The Renault UE caterpillar was the most produced armoured vehicle of the French Army before June 1940. Approximately 6,000 were produced and were used as a transporter or as a tractor for an anti-tank gun. This vehicle designed for the supply in first line and wasn't fitted with any armament.
The German Army made great use of this machine, because it did not have this type of armoured vehicle. The Luftwaffe in particular used it as a towing vehicle on many airfields.
The packaging is, of course for such a "confidential" resin kit, not comparable to the one of a mainstream injected model: no cover artwork, no side views of the model, no reference number... just a plain white cardboard box (picture 1). Anyway, the protection was effective as I found no damaged pieces in my sample, probably thanks to the individual plastic bags for the resin parts (picture 2). The kit is made of one solid piece for the tractor, three "sprues" for the tracks, one wafer for the detail parts and some additional parts for the 1000kg bomb sled.
The tractor's body is a very nice grey resin casting that will only need minimal clean up on the underside (picture 3). There are some very small bubbles here and there but they are virtually microscopic and will disappear under a coat or two of paint. All the detail parts are crisply done and what couldn't be fitted on the main body for moulding reasons is located on the resin wafer (picture 4). The latter includes four mudguards, a stowage rack, a small box, a cable, a hook and two mechanics (picture 5) which are meant to fit in the tractor's round openings. The tracks (picture 6) are made of separate pieces and look convincing. The resin is flexible so assembling them shouldn't be too difficult, more especially as a precise assembly drawing is present in the instructions which shows the part's location precisely. The last bag contains the pieces that make this kit suitable for a Luftwaffe diorama: a wooden sled and a 1000kg bomb (picture 7).
The instructions are basic - but the kit is pretty simple, so I don't expect any problems here. In fact, I think the model can be assembled within an hour! For the colors it's another story as no painting guide is provided. But it seems that most of the UE tractors were painted grey, some having German crosses and white markings (see B&W picture taken from the book Luftwaffe Airfield Equipment by J. Dressel and M. Griehl). Check the web for references or let your imagination wander.
WSW's Renault UE is a neat little kit which will look great near a 1/48 scale German He 111 or Ju 88 bomber. There is nothing wrong with this excellent model, so only the price is likely to obstruct the average builder, but one shouldn't forget this is a hand-crafted resin kit. I recommend it to everyone wanting to add and original (and French!) vehicle into a Luftwaffe diorama.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here on AeroScale.
Aircraft related vehicles are hard to find in 1/48 scale. The choice is limited in injected plastic, so if you want something original, you have to scan the internet for alternatives. Fortunately, there are a lot of exotic resin manufacturers who produce very interesting kits. The Renault UE by WSW is one of them.