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Renault UE 2 Tractor and UK 2 Trailer

Tamiya , 1/35 scale

by Steve Zaloga

Tamiya's 1/35 scale UE-2 Tractor will available online from Mission Models


Tamiya's announcement this past spring of their forthcoming UE kit in 1/35th scale was a bit of a surprise. It's often forgotten that the UE was the most widely built armored vehicle in western Europe in the 1939-40 period. Still, it's a quirky choice and I certainly would have rather seen a Renault R-35 or Somua S-35. But I'd rather see a UE than another Hetzer (which is Tamiya's next boring release).


The UE kit is quite small, about the size of a jeep and trailer. Tamiya has filled out the box with a couple of infantry figures and some generic stores for the trailer. The UE kit is typical Tamiya in quality and engineering, though probably closer in style and assembly to their 1/48th scale kits than their 1/35th scale kits. After taking a lot of flak for the lousy tracks on their 1/48th scale Universal Carrier, Tamiya has done these tracks the proper way in link-and-length styrene, much like their 1/48th scale tank kits. No interior is provided for the kit, though if the kit is built with the domes open and hatches closed, there isn't much to be seen anyways.


The kit provides parts for three variants of the UE, the UE 3rd and 4th production series and the UE 2. The UE 4th production series and UE 2 are the most common UE variants (the 3rd production series is rare). The decal choices are for three French vehicles, nary a Wehrmacht license plate to be seen.

The kit has a fair number of small detail omissions and simplifications. This consists mostly of missing rivets, and simplifcations of some tiny details such as clasps on hatches. Some small detail such as the depiction of the sheet metal gussets on the dump bucket and the A frame of the trailer are a bit heavy and are relatively difficult to correct. I suspect we will see some aftermarket PE eventually. For anyone wanting to super-detail this kit, Pascal Danjou's Focus 1 on the UE tractor is invaluable with excellent detail photos. I added a partial interior using the old Ironside aftermarket set, originally aimed at the old RPM kit. My stowage comes mostly from the Blast resin set for the T-34-85. Overall, the kit engineering and fit are excellent. I had some minor problems with the tracks which are a teenie bit long.


The two crew figures come as upper torsos only, and I used one but withe a replacement Hornet head. The infantry figures are typical of Tamiya and are short, scrawny and not well sculpted. The small details such as the rifles, musette bags and canteen are excellent, also typical of Tamiya figures which tend to have superb accessories even when the figures are mediocre. It took about two evenings of work to clean up the infantry figure I used, and I replaced the head with a Hornet head. The standing crew figure here in my vignette is from Blast with a Hornet head. I also added a 25mm SA 34 anti-tank gun, heavily rebuilt from the old Heller kit.


In summary, the kit was a pleasure to build and went together very well with minimal problems. This project will appear in more detail in a future issue of Military Modelling along with historical photos and notes.

Model, Images and Text by Steven J Zaloga
Page Created 29 July, 2006
Page Last Updated 29 July, 2007