Our First World War Renault FT light tank, is widely and inaccurately referred to as a Renault FT17. Due to no intact examples of the Renault FT being available we endeavoured to piece together the hull and turret. The hull design consists of plates and angle iron. The gathering together of the hull panels required a considerable period of time as many of the panels were either missing or in very bad shape given the original poor quality of the steel and subsequent exposure to the elements since the First World War. We were unable to secure a complete hull and were therefore in the hands of the dealer community to source the panels. Once this process had ended the plates were eventually laid out as a giant jigsaw puzzle to enable us to photograph and identify each component and provide a lasting resource for the research effort to come. The hull and related components thereafter languished in a far corner of our sheds for many years before we began to address the issue of restoration.
To begin the work, an assessment of the hull plates was carried out. Except for the floor and framework, the plates appeared to have been remarkably well preserved. There had been some corrosion to the plates, obliterating the camouflage scheme. Although a partial outline of the registration number was found on the front plate. However, closer examination of the plates revealed more extensive damage.
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