Renault FT 17/NC 1/NC 2/TSF, Renault R35/40, Hotchkiss H35/39 Book Review
|Date of Review
|Renault FT 17/NC 1/NC 2/TSF, Renault R35/40, Hotchkiss H35/39
|Mushroom Model Publications
|104 pages, softbound
The first Allied tanks facing Nazi fury during WWII were Polish. And French equipment comprised key components of Poland's defenses.
That's the fascinating tale of MMP/Stratus' first "Polish Tracks & Wheels" installment – available from Casemate in North America. Author Adam Jonca recaps it in 104 color-packed pages. And the title succinctly sums it up: Renault FT 17/NC 1/NC 2/TSF, Renault R 35/40, Hotchkiss H35/39.
It's impressively informative, too. Coverage courses from the end of WWI through battles with Bolsheviks and developments between wars to Germany's September 1939 assault – and eventual exile in France.
Early-armor enthusiasts: grab your drool cups! At least 200 rare reference photos and 29 beautiful color plates flavor this fulsome feast. Illustrations logically track Jonca's chronological narrative. And for modelers, artwork – including heraldry – offer excellent modeling inspiration.
I especially enjoyed the section on "attempts to modernise FT-17 tanks". Railroad-mounted variants also equally intriguing. And Gen Stanislaw Maczek's exploits illuminated the staggering saga of Polish armored forces in exile.
A couple concerns cloud this otherwise outstanding effort. Captions proved decidedly difficult to follow against Stratus' gray and green background stripes. Boldface text – or a font with thicker strokes – would vastly improve readability. And Jonca's tale sometimes failed to translate smoothly to English – a common problem with MMP/Stratus productions. So assiduous attention to vernacular, diction and grammar might help, too.
But, hey, I quibble. With its rotating turret, Renault's pioneering FT-17 – star of this impressive production – certainly sired the modern tank concept. And for that reason alone, it belongs in any collection of historically significant armored vehicles.
At least 120 FT-17s saw Polish service. And over two turbulent decades, colorful examples fought both Soviet and Nazi invaders.
Seeking spectacular WWII schemes for Takom's pending 1:16-scale model – or RPM's 1:35 item? Look here!
With thanks to Casemate for the review copy.