Jesús Dapena is a long time collaborator of mine due to a shared interest in the Rif Wars. I previously posted his photos of Renault FT-17 Tanks in the Rif War (from his “Uncle Cipri”) and subsequently his 1/16th model of Uncle Cipri’s FT-17 with a Turtle mascot. Here is the second tank in the series: “INFANTERIA No. 4”, the one with the Elephant mascot. All words are by Jesús. You can see more images in his video: The Renault FT Tank in Spanish Army Service (Northern Morocco, ca. 1924) [YouTube].
Cipri’s Service Record
Since we last corresponded, I managed to get a hold of Cipri’s Service Record in the Spanish Army. After recovering from the leg wound suffered as a machine gunner in the western war zone of Morocco in 1921, Cipri was stationed at various locations in Spain. In October of 1923, he took a tank course, and in December he was sent to the eastern war zone of Morocco for a period of 6 months. There, he commanded one of the two secciones of FT-17s. In May of 1924, due to the absence of the Captain who commanded the company (the two secciones), Cipri was put temporarily in charge of the entire tank company. So for a brief period of time, Cipri was in charge of all of Spain’s FT-17 tanks! Cipri took part in major operations in Tizzi Assa (March, 1924) and Sidi Mesaud (May, 1924). In June of 1924, he was rotated out, and was sent back to Spain.
From the Service Record, I also found out that Cipri was not always the machine gunner/commander of the tank with the turtle mascot (tank #8); for some time, he was the machine gunner/commander of the tank with the elephant mascot (tank #4). So it turns out that Cipri was at one time or another in BOTH of the tanks that I have constructed!
[Copied from the previous post: Jesús Dapenas paints a Spanish FT-17 for service in the Rif].
The second tank, which I am starting now, will be the tank with the elephant mascot. That second tank will have all possible trapdoors open so that you can see the inside of the crew compartment and of the engine.
My question to you is, what do you think the elephant is holding in his hands? (I attach an enhanced and greatly magnified version of this elephant mascot.)
Here is my interpretation of the fuzzy elephant mascot. It will be tiny on the tank, of course.
The elephant mascot tank does not seem to have the black bands —or at least it seems to have fewer of them. Cipri said that this tank had almost been burned up by the moors. I wonder if heat decomposed part of its color scheme! I still have not figured out how I am going to paint it … but I have months to make a decision!
I finally completed the “elephant” tank, and I attach some photos.
You may recall that this was supposed to be the tank that would show its insides, but as you can see, all trapdoors are completely shut at this point. I like the tank so much in its “all-shut” form that I can’t bring myself to glue all the trapdoors permanently in the open positions! Think of a Lamborghini with all passenger doors open, and raised trunk hatch and hood. It would kill all the aesthetics! I feel the same way about this tank.
My plan is to make a Youtube video with the two tanks (“turtle” and “elephant”), and there the elephant tank will be shown both with closed and open hatches. But I don’t want to repeat the operation of opening and closing the hatches too many times, because it tends to damage some of the paint job, which in turn requires some touch-up every time. I will send you pictures of the inside at the next opportunity when the trapdoors are all open.
I finally finished my two tank projects. I attach 3 pictures of each tank. You will notice that I constructed “grounds” for the two models. My original plan was to put a simple brownish mat under each tank, but then I saw some fancier approaches on Youtube, and I got a little bit more ambitious. I am pretty happy with the final results.
I have uploaded to YouTube a video, which shows more photos of the completed models, as well as photos of the interior of the tank while I was constructing it: The Renault FT Tank in Spanish Army Service (Northern Morocco, ca. 1924) [YouTube] (It’s so hard to see inside the completed tank, because it’s so dark in there!)