Saturday, September 19

Another FCM-36 on the horizon - that's Riich!

There is a second French Light Tank FCM-36 coming to the market in 35th scale. After ICM's recent reveal of the CADs of their version, now Riich model is planning on their own version. See what's coming in our preview...

Preview: Riich Model's new 35th scale French Light Tank FCM-36
French Light Tank FCM-36
No. RV35008
1/35th scale
The second FCM-36 French light tank in 35th scale injection moulded plastic is soon to be with us - they are like busses these FCM's don't you think? We will have a look at just what this tank is all about first before we speculate on this coming model...

The FCM-36 in history:
The third FCM (Forges & Chantiers de la Méditerrannée) project to come from this factory that was previously a well-known shipbuilder of Toulon, the FCM-36 (from he name of the company and the year of make - 1936) The hull was designed and tested to deflect low-velocity shells and resist against higher-velocity ones. The zig-zagging side skirts had 30-45 degree angles, which were equivalent to 44-55 mm (1.73-2.17 in) armour thickness. However, there was a backside to this, as the design of the upper trackside skirt tunnel failed to evacuate mud correctly in trials, despite being pierced by five mud chutes.
The APX-1 turret, entirely welded, was high and angular, equipped with two side vision slits. There was also the usual rear hatch for the commander on which he sat, half outside, to look around at cruise speed. As customary, the commander was also the gunner, loader and machine-gunner.
The first SA18 gun was seen nearly obsolete at the time but the plans to upgrade the gun to the SA 38 were dropped after insufficient turret ring strength and other structural weaknesses. The Berliet diesel, a sturdy and proven truck engine, was practical and reliable, giving a 225 km (140 mi) range with just 217 litres of fuel.
Despite a staggering unit cost of 450,000 FF, well above its two main competitors, the Renault R35 and Hotchkiss H35, the Rhineland crisis compelled the government to require its acceptance in May 1936. The cost was an issue, but the model was seen as more advanced and promising than the others and a good basis for future development. The first batch of 100 was ordered & delivered on May 2, 1938, and the others followed until March 1939. Only the first 100 would see service during the French campaign.
This model, despite a modern and promising hull, was still armed with the obsolete, low-velocity "pillbox crusher" SA-18. It carried only 12 HE shells, driving the French tank crews to despair when they were hopelessly committed en masse against the German Panzerdivisions they had been never designed to match. The 100 tanks were spread between two Bataillon de Chars Légers (BCL), the 4th and 7th, each with 45 FCMs, the others being kept for training and testing. On 25, August 1939, during mobilization, the two units were dissolved and integrated in the 503e and 505e RCC (Régiment de Chars de Combat), later combined with the third BCC (equipped with H35s) into the 503e GBC (Groupement de Bataillons de Chars), the armoured reserve of the Third Army.
On 13 May 1940, news came that the Germans had secured a bridgehead on the western bank of the Meuse river near Sedan, and the 7th BCC was ordered to counterattack with the support of an infantry regiment. On the following morning, they clashed with light advanced elements of the XIXth Army Corps of Heinz Guderian. They managed to destroy these light vehicles then collided with the main advance, and were found fighting Panzer IIIs. Some of latter were still equipped with the feeble 37 mm (1.46 in) and failed to penetrate the armour of the FCMs. At the same time, the weak SA-18 was completely inadequate even against their 30 mm (1.18 in) of armour.
After the fall of France, the Germans captured 37 FCMs in various conditions. They were overhauled, repaired and stockpiled for other uses. Such a use came in 1943 with the need for new Marder platforms. Under the designation of Panzerkampfwagen 737 FCM (f), ten of these vehicles were rebuilt with a new casemate, housing a 75 mm (2.95 in) Pak 40, employed by the 21st Panzerdivision in the Battle of Normandy, summer 1944. Twelve others were rebuilt as the 10.5 cm leFH 16/18 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen FCM (f), which also seen action in Normandy. The only surviving FCM 36 is now displayed at the Saumur museum, in full running condition.
This new kit from Riich Model:
Well it is official - we really don't know much about this kit as of yet - We do know that both ICM and Riich must know of each other's intentions, do hopefully the game of both companies will be good - we, the consumers will hopefully be the winners.
You can find out more about Riich Model's kits on their website