We’re currently in a Golden Age when it comes to modeling armored fighting vehicles. New subjects appear fairly consistently, and many subjects are being revisited – updated with impressive detailing to sate modeler’s appetites. Now, I often find myself purchasing a detail set – and then buying the model kit to go with it – instead of the reverse of several years ago. This set by TMD is one that’ll have you going out to get a kit to showcase it with little delay.
One Hundred Seventeen grey resin parts and a small length of soft wire make up this detailing set, accompanied by a well-produced and thought out instruction booklet. There is some minor flashing over areas meant to be cleaned-up by the modeler, and some minor warping on the thin sidewalls that proved easy to remedy with hot-water immersion. There were no short-casts, air bubbles or any other casting problems with my parts - and a modicum of flashing on some parts. None will be difficult to clean up and all parts appear to be easily removed from their pour gates. Though TMD recommends you wash their parts prior to painting – my examples were clean and free from mold release agents. All parts in this kit are zip-lock bagged – no loose items in the box to get damaged during shipment.
TMD’s instruction sheet for this set is presented on 8.5 x 11 inch paper – printed in black & white front and back, with clear photos showing the assembly sequence and detailing information. To list all of the equipment and fixtures included in the kit would make this review unreasonably long. Suffice to say that everything you’d expect to find inside the Interior and Turret of the M3 Stuart Light Tank - except for the Engine and Engine Compartment - is included in the TMD kit.
Spotlighted up front are notes on cleaning resin parts, tips, hints and information meant to aid the modeler. Special mention is made to CD references available from Chris Hughes (Toadman’s Tank Pictures) – and these are first-rate supplements for modeling your own M3 Stuart. Additional hardbound references are listed as well – and these will help you develop a deeper understanding of the equipment and items in this particular vehicle.
All parts numbers are called out and grouped together into sections to aid the modeler in selecting parts to include in their miniature project. With this kit, you get parts common to all M3 Stuart Light Tanks, parts specific to American M3 Stuarts, and parts for detailing the M3 Stuart (Hex Turret). Throughout the instruction booklet, these parts are called out again and detailed painting instructions accompany the sections as well as opportunities for the modeler to add additional detail(s) not provided in the kit.
Though TMD has an accuracy disclaimer printed on their instruction booklet, this is the most comprehensive and detailed treatment I’ve come across for the M3 Stuart. The equipment and fittings are kept in scale with each other – even with allowances to fit inside the Academy lower Hull pan.
Aside from some minor warping in the thin sidewalls that I quickly straightened out, the details provided are sure to delight the fan of the M3 Stuart. It stands up to the real M3 Stuarts that I’ve seen and photographed in private collections very well. A challenge for both major and small companies out there who strive to satisfy modelers is being able to separate out the details on real vehicles in collections. Often these restored vehicles display equipment, paint, markings and other features not used during wartime. TMD took great pains to wade through all that and achieve a high-degree of fidelity to detail. One can’t always rely on one set of photos, or even one particular vehicle in a collection to get details right. TMD really did their homework as advertised on the box cover and welcomes photographic evidence of features or details they might have missed to incorporate into product updates.
I highly recommend this kit for intermediate to advance level modelers accustomed to working with resin kits. The fun of reviews like this is when you purchase an item – you’re already interested in it and like the subject matter. Though there could be a bit of favorable bias towards the subject matter, just opening the box and inspecting the contents reintroduces a bit of objectivity because you remember that you bought these parts - good or bad. I must say unabashedly that I was quite impressed when I opened up this kit – I began telling my friends about it. It was more than I expected. That’s a pretty high testimonial, and this TMD kit deserves it.
The US M3 Stuart Light Tank in 1:35th scale has seen a recent revival for Allied modelers. The latest release for modelers is a sterling detailing set from Panama City, Florida’s Tiger Model Designs (TMD). Mastered by Karl van Sweden, this is a comprehensive all-resin set designed for TMD’s #353101 and 353103 M3 Stuart Light Tank kits, and can be fitted into Academy’s M3 Stuart model kits (#1398 or #1399).
About Jim Lewis (GunTruck) FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
I love American AFV's from all eras and researching Vietnam-era Gun Trucks and US Army Pentomic and Atomic Battlefield Ordnance from the 1950's through the 1960's. Avid Sci-Fi fan and modeler as well - Star Wars, Space:1999, and Star Trek are favorites. Owner/Master Miniaturist - GunTruck Studios....