Tamiya M3 Stuart Late Production
First Look Review
Introduction: Tamiya introduced an M3 Stuart in 1974. At that time, it was the only game in town and I must say fairly well detailed. However, it represented the diesel version of the M3 Stuart so aftermarket companies like Verlinden made resin update sets which included parts for the gas powered version. Fast forward about 30 years to the Academy offering of the M3 Stuart Honey and M3A1 Stuarts. Again, the aftermarket companies had a field day offering update sets which addressed some of the shortcomings of these kits. When Tamiya announced they were bringing out an M3 Stuart I saw several postings which asked if this was just a re-release of the 1974 kit. I can say this isn’t a rehash of the 1974 kit. This is an entirely new kit using the latest in Tamiya technology.
What’s in the Box: This kit contains four OD plastic sprues, one plastic clear sprue, four poly-caps, one length of nylon string, one sheet, two lengths of vinyl track, ten pages of instructions and one reference booklet. The molding details on this model are excellent and in some cases very delicate.
A Sprues (2), Suspension and hull details
B Sprue, Upper hull and turret
C Sprue, Clear parts
D Sprue, Lower hull and detail parts
There are markings for three vehicle provided with this kit. These include one US Army and two Red Army units. The decals appear to be a bit thick so we’ll need to see how they go down on the model.
Aftermarket upgrades: This kit is so new there are currently no specific aftermarket upgrades available. I may replace the 37 mm main gun barrel with a barrel from RB Model (35B24) and the .30 cal barrels with barrels from RB Model (35B82). However, the kit provided barrels looks very good and may work just fine. Likewise, I may replace the kit vinyl track with AFV Club T-16 Stuart track (AFV35019), but it’s a bit early to make this decision.
Stuart U.S Light Tank in Action, Steve Zaloga, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1979.
The Stuart Light Tanks Series, Bryab Perrett, Vanguard 17, Osprey Publishing, 1980.
Stuart A History of the American Light Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt, Presidio Press, 1992.
M3 Stuart, Andrzej Chojnacki, Wydrawnictwo Militaria, 1997.
US Light Tanks at War 1941-45, Steven J. Zaloga, Concord Publications Company, 2001.
Tanks Detail M3-M3A1-M3A3, Jonathan Forty, Ian Allen Publishing, 2002.
Modelling the M3/M5 Stuart Light Tank, Steven J. Zaloga, Osprey Publishing, 2003.
Allied-Axis Issue 29, M3/M3A1 Light Tank, Kurt Laughlin and Jeff KlenHenz, Ampersand Publishing Group, 2003.
Stuart Light Tank, Rob Ervin and David Doyle, Squadron/Signal Publications, 2014.
Conclusion: The M3 Stuart is one of my favorite tanks. I’m very excited to be able to build this kit as I think Tamiya has hit this one out of the park. The detail provided in this kit is excellent. I’ve not built a Tamiya kit in a while, so the multi-part lower hull is something different. Although with Tamiya’s reputation for engineering, I anticipate no alignment difficulties. While I’ve not started the building process, it looks like this kit is designed for all skill level modelers. I want to thank Chris Lloyd-Staples for allowing me to snipe this review kit from him. I owe him a pint or two for the privilege.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Tamiya USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Mike Petty
AMPS, 1st VP
AMPS Central Virginia
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