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In-Box Review
Somua S35
Tamiya Somua S53 French Medium Tank
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]

Originally published on:


Tamiya have recently released another addition to their range of French armour, this time in the form of the Somua S35. This will be a welcome addition to modellers. The tank was produced from 1936 to 1940, it was armed with a 47mm SA35 gun and after the fall of France in 1940 about 300 captured vehicles were incorporated into the German Army.

The Kit

The kit comes packed in the standard Tamiya boxed format with the manufacturer and product detail on the top of the box and a colour image of the kit. The instructions are in expanded diagram format normally used by Tamiya consisting of 12 pages. Added to this is a 4 page colour pull out, Background Information covering the Development of the Somua S35 and a short text on the Somua in Action. On the reverse are colour pictures of suggested marking schemes and decal options for 3 vehicles plus some data on colour schemes.

The kit is contained on five sprues, about 190 parts, the parts being made of a light sandy coloured plastic.

A x 2 contains the road wheels and suspension
B the upper and lower hull and side parts for same.
C contains more suspension parts and side armour
P contains the turret parts along with a single commander figure.
G contains some clear plastic parts, lights and periscope.

There is one bag of individual link parts for the track. These snap together at a ratio of 102 links preside, so a little patience will be required there. A length of tow chain is provided for the finished build. Eight black polycaps come with the kit for the road wheels and to affix the upper and lower hulls. A sheet of decals for 3 finished is also provided.

The detail on the part looks very good, the armour has a nice texture to it, everything looks sharp and crisp and the build itself looks straightforward.

The kit has the right shape and feel for the tank. OOB this should build up into a very good representation of the vehicle. There are hatches on the side of the turret, side rear engine panels and one leading to the hull interior on the left hand side so for the more adventurous some options to build and display part of the interior exist. That said not all have internal detail.

The tracks come ready to build, little clean up should be required and the clip into each other easily enough. The bogies which could have been complicated look well planned out so assembly shouldnít be a problem.

Overall this appears to be a cracking kit, with clear instructions, excellent detail and a straightforward build sequence. Tamiya provide a commander to sit on the open turret hatch outside the tank which helps add scale to the vehicle.

Three decal options are provided:
No 56, 18th Dragoon Regiment
No 42, 13th Dragoon Regiment
No 20, 4th Cuirassier Regiment


This appears to be another fine kit from Tamiya. I am no expert on this vehicle and have limited knowledge of it, but from what Iíve read and seen this appear to be a fine kit. There are already a number of AM products on the market for those who require more detail.

As a standalone build or incorporated in to a larger scene this should make for an acceptable representation of the tank. I would think it would also be a fun build, with some neat finish options available.

Like most Tamiya kits this should be a pleasure to build and suitable for all to build.
Highs: Nice sharp detail and textured armour.
Lows: None I can think of.
Verdict: Highly Recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35344
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 23, 2015

Our Thanks to Tamiya, Inc.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2020 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Thank you for the comprehensive review, Alan. I have my kit on order and am eager to get going on it--especially after this review and photos.
JUL 22, 2015 - 10:35 PM
Hi Guys, I have the kit and there is only real error (I know there some folks really reworking the hull): one of the decals for the 4th Curassiers is backwards. According the 2nd Trackstory book on the S-35, the shields on both sides should face forward. The decal sheet only gives forward-facing shields for the driver's side of the tank Regards, Georg
JUL 23, 2015 - 03:07 AM
That's a very good question.[/quote] Hi Timothy, because no kit is perfect and if you give 100% or 87% someone will always complain about something and then you are accused of rating it too highly. Also I am not a Somua expert, I am simply looking at the kit from an average modellers point of view. Remember the review is simply my opinion; others may disagree for example I really like the separate track links, others might say well these are to fiddily to work with. Horses for courses. Al
JUL 23, 2015 - 09:30 AM
Nice review, Al. With Georg's AM decals, modelers can render quite a few interesting versions. Some Beutepanzer decals for captured vehicles would be a welcome addition I should think.
JUL 23, 2015 - 09:05 PM
Hi Bill, The alternative decals will be useful and I believe there are already some AM sets around if people want to use them. Wouldn't surprise me if Tamyia did a Beutepanzer release at some point. Al
JUL 23, 2015 - 09:43 PM
Yes, I expect they will have announced a Beutepanzer version before the year is out,
JUL 24, 2015 - 12:27 AM
I assume the German version will have a modified cupola?
JUL 24, 2015 - 10:12 PM
Alan: I've read your answer, still don't understand where that number came from. Methinks 87 is low enough you might scare some people away, and I hope that doesn't happen. I'm actually building mine now and its almost scary how well it falls together and how good it looks. I can't wait to start painting it.
AUG 11, 2015 - 05:09 PM
Hi Bill, If the kit is Highly Recommended then the percentage doesn't really matter. It's simply my opinion. What would have upped the score for me would have been a breech for the gun plus some basic interior turret detail and a basic drivers seat as many of the hatches can be modelled open, but there is just empty space. Others probably don't care one way or another which is fine. Al
AUG 11, 2015 - 07:35 PM

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