Ostmodels Char 2C Super-Heavy Tank in 1/72

 

This is the French Char 2C Super-Heavy Tank, available as a resin kit from Ostmodels.  The main hull is cast as one large piece which is a very good thing.  The model builds up quickly and is a good representation of the original.  It is quite big, I have posed it with Trumpeter’s Char 1B to give an indication of its size.  If you like building unusual subjects this one certainly fits the bill.

Char2C_51

Char2C_52

Char2C_54

Char2C_61

Char2C_62

Char2C_63

Char2C_65

Ostmodels Resin French Char 2C Super Heavy Tank Build in 1/72 Scale

 

Char2C_23
What a beast!  I was itching to get started on this one so I dove right in.  The kit is nicely cast in a slightly flexible resin.  There are no casting blocks.  There is some resin webbing to be removed, and a few pinholes to be filled, but not more than one could reasonably anticipate.  The main body is one big piece which is quite a good thing.  There are 49 parts in total.  After a few hours with the trusty hobby knife everything was cleaned up and ready to go.  Put on your favorite podcast and it all goes by rather quickly.  History and photographs here:  inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/french-char-2c-super-heavy-tank-description-and-kit-review/
Char2cBuild_01
I decided to get everything assembled before painting to ensure a solid join.  All gluing was done with superglue from the hardware store.  The first step was assembling the running gear and tracks, which consumes about half of the parts count.  This is where the flexibility of the resin is a real asset.  I was able to bend the track around the curves and glue it down incrementally.  No worries.  One tip is to mate the ends of the sections over something solid to give extra backing and support, this also makes for a broader gluing surface.  Mercifully, the plethora of small rollers on the bottoms of the side casements are hidden by skirts and only the ends of the track links can be seen on the bottom.  I used about 4.5 track sections on each side out of the 13 provided, so there is plenty of track to spare.
Char2cBuild_02
Here is everything assembled and awaiting primer.  I replaced the four machine gun barrels with Albion tube to get a better shape and hollow ends.  There are what appear to be wiring conduits at the corners of the “superstructure”, I added these with beading wire.  Six shackles were added from spares, and PE fret was used for various bits of strapping and brackets.  I removed the resin antenna and will replace it with thinner stock at the completion of the build.
Char2cBuild_03
A coat of Mr. Surfacer to check for flaws.  There were several pinholes on the underside of the main hull, but these were easily filled and in an inconspicuous location.  There were a few others in random locations which were filled with superglue and stretched sprue.  In all, pretty good for a casting this size.
Char2cBuild_04
The camouflage was applied using poster putty for masks.  Looking at the pictures for my subject, the pattern was not applied evenly.  The green is more dense on the rear of the sponson on this side and the color separations are finer on the upper hull.  It makes me wonder if painting this tank was a team effort and each individual applied their own ideas about the striping.
Char2cBuild_05
After the camo was cleaned up a coat of Testors Glosscoat was applied.  This provides a base for the decals and weathering and allows the model to be handled without wearing through the paint.  The tracks were painted scale black then drybrushed with silver.  Then the tracks were washed with browns.  the exhaust system was also painted, and paint chipping on the hull was picked out with a fine brush.  Then a diluted mix of light tans was applied where the tracks would deposit dirt and mud.  After that the model received an acrylic wash of black to pick out the details.  Decals are from the spares box.
Char2cBuild_06
Finally, everything was sealed with a layer of Dullcoat and the antenna wire was glued in place.  One thing I struggled with were the exhausts and muffler systems on the upper deck.  The photographs of this tank show camouflage patterns on the surface of the mufflers, but the paint would surely burn off after even short periods running the engines.  Was the camo touched up and then the engines not run?  I preferred a bit of wear and dirt so went with the burnt off paint in the end.  Anyway, I really enjoyed this build, it was a lot of fun!  Plus this will likely be the oddest bit of tank modeling you’ll see today!

French Char 2C Super-Heavy Tank Description and Kit Review

The Char 2C was the result of a specification issued in 1916 by the General Headquarters of the French Army for a heavy breakthrough tank.  The tank was to be heavily armored and able to cross trenches 12 meters (13 feet) wide.  In 1918 the French ordered the manufacture of 300 units to be ready in time for the 1919 Spring offensive, but with the Armistice in November 1918 all urgency was removed.  Only ten Char 2C were eventually completed, the last being delivered to the French Army in 1923.

To this day, the Char 2C is arguably the largest production tank ever to enter military service.  With a weight of 76 tons (69 metric tonnes) and a length of almost 34 feet (10.3 meters) it is a monster.  The front and turret were protected with 35 mm armor, with 21 mm plate on the sides.  Maximum speed was 15 kph.

Being represented as “land battleships”, the tanks were numbered and named after regions of France.  These were 90 Poitou, 91 Provence, 92 Picardie, 93 Alsace, 94 Bretagne, 95 Touraine, 96 Anjou, 97 Normandie, 98 Berry, and 99 Champagne.  In the fall of 1939 Normandie was up-armored in an effort to render her immune to German guns and re-named Lorraine.  She emerged with frontal armor 90 mm thick and a weight of 84 tons (76 metric tonnes).

The Char 2C design had immense propaganda value for the French in the years between the wars, but by 1939 it was obsolete.  Despite their limitations, the ten Char 2C were mobilized to form the 51st Bataillon de Chars de Combat to defend against the German invasion.  Six of the tanks were immobilized by a fire while being transported by rail.  With no way to move the tanks, they were destroyed by their own crews to prevent them from falling into German hands.  One tank, the Champagne, was captured intact by the Germans and returned to Berlin as a war prize.  The Char 2C never actually saw combat.

Char2C_01
The Char 2C was armed with a 75mm ARCH 1897 gun in a rotating turret and four 8 mm machine guns, one in a rotating turret at the rear of the vehicle, one mounted in the forward hull, and in each side sponson.  The crew was twelve men.
Char2C_02
Transportation was always a problem, so special railroad trucks were designed to help move the vehicles.  The trucks each had three axles and bolted directly onto the hull, using the structure of the tank for support.
Char2C_03
Propulsion was provided by two 210 hp Chenu engines driving DC generators, which in turn powered an electric motor for each track.  The engines were later replaced with 250 hp Maybach engines which gave the tank a maximum speed of 15 kph (9.5 mph) over level ground.
Char2C_04
The propaganda value of the huge tanks was not lost upon the French, film and photographs often showed them on maneuvers or crushing obsolete fortifications.
Char2C_05
A fine study of Champagne in a segmented camouflage.  The complexity of her running gear is obvious, the complexity of her engineering system is implied.
Char2C_06
The up-armored Lorraine.  With a frontal and turret armor of 90 mm, she would have been a very difficult opponent for German gunners.
Char2C_07
Champagne was captured intact by the Germans and returned to the Reich as a war prize.  The Germans took several photographs for propaganda purposes.  The inscription painted on the side reads Erbeutet PzRgt 10, which translates as “Captured (by) Panzer Regiment 10”.  Depending on the film used this inscription is either very visible as shown here, or very subtle.
Char2C_21
In 1/72 scale the Char 2C is available in resin form from Ostmodels in Tasmania.  The kit comes packaged in a recloseable plastic bag.  Smaller parts are contained in a second bag.  The kit was packed well in a sturdy cardboard box and bubble wrap, and survived the trip to the USA with no apparent damage.  A list of Ostmodels kits in 1/72 and 1/76 scale can be seen at the Henk of Holland website here:  https://henk.fox3000.com/Ostmodels.htm
Kits can be ordered by contacting Mr. Anker J. Fuglsang by email at kerank@ozemail.com.au.
Char2C_22
This data sheet is provided, but no instructions.  Like the SMK reviewed last week I do not see this as a major obstacle for experienced modelers.
Char2C_23
If there was a steam powered tank design I would expect it to look something like this.  Here are the parts laid out with an exacto knife for scale.  The main hull casting is 145 mm long or almost 6 inches.  This will be a big one!  Being cast in resin the parts count is mercifully low.  Some parts clean up will be required but that is not difficult nor unexpected.