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M3/M5/M8 Stuart Vertical Volute Spring Suspension

AFV Club


S u m m a r y

Stock Number and Description AFV Club 1/35 Scale Kit No. 35056; US Light Tank M3/M5/M8 Stuart Vertical Volute Spring Suspension
Media and Contents: 225 parts (221 in olive drab styrene, 4 black vinyl keepers)
Price: MSRP USD$12.00-$17.00
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: FINALLY fixes most major problems with US light tank suspensions; no "trick" parts such as working suspension; choice of two different styles of wheels included; also includes basic hull replacement parts
Disadvantages: It took a long time for someone to "get it right"
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all US light tank kits (except AFV Club's which come with this set!)


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

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F i r s t L o o k


One of the miseries of having a love affair with US light tanks over the years has been the fact that the only kits available –Tamiya's M3, M5A1, and M8, and now the Academy M3 and M3A1 – all suffered from bad suspensions and other detail failings. AFV Club solved the track problems about 18 months ago with their excellent if tricky-to-assemble T16 and T36E3 track sets for these tanks. Now, on the heels of their beautiful M3A3 kit, they have released the suspension components as a separate kit.

This suspension fix should be the heart of any upgrade or change to the other kits, as both lines have a number of failings. Tamiya's suspension is essentially correct but comes with poor drivers, heavy details and a totally wrong idler mount; Academy's changed the angles of the bogies to fix ride height and messed up the proportions, as well as skimped on the details.

Each bogie now consists of eight neatly detailed parts, with a choice of either the early "spoke" wheels or the later "covered" wheels. The idlers now boast nine parts each, with a separate spring assembly and axle for the idler itself. The drive wheels have vinyl caps inside so unlike their Tamiya equivalents, they rotate, which makes fitting single-link track sets much easier. Separate fittings come in the kit to allow the new set to fit on either Tamiya or Academy hulls, which is a great thing for the modeler and shows that AFV Club was alert on this one.

Parts are also included on the sprues to upgrade the details on the other kits, such as separate viewers, the grenade launcher Enfield rifle stocks for Commonwealth vehicles, a new hull bow and a new stern plate with separate doors.

Overall this kit is one of the biggest bargains going, and barring anything better coming out, I would not be surprised if it won Best New Plastic Accessory Kit at AMPS 2004.

Cookie Sewell

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

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