Monday, April 22

Preview: MiniArt's 35th scale M3 Stuart "Early Production" with a full interior....

The third boxing of MiniArt's new M3 Stuart light tank gives us the "Early Production" with a full interior. We look at the art & CADs in our preview...

Preview: MiniArt's new M3 Stuart "Early Production" with a full interior....

M3 Stuart Early Production - Interior Kit
From MiniArt Models
1/35th scale
Kit No #35404
Decals for seven (7!) options in the box
Photo-etch included
The M3 Stuart Light tank:
The US Army began development of a light tank in the early 1930s. After a number of models which progressively increased armor and fire power, the M3 series was initiated in July 1940. Provided to British forces as part of the Lend-Lease Act, the M3 first saw combat with British forces in North Africa in November 1941. The British found the M3 to be under-gunned, but were so pleased with its mechanical performance that they nicknamed it “Honey.”

The pictures of General Patton with his personal tank is one of the seven marking choices in this kit.
The M3 saw service with American forces in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded in December 1941. Feedback from these actions led to improvements incorporated in the M3A1, which began production in May 1942, including the addition of a gyro stabilizer for the 37mm main gun and a power traverse for the turret. The addition of the power traverse required the turret to be fitted with a basket or floor which rotated with the turret. This was the first American tank to include such features.
The same tank on desert maneuvers in California 1942
The M3A1 Stuart
The M3A1 also saw service with American forces during the North African Campaign. The 37mm main gun, which had proved inadequate for British forces a year before, was now even more ineffective since German armor had continued to upgrade. One veteran noted, “Popcorn balls thrown by Little Bo Peep would have been just as effective” in reference to the 37mm against German armor. Following the 1st Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment’s participation in the Battle of Kasserine Pass, the Stuart tank was relegated to the role of reconnaissance and flank security. The M3 and its successor, the M5, continued to be utilized in Europe through the end of the war.

A great photo showing a very similar image to the excellent boxart. These series of photos were taken General George S. Patton in his personal M3 Stuart Tank, Desert Training Center, USA, 1942 
Although poorly suited to tank warfare in Europe, the Stuart tank proved effective in the Pacific. In New Guinea and the Solomons, the Stuart served in an infantry support role. Although the 37mm gun was not ideal, the small Stuart was much more practical for jungle warfare than the much larger and heavier Sherman that replaced it in late 1943.

A Marine's dog mascot “Radio” in an M3 in the PTO - 1943

The kit from MiniArt
This is the third incarnation of MiniArt's new-tooled 1/35th scale M3 Stuart - The first was the "Initial Production" kit. We have the CAD drawings of the kit, the sprues, etch, decals, marking choices here below to show you the contents of the kit.
There are already two boxings of this kit released, both the full interior and without in the initial version with that unique turret. 
This is a third release showing the early production tanks with the flat riveted turret. 
You will notice on this one that it has one of the seven options for the two star General's flags signs on either front fender...
The proper radio equipment is included in this kit for a commander's tank if you choose that version.
A simple but effective CAD showing the opened and closed ports and hatches on this tank.
Options on the rear of the tank in blue are shown here also
This it seems is a full interior tank, with the crew compartment fully flushed out here.
The full engine and compartment is shown on this view of the rear of the tank.
The make-up of the suspension and tracks show a little more about the construction. Link & length tracks with singles to join them.
Detail illustrations of the gun muzzle, the, roadwheels, idler & drive sprocket.
Three views of the front glacis plate from in and outside...
The full turret shown inside & out.
Two views of the upper rear deck of the hull showing the detail & photo-etch used, mainly on the engine grilles...
The frontal gear box, linkage, right through to the engine at the rear shown here.
The interior of the hull shown with wiring pre-moulded into the kit walls.
The floor of the kit shown with escape/access hatch option.
The driver & radio/MG gunners positions shown in these two illustrations.

This kit should be available next month from MiniArt's distributors worldwide. You can see more about this kit on the MiniArt Website...