In between some non-tank adventures I’m getting back in the swing of things with possibly the cutest model in existence, the M3 Stuart. To top it off, it’s also nicknamed Honey. What more could you want? 🙂
The M3 Stuart
Historically, the M3 series of tanks marked the start of a new era for American armor. Having relied on the now obsolete M2 design, the United States set out to create a tank that would be able to withstand the German Panzer III‘s. What resulted was an up-armed and technically improved M2 light tank. Not being part of World War II initially, Americans distributed the new design to British and Commonwealth armies under the lend-lease program.
Seeing several modifications and variants throughout the years, over 13.800 units ended up being produced. Although distributed to the British as the M3 Stuart (an homage to J.E.B. Stuart, Confederate General), the tank got the nickname “honey” for its high speed and smooth ride.
The M3 Stuart was followed by a new improved design, dubbed the M5 Stuart. Together, they formed one of the more successful tank lines in history, being actively used on all fronts in WWII and put to good use even after the war. Interestingly, the Paraguay Armed Forces still use the M3 Stuart to this day for training purposes.
The kit by Academy was pretty much in line with their Hetzer which I built a while ago. Strong plastic, no flash, great fit aided by guides wherever certain parts would be difficult to join. Pretty much a perfect choice for a beginner, or for somebody wanting an easy build.
Looking inside the box, apart from the tank sprues, you also get the ability to choose between assembling plastic, single-link tracks or going for the easy solution, rubber tracks. I chose the latter, as they were pretty decent-looking. Also, being able to assemble them in 5 minutes made it an easy choice.
The tank also comes with a nice interior comprised of seats, transmission, ammo stowage and a very tiny fire extinguisher. The turret basket is also a nice addition. I personally chose to hide the interior, for an easier display, but if you want, with a bit of detail work, you can make it look awesome.
Next up, if you’re able to invest in a proper track set, the suspension can be glued in such a way to allow having a movable vehicle. Apart from this, an aftermarket photo etch machine gun would also help greatly with the level of detail on the exterior.
This was my third finished kit, way back in 2015. Why the huge gap? Well, after calling the build done and priming the entire model, for some reason I decided to set it aside and park it at the back of a drawer. There it stood for over 2 years, until I picked it up a couple of months ago. I was amazed. I was amused.
No, it didn’t paint itself, nor did it turn into a Tiger. It was funny to see what 2015-me considered a finished build. Glaring seam lines, bad fitting, non-hollowed out machine guns… Some of the issues I fixed, others I left as a token of appreciation for how much you grow as a modeler if you stick to the hobby and have fun while you’re at it.
For painting I used Sand Yellow, Light Sea Blue and Black Green from Vallejo. The blue part would have probably been more historically accurate have I blended it with some gray, but I couldn’t say no to this much colour on a tank model. Weathering-wise, I wanted a pretty clean finish so, after a little dry-brushing, I used some AK Interactive Panel Liner for adding a bit of contrast to all the bolts and handles. After that was applied, I highlighted the panels with white oil paint. Some rust streaks done with brown oil paint and that is pretty much it.
And some close-ups: