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M3A3 Stuart Mk.V

 

AFV Club

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number and Description AFV Club 1/35 Scale Kit No. 35053; US M3A3 Light Tank Stuart
Media and Contents: 381 parts (297 297 in light olive styrene, 72 in black styrene, 4 black vinyl keepers, 3 etched brass grilles, 2 turned aluminum barrel sections, 2 black vinyl tracks, 1 length of nylon string)
Price: MSRP USD$33.00 - $40.00 (USD$35.97 from Squadron.com)
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: First kit of this version in styrene; excellent moldings and details with good parts breaks for anyone wanting aftermarket interior sets; nicely done vinyl tracks; virtually complete kit as is
Disadvantages: M3A3 is essentially a non-American version, may hurt sales
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all light tank fans and fans of Commonwealth armour and small armies

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


AFV Club's 1/35 scale M3A3 is available online from Squadron.com

 

F i r s t L o o k

 

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 reasonable price.

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 people happy.

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!

Highly Recommended

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Also see Steve Palffy's construction review of this kit elsewhere on HyperScale


Review Copyright 2003 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 20 April, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003

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