Renault FT-17 – Diorama

This Renault FT kit includes a base that allows to create a small diorama set near an abandoned enemy trench.

The 29th model I completed depicts a French-built Renault FT-17 tank, produced towards the end of the First World War, put in a diorama. Due to the pandemic, I took a bit to finish it, from September 2019 to November 2021.

The kit is by Meng (no. TS-011), and it depicts the riveted polygonal turreted version. You can mount as main armament either the 37 mm cannon (which I chose) or the 8 mm machine gun. For the latter, moreover, a tripod for infantry use is included.

The box contains some sand yellow styrene sprues for the vehicle and the base. Moreover there are the workable track links, two metal beams with springs for the running gear and a photo-etched sheet. The instruction manual and the decals complete the content.

The assembling is not difficult, but you need to pay a bit of attention due to the small size of the model. I suggest, for the sake of simplicity, to assemble the two running gear parts after the painting phase.


The kit includes the interiors; I decided to paint the pilot seat, leaving the doors open.


The camouflage scheme has three colors: sand yellow, green and brown. I airbrushed the sand color (Vallejo Model Air 71.075 Sand) and then I painted with a handbrush the other two (Vallejo Model Air 71.006 Light Green Chromate and Vallejo Model Color 70.872 Chocolate Brown). After that, I colored the tools and the scratch marks.

The next steps included decals, oil washes, a yellow ochre filter and the weathering with pigments and acrylic compounds.


The base included with the kit depicts an enemy trench on whose rim the tank came to a stop. It has sandbags and supports made with wood planks.

Before starting the painting phase, I used some volcanic ash, the same of this article, to give the terrain a more realistic look. After this I airbrushed some black pre-shading and several lighter and lighter layers of paint, for the light contrasts. I used Tamiya acrylics (XF-64 Red Brown, XF-52 Flat Earth and XF-57 Buff).

Then I used acrylic washes, namely Vallejo Game Color 73.202 Pale Grey and 73.200 Sepia Shade, to give everything more depth:

Finally, the last steps were some pigments, in order to further vary the colors, some garden soil to achieve even more realism and some synthetic turf.


Once I finished the base, adding the FT-17 model resulted in a small but interesting diorama.

The final composition of the scene depicts the tank that has come to a stop on the rim of an abandoned enemy trench. The doors are open (the pilot went out for an inspection?... I had to show the interiors in some way! 😉). The terrain is dry and dusty, but there is still some wet mud in the trench floor and at the bottom of a shell hole nearby.

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