Having finished the Hungarian StuG recently, I’ve managed to get a couple more WW2 vehicles done, namely two US M3 light tanks (also known as Stuarts).
The models are by Frontline Wargames, one of my favourite 20mm vehicle manufacturers! Despite their simpler detailing, the models still capture the vehicles they represent quite well and are easy to paint. My Stuarts have the early flat-plated turret and are in plain olive drab, to represent US vehicles in the Philippines in late 1941. Also in the photo above is an Early War Miniatures US machine gun team from the same period. Buildings are the venerable Airfix “Jungle Outpost” bamboo huts and the “jungle” is yet again plastic plants for tropical fish tanks!
Finally getting to the point of having two Stuarts painted has been a protracted affair. Originally, I’d wanted two of the old Matchbox Stuart kits, which are reasonable models and come with the option of the flat-sided or circular turrets, but they proved impossible to find! So I found two other plastic kits, but they had loads of bits and the turrets had to be folded out from a single flat piece and all looked a bit too complicated! So I bought two white metal models, but they came with the circular turrets – I could have lived with that, but a lot of flash lines and turret rings that couldn’t be sanded down in less than a month put me right off them!
Next up were two resin kits that I expected to be exactly what I wanted! But these turned out to have a few problems as well – I did get one put together eventually, but it needed extensive filing to get the turret ring to fit the hull, gaps between the hull sides and top needed filling, the two front hatches were a tricky fit (although they super-glued to my fingers easily enough) and some of the tracks were thin and broke easily.
It was at this point that I was about to give up, but happened to see a picture on the Frontline Wargames website of an early M3 with the flat-sided turret. I hadn’t realise Frontline made one because they’d got it tucked away in the British vehicles section (since it was first used in action in North Africa by the British) so I bought a couple. The model is not without its faults (it has a solid hull down to the ground between the tracks, which I don’t like, and it sits down at the back without the significant gap between the tracks and rear mudguards) but it took very little cleaning up and preparation. Funnily enough, the faults are not repeated on the Frontline M5 Stuart, which I also have, but overall I’m pleased with how the M3s have come out.
I suppose I just need to work out what to do with the others now! If anyone’s got any ideas, please . . . keep them to yourselves!