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11
Char B1 Bis

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About the Author

About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...


Comments

Readers should note that this Char B1 bis was captured from the Germans who operated this on the Channel Islands as part of sPz Abt 213. As such, it has some features on it that weren't of French origin. Specifically the tool suite on the front fenders, the hooks on the glacis, the Renault plate on the glacis, the casement above the 75mm gun and the zimmerit-like material on the upper turret. But the photo spread is very valuable -- showing many good detail shots of the Char
MAR 15, 2011 - 12:54 PM
Thanks Darren! Roy: I noticed some differences there that you have pointed out. I'm used to surviving tanks, especially those in museums, having alterations/inaccuracies for one reason or another. It seems to always be a good idea to research period photos of any subject to compare against surviving examples. You have some good insight on the origin of this tanks current configuration which is a great benefit to us as modelers. Would like to know more about where you sourced your information from if you don't mind sharing.
MAR 15, 2011 - 02:07 PM
Most of what I posted is from Jentz' Panzer Tracts booklet on captured enemy tanks. There's a good discussion of Chars B and the German units that operated them and some of the modifications they added. My favorite is one of the sPzAbt 213 Chars with not only the turret anti mine paste but also a vertical matting along the hull. I chose it as the subject of a model I finished last year. http://s45.photobucket.com/albums/f74/ericadeane/Panzer%20B2/ The Tamiya Char B1 bis has got to be one of my favorite models for its sheer buildability! I've done two!
MAR 15, 2011 - 03:31 PM
Thanks Darren, Nice pictures! Roy, I'm no expert but I don't think that's Zimmerit on the turret. It looks like a 70 year old coat of Coal Tar. Anti-corrosive and anti-magnetic properties! Not a bad idea for a channel island station I imagine. Charlie
MAR 15, 2011 - 04:57 PM
In the Jentz book, there is a clearer picture where there clearly is some sort of paste all over the turret while being a part of sPz Abt 213. Given the matting that they also applied to the vertical surfaces, it goes to reason that the turret goop was anti-magnetic as well. I don't know if it was zimmerit or not. But whatever it was, it was smeared on the turret and drive sprocket facings and 75mm barrel housing. Note the german antenna base in picture 9. Note the remnants of the vertical matting in image 40 (the waffle pattern on the hull side). Wartime photos show the matting to have some sort of cross hatch pattern which matches the images on the hull sides.
MAR 15, 2011 - 05:23 PM
Roy: Thanks for sharing your build, and I will have to check out that booklet some time. I agree about the Tamiya kit, and wouldn't mind having a few more myself
MAR 15, 2011 - 05:53 PM
This information comes from the Bovington Tank Museum website and may be of use in the current discussion. Our exhibit was issued to 1st Platoon, 1st Company, Panzer Abteilung 213, Panzer Division Schweizingen for service in the Channel Islands and was captured on Jersey at the end of the war. The Panzer Abteilung 213 was formed in the autumn of 1941 to operate French tanks, and arrived in Jersey and Guernsey in March and April 1942 on the SS Derindje and SS Livadia. This tank was number 114. The regiment never fired a shot in anger, although many of its recruits fought in other panzer regiments. The tanks were returned to France in May 1946, although this one was sent to the School of Tank Technology in Britain before being movd to the Tank Museum.
MAR 15, 2011 - 07:31 PM
Roy I can see the pattern you refer to and how much it looks like a waffle pattern, I can tell you though that there is no texture at all. Would you be able to post a picture or link that shows the waffle pattern attached? It is one of the big pluses of Bovington that they allow you to actually touch the vehicles, and do not put barriers in the way. One sad result of this is that they were forced to put barriers around the rear of the King Tiger as some individuals decided to break of pieces of zimmerit. I have to recommend that if the opportunity arises a visit to Bovington is a must.
MAR 15, 2011 - 07:56 PM
Here's a snipped portion of the pic in Jentz' book
MAR 15, 2011 - 09:50 PM
Thank you Roy.
MAR 15, 2011 - 11:09 PM