M3A1 Stuart Light Tank – Honey
XF9 Hull Red,
XF13 J.A. Green,
XF59 Desert Yellow
35541 Interior set,
35502 Exterior Set,
Archer Fine Transfers:
Generic Letters AR35107B
The M3A1 was a light tank designed by the U.S. Army during WWII. The British Army preferred to give their tank names, and designated the M3 the Stuart.
In the early years of WWII The U.S. Army had determined that its current light tank, the M2, was obsolete. They began an upgrade program and developed the M3, which went into production in 1941.
They gave the M3 thicker armour than the M2 and equipped it with a 37mm gun. With a crew of 4 and powered by an air-cooled radial engine, the M3A1 could reach speeds of 36mph on the road.
Initially well received by the British Army, especially for the North African campaign of 1941, as it was comparable to the Panzer III used by the Afrika Korps. However, by mid-1942 surpassed by newer Axis tanks the Stuart moved into a reconnaissance role.
Academy produced their first M3 Stuart kit in 2002 with my version released in 2012. With the sprues moulded in green plastic, you have a choice of using either vinyl tracks or individual plastic ones.
The Kit has is a reasonable amount of interior detail if you want to leave the hatches open and with several exterior equipment options to choose from, there is plenty of detail for a small kit. Finally, the box contains a decal sheet and a length of string to represent wire for the towing cable.
For my first Academy build, I found that it went together without too many issues. Parts were a reasonably good fit, though maybe not with the precision of one made by Tamiya or Meng.
I used the M3A1 Stuart that the Tank Museum in Bovington have as inspiration and this meant I did not faithfully follow all the instructions. Most were subtile changes like re-profiling the rear mudguards and the plates covering the unused gun ports.
To enhance the look further, I used the Eduard 35541 Exterior set and replaced the string with stripped electrical wire.
I intended to leave some hatches open and add extra detailing in the interior. For this I brought the Eduard 35502 M3A1 Stuart interior set, though I am not sure how much is visible.
To emulate the camouflage of the Bovington Stuart I used Tamiya XF59 Desert yellow for the base paint. The last two camouflage paints were Tamiya XF9 Hull Red and XF13 JA Green, maybe not the authentic colours but they looked about correct to me.
I used Archer Fine Transfer Generic Letters to recreate ‘Clementine’ name as I couldn’t find any wet decals with to do the job. These are dry transfers you apply singularly and while they work, they are fiddly to apply.
As per normal, I built the individual plastic tracks which comprised of three parts, a pad and two end plates. While this involved plenty of work removing and cleaning up the parts they fitted together with no issues.
Finally I made a small base on Blue styrofoam onto which I glued various length static grass.
When I went to Tiger Day at the Tank Museum, Bovington in Sept 2018, I got to a good look at their Stuart ‘Honey’ called Clementine and I thought it would make an ideal model to build.
Initially, I brought the Academy 13270 M3 Stuart ‘Honey’ kit and started to build it before I realised it contained the wrong-shaped turret compared to the Tank Museum version. Fortunately, the 13269 Academy kit had the correct one and I brought that one to finish the model.
While I had to put extra work in trying to emulate the Tank Museum version, it is a great little kit with very little issues and with a good level of detail.