Research and investigation of the colours used on a group of WW1 Renault FT tanks

Croft, Paul, Crick-Smith, Ian, Crick-Smith, Michael and Faulding, Rachel (2013) Research and investigation of the colours used on a group of WW1 Renault FT tanks. [Artefact]

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Item Type:Artefact
Item Status:Live Archive


In 2011 Crick Smith conservation were contracted by the Weald Foundation in association with the Bovington Tank Museum to research and investigate traces of extremely degraded paint layers on the panels of two dismantled FT-­‐17 tanks used during the First World War Introduced in 1918 the Renault FT-­‐17 was the world’s first tank produced with a rotating turret and had a major impact on the success of the allied campaign at the end of WW1.
Nothing is known about the true camouflage colours used by the allies at this time and the science of effective camouflage was very much in its infancy, which was very much trial and error.
Removed samples were examined by both optical microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy to positively identify the chemical elements contained within the paint films assisting The tanks sampled had spent many years buried in concrete as fixed gun emplacements resulting in extremely degraded and denatured paint layers.
This research positively identified the colours used for the first time. Further archival research was carried out in France by an undergraduate student.
Collating both aspects of this research will allow the Tank Museum to faithfully recreate an example of the camouflage scheme in time for the centenary anniversary of the first world war in 2014 with a plan to display the vehicles in running order to the public.

Sharing the research will also assist other custodians of this type of vehicle to present them with a historically accurate appearance.

Keywords:Tanks, World War I, Paint
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K250 Conservation of Buildings
H Engineering > H330 Automotive Engineering
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:9671
Deposited On:30 May 2013 11:43

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