French FCM 36 tanks

During the Battle of France (May-June 1940), there was an amazing variety of vehicles on both the German and the French sides.  At this same time last year, I began putting together a collection of period 15mm/1:100 scale vehicles for this period.  These were discussed here.  I have previously posted about a couple of games (December 2018 and January 2019) that I ran using the What a Tanker™ rules from the UK’s Too Fat Lardies.  I have been hoping to return to this period and add more vehicles to both armies.  I am starting this augmentation by adding 3 FCM 36 light tanks to my fleet.

The FCM stands for Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, a shipbuilder in Toulon who manufactured this 1936 design – and delivered about 100 to the French Army up through 1938.  Cost and industrial manufacturing concerns limited further purchases.  They were a little more than 12 tons, with a crew of two.  The armor was fairly good – welded, and very sloped for tanks of the day.  It also had a diesel engine and reasonable range unlike many other contemporary French tanks.  However, like many other French tanks, it was armed with the weak Puteaux SA 18 37mm gun which definitely had challenges fighting German armor.  Notably, two battalions of FCM 36’s tried to repel the bridgehead that the Heinz Guderian had established across the Meuse, but they were too little and too late.  After the surrender of France, some of the FCM 36 chassis were converted to Marder I’s or self-propelled artillery.  Some of these conversions were involved in the Normandy Campaign of 1944.  Today, only one FCM 36 survives at Saumur.

I thought these would be a good addition to my French early-war tank collection.  In What a Tanker™, these are the cheapest tanks to buy point-wise.  The only source I found for these models was Old Glory.  They are metal, and quite small of course.

1 FCM 36 in package
The 3 FCM 36’s in the baggie.
2 FCM 36 before filing
I did need to do a bit of filing and cleanup of extraneous molding material and molding lines as you see here.  Yes, these are small!
3 FCM 36 before filing showing turrets pins
The turrets had a small molded pin for mounting on the molded hole on the chassis.  I needed to slightly elevate the turret or the underlying paint on the chassis would be worn off, even with a good varnishing.  I decided to drill out the pins and the holes with a 1/8″ drill bit.  I then used green stuff to fill in underneath the hollow chassis between the tracks and provide a “floor” for the magnets.  The magnets were put in place with Gorilla Glue in the chassis and the turrets.
4 FCM 36 after priming and base coat
You can see here my hodge-podge mounting scheme of the FCM 36’s for painting.  I used a 1/4″ square dowel and poster tack to mount the chassis for painting.  I primed these, and the used a German green-brown as a base coat.  This shot here is after the first camouflage color (blue green) was applied with my Iwata Micron airbrush.  Also, I only put the turrets on a tank when I am painting camouflage patterns.
5 FCM 36 after priming and base coat and more camo
Next, I applied the third color (brown) to the camouflage pattern.
6 Turrets after decal but before varnish
When I paint turrets, I find this helpful (as the magnets in the turrets hold the turrets to the magnets on the washers).  Also, I can easily apply the decals this way, and airbrush on the final two coats of matte varnish.

Lastly, I thought I’d share some group and individual shots and a bit about their debut on the tabletop the day after they were completed.

 

12 FCM top view
Top view showing the sloped octagonal turrets.

 

7 FCM 36 left sides
Left side of the FCM 36’s.
8 FCM 36 frontal armor view
Frontal view.

 

I used a blue diamond, a red heart, and a red club as decals which would also help identify these as different individual tanks on the tabletop.  From my research, FCM’s did not seem to have as many markings historically as other French tanks.

As stated above, these made their game debut this weekend at the December session of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

13 First FCM 36 roll
My buddy Mike Morgan was on the French side, and chose the blue diamond FCM 36 as his tank.  He then rolled a perfect roll of 6 sixes!  The odds on that were 0.01286%!
14 FCM 36 Blue Diamond moves onto the board
Mike’s FCM 36 moves on the road.
15 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with a StuGA
His FCM 36 was stalked by a StuG A (player Chris), which kept missing it.
16 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with a StuGA, misses
Mike successfully maneuvered his tank to the German’s side, and shot point blank.  The dice deserted him as the StuG A took only minor damage.
17 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with two StuGA, who miss it
Smelling an easy kill, the Germans (Chris’s teammate Christine) brought up a second StuG A in the hunt.  It also missed the FCM 36.  Note – as there were only 15 StuG A’s in the German invasion force across France, this would have been highly unlikely!
18 Now the Panzer IIIE joins the fight
Then the Germans brought up even more to the hunt with a Panzer IIIE…
19 Panzer IIIE brews up FCM 36
And Mike’s plucky FCM 36’s luck finally wore out with the Panzer IIIE (Christine) knocking it out.

On the other side of the table, Mike’s teammate Tom managed to kill Christine’s Panzer 38(t) with a SOMUA S-35.  Mike got another FCM 36, and that was killed by Christine’s teammate Chris’s StuG A (in the shot below on the left).  Mike replaced his lost tank with an R35.  Tom drove his SOMUA around the building but frustratingly could not take a point-blank shot at the Panzer IIIE (as his dice roll failed him).  Mike had to leave, and my wife Lynn (no gamer just watching) took over the R35.  Lynn drove the tank to the side of Christine’s Panzer IIIE, and rolled three critical hits – and Christine failed to block any.  This knocked out the Panzer IIIE!

20 R35 avenges the FCM 36 after SOMUA misses
Lynn’s R35 avenges the burning FCM 36 (on right) by knocking out the Panzer IIIE.
21 Lynn is happy
Happy wife, happy life!  Tom and Lynn are all smiles here.
22 SOMUA is hit in rear by StuG A
In a final act, Christine maneuvered her remaining StuG A for a rear shot on Tom’s SOMUA S-35.  She successfully knocked out the SOMUA.

That ended the game, with the French winning a very narrow victory 32-31.  If Lynn had not rolled so well in killing the Panzer IIIE, the Germans would have won.  Thanks to the players for a great and fun game!

I have plans for more French and German tanks for this scenario.  I hope that you enjoyed this post, and feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with me in the comments section!  I have been behind on my blogging efforts and hope that I can share more with you soon!  Thanks for taking a look!

Also, as these were mostly done in November, I would add them as my contribution to Azazel’s MechaNovember painting challenge!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE VEHICLES:

  1. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  2. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. Poster tack and ¼” square wooden dowels on plastic plates
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  9. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Blue”
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  11. Battlefront “Black”
  12. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust” (wash)
  15. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Satin” (varnish)
  17. Microscale Micro-Set
  18. Microscale Micro-Sol
  19. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  20. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  21. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  22. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  23. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (shade)
  24. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  26. Vallejo “Pigment Binder” (pigment)
  27. Vallejo Weathering Effects “European Splash Mud”
  28. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

 

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

16 thoughts on “French FCM 36 tanks”

    1. Thanks Dave. The camo pattern on these was different from my other French tanks as I used one I saw on an FCM 36 in the Tank Encyclopedia. The camo pattern on the surviving one at Saumur is still different, but I thought I could pull this off easier given the sizes if these babies.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Love the work on the little tanks Mark along with your military knowledge and precision in keeping notes on everything you do. I wish I had that discipline to record colour mixes, it would safe a lot of work and time in the end. The game looked fun but I reckon 6 sixes was the result of a loaded dice! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dave – I appreciate your noticing that. I find that it helps me a lot when going back to a similar project as I would likely never remember otherwise what exactly I did. So it does end up saving me a lot of time! Plus, one of the goals of my blogging is to provide others some ideas that they may not have thought of in terms of materials and techniques. Not that I’m a master in any way, but I learn as I go, and want to share.

      As far as the dice, I know that six sixes was a spectacular result that would be on one very far end of the bell curve (and worthy of capturing as a photo). The game subsequently saw more misses and a number of threes and snake eyes rolled with two dice, To give you an idea, in the game the big dice I showed are used for different actions. So if I use a die to shoot or move, I usually roll two other D6 to see what happens. If moving, it could be two inches to 12 inches. To shoot and hit a target, you roll two D6 and add them together – needing usually a six or better total to hit the target. There were so many misses early in the game (unlike my wife’s rolls). So the dice giveth, and the bell curve taketh away! Cheers!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great stuff again, Mark. Once I get around to compiling last year’s challenges, I’ll certainly be including these. I’m in no rush right now, but they will (eventually) still happen!
    Reading (and re-reading through the last few posts – backwards) got me thinking about priming of metals. You mentioned that you had issues with doing that – I know the weather where uou aree can make it difficult, but have you considered spray (rattle/aerosol) cans? That stuff goes on really nicely, and there are a good number of legitimate military primer colours available from Plastic Soldier Company and now Vallejo as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear. I can only imagine how much work went into compiling your painting challenges. I very much enjoyed being part of them and what you did with them.

      I actually went to priming and varnishing by airbrushing because using rattlecans in New England is limiting because of weather and I won’t do it indoors. Since I moved to airbrush applications of primer and varnish I only use that method. Now I actually have 3 airbrushes! Much easier and much better results. And my production is much higher and less complicated planning wise (ie waiting for rattlecans conditions to be right no longer gets in the way).

      Like

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