Kit Reviews Tamiya M3A1 Scout Car

Having owned one of these a long time ago I was interested to see that Tamiya have recently released a kit in 1/35 scale. From what I can see it is a very good rendition of the real deal, with a few minor exceptions.

The kit comes with a crew of 5 ruskies, which have beautifully animated poses, and decals for russian and US vehicles.

The vehicle is NOT a halftrack with wheels. It came before the halftrack and entered US service in 1939. It was lightly armoured with a 1/2 inch thick screen that could be dropped down infront of the driver and commander. The remainder of the body being 1/4 inch plate. The 5.2 litre straight 6 Hercules engine could propel it over 50MPH on roads (It was fun overtaking someone on the A12 in it) but it's cross country performance was barely adequate. Main users were the US, Brits and the Russians. The Americans used it in North Africa and Sicily. It was quickly replaced by the M8/M20 when they became available. In British service they were often used for armoured ambulances and radio vehicles.

Areas of the kit that could be impoved/changed are -
The headlight protectors, these are too clunky and should be replaced with photo etched parts.
The skate rail over the doors, again the moulding is a bit 'thick' and needs a bit of trimming. Not an issue if you have the door tops up as it's difficult to see.
The 50 and 30 tripods are held in place at the rear with metal straps. These need to be fabricated.
Most vehicles were issued with an aerial mast in the middle of the rear body, this was often removed, so no biggie.
My vehicle did not have the combat rims, but the ventilated truck style split rims. But the combats were standard later on.
My vehicle had a storage box for the windscreen (which had to be removed to allow the armour to be dropped), this was bolted to the storage bin behind the commander.
Tarp hoops were normally strapped to the rear armour.

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It's a thing of beauty, especially in 2nd Armored Div camouflage.

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Close-up of skate rail over doors, and detail of the 'tilting' skate for the 50. It had the facility to level the MG where the skate rail slopes up to the front. The Tamiya model has 'crash pads' moulded on at this point. Not sure if these were around during the war, as you could not use that part of the rail with them on, but I can say that they are essential for any 'White' owner!

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Rear view of a very smart vehicle. Note tripod brackets and aerial mast.

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Also note early yellow star. Similar to a certain halftrack. ;)
 
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Close-up of 30 cal tripod brackets. Overly complicated things!

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In 1944 the Airborne Forces Development Centre began modifying the M3A1 for deployment via the Hamilcar Glider, in a Signals role.

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Whites in North Africa? Note early wheels in top photo.

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Ambulance layout. Note the head banging skate rail has been removed.

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They were also used for 'sonic warfare' with two large speakers mounted. Not turned up a pic for one of these yet.
 
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USS LCT-420 Unloads M3A1 Scout Car during Operation Husky.

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Not sure where this originally comes from.

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This one appeared in 'A night in Casablanca' in 1946.

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Having owned one of these a long time ago I was interested to see that Tamiya have recently released a kit in 1/35 scale. From what I can see it is a very good rendition of the real deal, with a few minor exceptions.

The kit comes with a crew of 5 ruskies, which have beautifully animated poses, and decals for russian and US vehicles.

The vehicle is NOT a halftrack with wheels. It came before the halftrack and entered US service in 1939. It was lightly armoured with a 1/2 inch thick screen that could be dropped down infront of the driver and commander. The remainder of the body being 1/4 inch plate. The 5.2 litre straight 6 Hercules engine could propel it over 50MPH on roads (It was fun overtaking someone on the A12 in it) but it's cross country performance was barely adequate. Main users were the US, Brits and the Russians. The Americans used it in North Africa and Sicily. It was quickly replaced by the M8/M20 when they became available. In British service they were often used for armoured ambulances and radio vehicles.

Areas of the kit that could be impoved/changed are -
The headlight protectors, these are too clunky and should be replaced with photo etched parts.
The skate rail over the doors, again the moulding is a bit 'thick' and needs a bit of trimming. Not an issue if you have the door tops up as it's difficult to see.
The 50 and 30 tripods are held in place at the rear with metal straps. These need to be fabricated.
Most vehicles were issued with an aerial mast in the middle of the rear body, this was often removed, so no biggie.
My vehicle did not have the combat rims, but the ventilated truck style split rims. But the combats were standard later on.
My vehicle had a storage box for the windscreen (which had to be removed to allow the armour to be dropped), this was bolted to the storage bin behind the commander.
Tarp hoops were normally strapped to the rear armour.

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Did you paint the figures yourself or do they come like that? I built a Tamiya German halftrack as a teenager many years ago, same scale, and could not get anywhere near that level of detail.
 
Have to be painted. To be honest there are quick ways to get relatively realistic results. For instance, the guy who painted the ones above has not painted eyes. A dark wash can bring out the detail fine. Why not join the modelling fraternity here and have another go? You will get nothing but encouragement.
 

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