Today Paul takes a look at the new Battlefront M3 Stuart.
I was lucky enough to recently review the new Battlefront “Patton’s Fighting First” box set. In the review, I promised an article on each of the 3 different AFVs in the box. Here is the first one for the M3 Stuart.
I covered in the previous box review what options could be created for the Stuart. Lets move onto the assembly. The model is made up of 6 pieces for the hull. There are also optional fuel tanks and stowage (more on this later).
The hull follows the now familiar new plastic Battlefront model. There is a U shaped base with groves for the tracks to be attached. There are 3 groves for the RH track and 2 for the LH grove so you cannot attach them incorrectly.
Next I attached the rear panel which fits neatly. The upper hull is then attached. Interestingly, the sides of the upper hull are actually moulded to the track pieces. They meet the top of the hull at a 45 degree angle. By the 3rd model, I had managed to get this join to fit correctly. The first two had a small gap. Careful attention to detail will make sure these align correctly. Using plastic cement means that these 45 degree joins should hold really well.
The turret is made up of 5 parts for a buttoned up version or 6 including a commander. The US Stuart used the tube shaped turret with an insert that drops in the top. There is a different insert for a turret that is not buttoned up. This is a combination of parts I haven’t seen before. The insert is quite a solid piece meaning that the model avoids having to have thin panels joined at 90 degrees. The rest it pretty straight forward. A machine gun, commander, turret pin and it’s done.
Each BF frame comes with lots of stowage. The rolled up tarps are a new features and I am a big fan. There are also the usual jerry cans, spare wheels and crates. I used a mix of these trying to end up with each vehicle looking slightly different.
Following assembly, I spray primed the vehicles white, then brushed on Brown Violet. The tanks were then washed with dark tone. Once dry, I mixed up 80% Brown Violet and 20% Iraqi Sand for a highlight. The vehicles were then hit with a very light edge highlight with Iraqi Sand. The commander and stowage followed the same scheme using flat earth for the crates, Khaki for the tarp as the base. The tracks were simply black with an Iraqi Sand highlight.
The decals for this model are the toughest I have worked with to date; they are also the best looking ones I have worked with. There are a number of very small decals but the most difficult is the three piece stripe around the turret. Because of the hatches and machine gun mounts, the turret is not smooth and therefore the decal needs to cover these details. A decal softer is really critical here. I used the Vajello version. By the third one, I think the decals looked OK. Battlefront have posted up a great video on applying the new MW US decals. I recommend watching it.
Overall, this is a great model. There are some challenging aspects of assembly and decals and I probably didn’t take the time to get mine looking as good as they could have. This aside, the model itself is great and is highly detailed. This is certainly one of the best of Battlefront’s new plastics.
Well, that’t it. Stay tuned for a M10 and a Sherman review.