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M5A1 Detailing/Update Set

Legend of Korea


S u m m a r y

Stock Number and Description Legend 1/35 Scale Kit No. LF1021; M5A1 Detailing/Update Set (Including a crew for the Tamiya M5A1)
Media and Contents: 61 parts in light cream coloured resin
Price: MSRP USD$31.95
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Does the "heavy lifting" in fixing the awful Tamiya M5A1 hull; provides suitable kit and stowage for a "instant diorama" look to the model
Disadvantages: No directions; one photo of finished model pretty slim to go on; "crew" is only one figure' no etched brass parts included forces modeler to buy them separately; hull corrections correct nothing!
Recommendation: Not Recommended as a Correction Set. Will be useful to anyone who wants some bits to fit on old Tamiya kit


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

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F i r s t L o o k


As anyone who has read in-depth or correction articles on the ancient (1975) Tamiya M5A1 light tank kits knows, Tamiya really bolloxed up the hull and some of the details on this model. Fixing them is not easy or pleasant, so most modelers usually accept it as is without even making an effort to fix its problems.

Alas, this recent kit by Legend of Korea corrects little of the mischief with the kit, starting with a new lower hull and new engine deck and rear panel assembly which are only more detailed versions of the original wrong (4.5mmm too short) kit proportions.

The kit does provides corrected and detailed hatches as well as the missing hatch frame for the turret hatches, a new mantelet, a new glacis plate, new drive wheel rings and new rear idler mounts. Most of the rest of the kit consists of details, to include a radio set for the turret bustle, numerous packs and tarps, two US jerry cans, two .30 caliber Browning machine guns, the earlier turret mount for the AA Browning, new viewing devices, corrected hatches with padding for the hull, and many other small details.

The one figure provided is a US tanker without any accouterments and wearing a knit cap lounging next to the vehicle. While well done, I am not sure how useful he really is.

But there are no directions included, which leave the modeler to his own devices as to what are and what are not "pour plugs" on the hull parts and where to remove them, as well as how to detail the underside of the rear of the engine deck. A sandbag and track glacis upgrade is provided as a single part, but it will take careful cutting and trimming as it was combined into one big mass.

Missing from this kit is any sort of etched brass or more importantly individual grouser bars. That latter omission is a problem, as it means the kit parts must be used or the modeler has to seek out another add-on kit. There are several kits of brass available, but as there are no directions, the modeler has no idea what the manufacturer recommended for fitting to his kit (both Airwaves and Eduard make sets for the M5A1, among other companies.)

I first thought this kit fixed the two main problems in the Tamiya kit, but a short discussion with Steve Zaloga and careful comparisons with my own scratchbuilt corrected hull shows that it is only a "pretty" version of the stock kit. This is a shame, for it is not a good deal just to get a few decent parts but leave the original mistakes in place. Hopefully Academy will do it right and allow us to consign the Tamiya kit and poor efforts like this to the dustheap.

Cookie Sewell

Review Copyright 2003 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 11 May, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003

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