Renault FT-17 TSF

Published on
May 27, 2014
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Base Kit
Company: Hauler - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hauler - Website: Visit Site
Packaging Box & Label

Renault FT-17 TSF Background

This Hauler conversion kit for MENG's 1/35 scale French FT-17 Light Tank (Cast Turret) kit, #TS-008, modifies it into a Renault FT-17 TSF Command Radio version.

The Renault Char signal, or TSF (télégraphie sans fil - wireless, in English), is a command tank with a radio. The FT-17 turret was replaced by a box-like superstructure, giving room for a crew of three: driver, radio operator and observer. The vehicle was equipped with a code-only wireless radio, and featured a wire antenna hung between a mast mounted on the superstructure and the vehicle’s tail. They were unarmed, used for coordinating assaults, and keeping contact with high command while deep behind enemy lines. During WWI, 188 TSFs were produced.

Kit Contents

The kit comes packed in a small cardboard box. The resin and photoetch pieces are packaged in separate plastic bags, while the large turret casting is loose in the box. The casting for the turret is one large solid block of resin with a large casting block on the bottom. The kit includes 56 photoetch pieces, 13 resin pieces, and 15 resin rivets, although some parts were missing.

Several of the rivets were missing from the casting block and were nowhere to be found. The resin parts labeled R5 had broken off the casting block and weren't to be found in the bag or in the box. Also, one of the resin grab iron pieces had broken off the casting block, escaped the plastic bag, and was loose in the box.


Assembly of the TSF will differ from MENG’s FT-17 instructions during several of the steps. In step #9 of the assembly, do not install the plastic straps, parts C18, C19, and D3. These will be replaced by photoetch from the Hauler kit. The Hauler straps for the spare masts on the side of the tank, parts PE13 and PE 14, have nice detail, with a tongue on the buckle that can be inserted in one of the holes in the strap.

The Hauler conversion can be installed after step #18 of the MENG assembly sequence. Removing the large casting block on the underside of the Hauler turret is the only challenge with assembly. I used a razor saw, jeweler’s saw, and sandpaper laid flat on the bench to smooth the underside.

Hauler provides two options for the pulleys on top of the antenna masts. The first is built up with layers of photoetch, and the second uses a resin pulley between photoetch brackets. I tried both options and found using the resin pulley to be less aggravating while also providing a better-looking finished product.

I installed the turret plates, parts PE5, to the octagonal turret before installing the top piece, part PE4. After installing the plates, I sanded down the top of the turret to make sure there was a flat surface for part PE4. The top of the turret, Meng kit part G18, fits nicely on top of the Hauler top piece. The bottom plate, part PE9, fits nicely between the rivets on the resin turret. Make sure to align the four rivets on kit part G18 towards the front of the tank. Finally, before installing the Hauler turret to the top of the tank, scrape off the rivets on the top of the tank.

Resin part R5 was missing from the kit, so I used a small piece of brass tubing. I carefully removed the hook, resin part R3, from the casting block by scribing the attachment point with an X-Acto knife, as show in a photo below. The instructions show the hook being installed in a hole in the brackets, part P6, but I was not able to do this, so I reversed the direction of the hook. The kit calls for wire for the antenna cable, which is not supplied. I used some elastic EZ Line thread to keep the line taut.

The kit provides two options for the antenna bracket cross brace, parts PE1 and PE2, without explaining the difference between them. There are several leather straps left over that are available for the spares box. The kit provides a strip of rivet heads, without calling out specific locations, so those are also available for future use.


This is a nice conversion of the MENG FT-17 cast turret version of the tank into the TSF command radio version. The resin is nicely cast with great detail, and the photoetch parts add further detail to the kit. Overall, it’s a nice conversion kit that will build into a unique version of the Renault FT-17 tank. Hauler has done a nice job with this conversion set.

Thanks to Hauler, who has graciously provided the review sample. Thanks also to IPMS/USA for letting me do the review.


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