In 1875 he moved it to Saint-Denis near Paris.On 30 June 1933, the Hotchkiss proposal was approved by the Conseil Consultatif de l'Armement
. On 2 August 1933 the new tank's specifications were made known: a weight of six tonnes and 30 mm armor thickness all around. Three prototypes were ordered from Hotchkiss, but the entire French industry was also invited to provide alternative proposals. This allowed the Renault company to beat Hotchkiss in delivering their first prototype, which was later developed into the Renault R35. On 18 January 1935, the first Hotchkiss prototype, not yet made of armor plating, was presented to the Commission d'Expérience du Matériel Automobile
(CEMA) at Vincennes; it was a turretless machine gun-armed tankette. It was tested until 4 March 1935, when it was replaced by a second identical prototype to be tested until 6 May. Both had to be rejected because new specifications had been made on 21 June 1934 that increased the desired armor thickness to 40 mm.
On 27 June 1935, the commission approved the type on the provision that the necessary changes were made. On 19 August, a third prototype was delivered, equipped with a cast APX turret and featuring a redesigned hull; it was tested until 20 September and accepted for service as the Char léger modèle 1935 H
. On 6 November, a first order was made for 200 vehicles. The first production vehicle was delivered on 12 September 1936. That same year, two additional orders had already been made of 92 and 108 vehicles respectively. By 1 January 1937, 132 vehicles had been produced.
The first series production vehicle was again extensively and intensively tested until 4 December 1936. This showed that its handling qualities on rough terrain were unacceptably poor. It was simply impossible to safely steer the vehicle on a somewhat rough surface, posing an extreme danger to nearby friendly infantry. The Infanterie
therefore decided to accept only the first 100 tanks to equip just two battalions with the type: the 13e
and 38e Bataillon de Chars de Combat
and reject any further procurement.
For political reasons, however, stopping production of the tank was not acceptable. And so the other 300 vehicles of the production run were offered to the Cavalerie
, which was forced to accept them because it would not have been granted a budget for other tanks anyway. As the cavalry units would be making more use of the road network and of mounted infantry, its cross-country handling problems were of less consequence. The H35 was, at 28 km/h, also somewhat faster than the Renault R35, which was capable of 20 km/h, although in practice its average speed was lower than that of the R35 because of its inferior gear box.
The H35 was a rather compact tank, being 4.22 m long, 1.95 m wide and 2.15 m tall, and weighing around 11 metric tons. The armor was made completely of cast steel in six parts that were bolted together. The armor was also well sloped to increase the chance of deflection and the tank was equipped with a six cylinder 78hp engine. The crew consisted of only two members, the driver and the commander who had to take the duties of Radioman, Gunner and Loader as well. The driver did not have it any easier as the vehicle was difficult to drive as the gearbox and brakes were weak and prone to malfunction. The tank was initially equipped with the short 37mm SA18 gun that had only 23 mm of armor penetration, too light to even pierce the H35's own armor and completely inadequate in the anti-tank role.
In 1939, an upgraded variant with a 120 hp engine, an improved suspension and tracks and, eventually in 1940, an improved 37 mm SA38 gun was produced as the Char léger modèle 1935 H modifié 39 or H39.
Some part cleanup will be necessary. The 3D printing process uses a waxy substance to support certain part features during the printing process. Although the parts are cleaned by Shapeways, some waxy residue may remain. It can be safely removed with water and a mild aqueous detergent like "Simple Green" using an old, soft toothbrush, Q-tips or pipe cleaners. During the printing process, liquid resin is cured by ultraviolet light. Microscopic bits of resin may remain uncured.
Let your parts sit in direct sunlight for a few hours to fully cure the resin.
Water-based acrylic paints meant for plastics is strongly recommended. Other paints, especially enamels, may not cure on Frosted Detail 3D-printed plastics.
Use dedicated model sprue cutters to remove parts to minimise the risk of damage to parts.
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