1/35 scale M3A3 is available online from Squadron.com
The M3A3 was a transitional tank between the M2 and successor M3 tanks with
air-cooled engines and vertical armor plates and the M5 series with twin V-8
engines and sloped armor plate. It combined an M3 lower hull with a sloped armor
hull and an improved design of rolled armor plate turret with a bustle
originally designed to house a British No. 19 wireless set. While the US Army
soon decided to switch to the twin engine arrangement with automatic
transmission, it did decide the turret design of the M3A3 was superior to the
M3A1/M5 turret and adopted it for the M5A1 series. 3,427 were built between
September 1942 and September 1943; 2,045 went to the UK or Commonwealth forces,
and 1,277 to other nations such as the Free French and China.
Up to now the only way to get an M3A3 – also known as the Stuart Mk. V to the
British – was to convert a Tamiya M3 with a new turret or M5A1 turret and a
resin or scratchbuilt hull. AFV Club has now solved the problem and provides one
of the most complete kits for making this attractive vehicle possible for a
The kit provides all of the basic parts for the M3A3 plus the optional
Commonwealth fittings and stowage bin. Brass grilles are included for the engine
as well as for the stowage bin basket, and a turned aluminum gun barrel is also
provided. Three nicely done M1919A4 machine guns come with the kit, including
the "rocker" mount for the AA one.
Some interior parts are included such as a complete gun breech and SCR-508 radio
set for the turret bustle (oddly no No. 19 set – the original "occupant" - is
provided). Hatches are all detailed with separate viewers and viewer mounts.
Details about, and for the first time in my memory even the "gear" detail of the
turret race is provided as part of the hull detail.
The kit also provides 24 links of T16 track from the earlier separate track set
as well as – for the first time for these vehicles – separate grouser bars, each
consisting of two parts. Extra grouser racks are provided for the
UK/Commonwealth versions, as well as "clean" parts for the others.
Seven different decal options are provided: two Free French, two 1st Chinese
Provisional Tank Group, Yugoslavian 1st Tank Brigade, and two British Army
tanks. The decal sheet seems more complete than usual, which should make most
Most parts and "leftovers" are easily identified, but there was a second
aluminum part which stumped me. I thought at first it was the British
"Littlejohn" adapter for taperbore style ammunition and increased performance,
but it is far too short and small. I eventually found out what it was – the
mount for the AA machine gun (H2) on the side of the turret. This is called out
in the directions but is not listed or identified in the parts sheet.
Overall this is a truly magnificent kit, and hopefully it sells well. AFV Club
have done a great job on it, and hopefully will also consider an M5/M5A1!
Steve Palffy's construction review of this kit
elsewhere on HyperScale
Review Copyright © 2003 by Cookie
Page Created 20 April, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003
Back to HyperScale
Back to Reviews