Renault may be better known for things like this and this, but it’s a little-known fact that they’re also the inventors of the modern tank. The tank was first used by the British Army in the First World War, but it was horrendously slow, unreliable and a magnet for unwanted attention. Renault took the idea and simplified it, creating a vehicle that was much lighter, more reliable, and featured a fully-armoured 360-degree rotating turret.
The Renault FT-17 could also be operated by a few of just two, and it thus became a phenomenally successful design. Around 3,000 units were produced in France (mostly in 1918), whilst another 950 were built under license in the United States. Twenty-seven countries/revolutionary armies used the FT-17 over the next thirty years and the design fought in almost a dozen separate wars, which probably says as much about mankind’s propensity for war as it does the brilliance of the FT-17.
This beautiful Lego replica of the Renault FT-17 has been built by TLCB regular Sariel, who has recreated the world’s first light tank in glorious detail. Inside the stunningly accurate shell are three Power Functions motors, a Micro Motor, and a third-party SBrick programmable bluetooth control brick. Each track is suspended via oscillating bogies and powered by an individual Medium Motor, a third Medium Motor rotates the gun turret, whilst the Micro Motor powers the gun barrel elevation.
It all works perfectly, as demonstrated in the excellent video below, and you can see all the photos and read more about the build at the Eurobricks discussion forum and via Sariel’s Renault FT-17 Flickr album by clicking here.