Model, phototos and text by Luca Cinacchio
Item: M3 tank
Review Type: building review
Contents & Media: 488 parts (486 in sand colored styrene, 2 steel color vinyl tracks)
Advantages: full interior is provided; good price
Disadvantages: some fitting problem
Final verdict: Recomonded to any modeler
Academy has built its reputation in providing nice kits at very affordable price, and its M3 Grant tank is no excpetion.
It comes in a big, sturdy box with a nice boxart. Inside you find 486 part molded in sand colored styrene of good quality and 2 steel color vinyl tracks. There are no flash, and ejector pinmarks are -mostly- in no visible areas. Unfortunately, as we will see during the building, my sample suffered of some warping, so i had to face some fitting problem.
Construction started with the hull, fixing the fitting problems with some filler, and airbrushing the interior and its many bits. The Academy's decision to provide also the interiors, is a great addicion to the value of this kit. Rivets counters have argued on some forums that this interior is not as accurate as it should be. Nevertheless it build in a very and conving interior, offering to the modeler endless chances to play with the weathering, as i did and you can see in the photos. For the weathering i used a mix of AK Interactive washes and some MIG pigments.
After taking care of the turret, i assembled and painting the gun, having no problem at all: all the bits fitted nicely.
I glued the hull, using superglue and... muscles! I added some lead wire to the lights... these are those easy jobs that really can improve the look of your model.
Then i started to weather the lower hull: I do it before to install the wheels, rollers and tracks, to reach any corner. I applied a sand color on the surface, and then started to apply many tiny layers of pigments. The first layer are applied wet, the last layer dry and then fixed. Some streaks with AK oil streaks completed the job.
Tracks got some washes of AK Interactive sand washed and orange Afrika Corps filter.
Suspension were assembled, wheels painted and slightly pre-weathered with a dust wash, and everything was glued in place, completing the job with the tracks.
The kit provides you of plastic tow cable, but -as all the plastic tow cables- it looks a little crude to me, so i decided to scratchbuild my own one, as i usualy do with armors.
I use this hemp rope, with 1 mm. diameters, tensing it a little and applying on its surface some white glued thinned with water, gluing the hooks, laying it as i wish pn the tank and then supergluing it.
Before to start the main painting job, tracks and wheels were masked with tape.
The model was primed with Vallejo German Red Primer.
Two coats of hairspray were spraied, the sandcolor airbrushed, some color modulation done, and the chipping were made with a brush damped in water (hairspray chipping technique).
I repeated the hairspray application. Then the second color of the camo scheme, the brown, was applied and chipped.
Decals followed: they comform well, but are very glossy: not the best choice for an armor, but easy to fix
The weathering process started with some rust, in pigments form, followed by the Vallejo Model color 70.822, one of the best "ready colors" for chipping.
Then i applied the Africa Dust Effect by AK interactive, an henamel wash that performs very well.
For the exhausts i started applaying some Vallejo Aircolor rust, followed by at least 5 layers of pigments, until i got the deidered result.
To finish the job i dry-brushed the metal around the exhausts to simulate the effect of the heat.
It was then time for some drybrushing, followed by a dark AK wash.
To complete the job a decided to add a small base to my tank. I had a trash piece of wood: i cutted it in the deidered shape, painted and masked the borders, spreaded some Das Pronto, followed by Vallejo Desert Sand paste, and with it still fresh, i made the tracks paths, and added some small gravels.
I painted an english soldier that ii had in the spare parts box, scratchbuilded some barbered wire, that i applied on the corner.
Last but not least everything got some washes and some drybrush.
Here you can see the finished model with its base: