login   |    register
Armor/AFV
For discussions on tanks, artillery, jeeps, etc.
Review
MiniArt: M3A5 Lee
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,818 posts
Armorama: 8,498 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 01:34 AM UTC


Darren Baker takes a look at the latest M3 offering from MiniArt in the form of a M3A5 Lee in 1/35th scale.

Read the Review

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
m4sherman
Visit this Community
Arizona, United States
Joined: January 18, 2006
KitMaker: 1,796 posts
Armorama: 1,747 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 04:47 AM UTC
Darren, nice review. It looks like a great addition to the M3 family. One thing, the twin GMC diesel engines were also used on the M4A2 and the M10. The reason not to go full diesel on tanks in WWII is complex, and most fires were found to be caused by the ammunition cooking off, not due to the fuel type.
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,818 posts
Armorama: 8,498 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 06:40 AM UTC
I have always grown up with the Sherman being called a Ronson, Lights first time every time and that was usually due to enemy fire igniting the fuel. That said I do accept there some some issues with ammunition storage and so the introduction of wet storage and added armour.
nsjohn
Visit this Community
Scotland, United Kingdom
Joined: July 26, 2018
KitMaker: 169 posts
Armorama: 159 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 07:08 AM UTC
Great review as always Darren. With regards to the type of fuel being responsible for the combustibility of the early Shermans, this was largely disproved because over 5000 M4A2 were supplied to us as the Sherman 111, and they were diesel powered. This was addressed in the later hull design which relocated the ammunition storage to the hull floor and provided wet storage. I seem to recall reading that the incidence of fires decreased from 80& to 15&.
russamotto
Visit this Community
Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
KitMaker: 3,308 posts
Armorama: 2,028 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 08:21 AM UTC
Great review, Darren. You seem to cover most everything quite well. As far as the diesel engine, I have read that it was much quieter than the radial of the previous series. The issue of tanks catching fire was due to crews stowing extra ammo all over the inside of the tank. I don't think the gasoline engine was any more prone to catching fire than any German tank.
m4sherman
Visit this Community
Arizona, United States
Joined: January 18, 2006
KitMaker: 1,796 posts
Armorama: 1,747 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 11:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I have always grown up with the Sherman being called a Ronson, Lights first time every time and that was usually due to enemy fire igniting the fuel. That said I do accept there some some issues with ammunition storage and so the introduction of wet storage and added armour.


I know what you are saying, and that was considered true until the actual combat loss data was published. Also, the M4A2 tended to burn just as readily as the radial powered tanks, as did the T-34.
nsjohn
Visit this Community
Scotland, United Kingdom
Joined: July 26, 2018
KitMaker: 169 posts
Armorama: 159 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 12:59 PM UTC
Interestingly on looking at Miniarts pre-launch publicity for the Australian M3, that appears to be tooled with the side doors welded shut, so I am not sure why they din't include those side panels with this kit
Taeuss
Visit this Community
Manitoba, Canada
Joined: January 03, 2016
KitMaker: 3,003 posts
Armorama: 2,993 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 02:59 PM UTC
The radial engine option was a terrible choice forced upon them as a means of supplying an engine -any engine- until something better showed up. The radial was originally designed for aircraft use and was too high-revving to be a good choice for an AFV. It also, I believe, used high-octane gas and the plugs fouled far too frequently leadingto poor starting, easy stalling and miserable maintenance tasks. You could tell the mechanic who worked on one of those because they were the guys with the spare spark plugs in their coveralls. Terrible choice among several poor ones, like the multi-bank engine. Anyways, gotta love those rivets and bolts on this variant!
Taeuss
Visit this Community
Manitoba, Canada
Joined: January 03, 2016
KitMaker: 3,003 posts
Armorama: 2,993 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 03:04 PM UTC
oh, and contrary to common misconception, diesel does burn; perhaps not at the same low flash point that gas does but we are talking about high-energy impacts here. That being said given the choice I would gladly take a diesel over any gas engine for this kind of vehicle if only for the prodigious low end torque that they typically generate which equates to excellent driveability in the crap that tanks typically find themselves in. I wonder what word the nun proofreading system will substitute for my choice of "crap" -as in dung?
Vodnik
Visit this Community
Warszawa, Poland
Joined: March 26, 2003
KitMaker: 4,283 posts
Armorama: 3,880 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 06:10 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Interestingly on looking at Miniarts pre-launch publicity for the Australian M3, that appears to be tooled with the side doors welded shut, so I am not sure why they din't include those side panels with this kit


In this kit you get new separate "blind" door panels, which you have to "weld" onto the hull side panels yourself. It is much more economical solution for MiniArt than providing new side panels.
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
Visit this Community
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,575 posts
Armorama: 3,047 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 11:52 PM UTC
Nobody mentioned the effects of hot fragments on ruptured hydraulic lines, since that's another great way to set a tank alight. Basically M3s and M4s were stuffed full of flammable materials so the only way to reduce the risk of fire was to keep the shells out in the first place, but those unsporting Germans very quickly up-gunned their tanks with high-velocity 75s! What nobody mentions is that Panzer IIIs and IVs were just as vulnerable to cooking, for exactly the same reasons, but a post-war cult of German superiority seems to have effectively quashed any mention of it. After all, the Sherman was easily a match for the IIIs & IVs armour-wise. But the introduction of wet stowage (and more importantly stowage below the turret floor!) made a he difference to the burn-out rate.
nsjohn
Visit this Community
Scotland, United Kingdom
Joined: July 26, 2018
KitMaker: 169 posts
Armorama: 159 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 03:06 AM UTC
On looking at the contents box on Miniarts site, the sides do seem to be on a completely new sprue.
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,818 posts
Armorama: 8,498 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 03:11 AM UTC
I believe the solid side hull versions would need a new part or at the very least it would require a new insert and some filling.
nsjohn
Visit this Community
Scotland, United Kingdom
Joined: July 26, 2018
KitMaker: 169 posts
Armorama: 159 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 03:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I believe the solid side hull versions would need a new part or at the very least it would require a new insert and some filling.


I agree and that appears to be what Miniart have done in the new Australian M3 release.
Vodnik
Visit this Community
Warszawa, Poland
Joined: March 26, 2003
KitMaker: 4,283 posts
Armorama: 3,880 posts
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 - 12:46 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I believe the solid side hull versions would need a new part or at the very least it would require a new insert and some filling.


They already have full solid side walls in their M3 Late Production kit. This one is supposed to be intermediate version with welded on "plugs" instead of complete doors. And MiniArt provides those parts separately, while provided side hull walls with door openings probably come from their M3 Early Production kit. They come with door hinges molded on and I guess that instructions show that those should be shaved off (I have the kit, but I'm not at home right now to check...).
deathdork
Joined: March 26, 2007
KitMaker: 269 posts
Armorama: 257 posts
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 - 04:44 PM UTC
Is this version suitable for the Burma campaign?
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,818 posts
Armorama: 8,498 posts
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 - 08:34 PM UTC
My reference would indicate yes but I have to accept that someone with the Hunnicutt book may be better informed.
deathdork
Joined: March 26, 2007
KitMaker: 269 posts
Armorama: 257 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 04:14 PM UTC
Thanks Darren! You deserve your own copy of the sacred Hunnicut text!
ALBOWIE
Visit this Community
New South Wales, Australia
Joined: February 28, 2006
KitMaker: 1,550 posts
Armorama: 1,510 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 07:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Is this version suitable for the Burma campaign?

. Whilst a small number (very small) of Diesel M3's were in Burma they are very rare and to date i have not seen a photo. Your best way to do a Burma Lee is to get the Australian M3 "Bushape" and use it as your starting point as most of the mods seen on Burma Lees were similar (Australian M3 never served in Burma).
Al
jvazquez
Visit this Community
New Jersey, United States
Joined: September 26, 2006
KitMaker: 847 posts
Armorama: 801 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2019 - 02:28 AM UTC
I know that Takom already has a nice one, but since MiniArt has the frame I would love to see them make an M-31 ARV!
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
Visit this Community
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,818 posts
Armorama: 8,498 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2019 - 05:12 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Interestingly on looking at Miniarts pre-launch publicity for the Australian M3, that appears to be tooled with the side doors welded shut, so I am not sure why they din't include those side panels with this kit



I have done some more digging and it would see that the M3A5 Lee did have a welded door rather than a cast panel and as such is exactly correct, but you do need to remove the hinge detail and not add the viewing port.