Building Tamiya's classic M3 Stuart

Text:  Bun E. Carlos

Photos:  Jimmy Olsen (except I'm sure the box top!)


If you read the review on the old TAMIYA Stug IV that I built you'll know my distaste for expensive kits with plus or minus 800 parts.  I picked up this little gem of a kit for a whopping four bucks in Cincy last October. I built this straight from the box and added a few things that anybody should have on the model bench it is let it be a Yul Brenner moment.           

Straight out of the gate I had the chassis, bogies and tracks already built in no time.  I used MILLIPUT for the sandbags after getting the idea from a commissioned Sherman that came back to me because the owner, a Lawyer, knock it off his desk :)  After the bags were rolled out I pressed cloth into them to give a burlap bag sorta worked, but who's asking?  I pressed them into the front hull and threw a spare wheel into the mix for good measure.  It was lacking something.......and I decided to go with some wood planks for additional armor.  I mounted two balsa strips on each side and used bent brass strip to hold them in place. Now I had something.  More VERLINDEN stuff was glued on the rear deck and things were ready for my flat black pre-paint ritual. I have to be careful now that my hair is much longer, I got the part of Judas in the Church play....I believe in being in character.

When I used to own an Internet Hobby Shop, I had AEROMASTER paint.  I still do :)  After the flat black base color I started using progressive shades of green, ending up with that very cool Faded 40 something olive green.  While all this was drying I started the base which is really driftwood from Normandy. I shoplifted the VERLINDEN Dragon's Tooth years ago and the static grass came from a Rail Road Modeler that I rolled when I was younger. The stuff last's a lifetime.  Celluclay, water and white glue was mixed together and pressed over the wood with the alleged stolen' tooth.  While this was drying, I pressed some curb rock to give it some gusto along with gluing down the static grass. When dry, the base was painted and the Tank FUTURED. I oil washed both at the same time and things came out pretty good. The machine guns were drilled out and some dry brushing occurred I'm sure of it. Some mud color, the same as the base was airbrushed on the lower hull and the Aluminum Foil tarp and boxes were airbrushed too. As always, I mounted the Stuart off center and over the edge. I yearn to be what I am.

All told, this little beauty took about four days to do, and that was between NCIS episodes.....I love Zeva.  I've got more older kits that will be given updates really soon.  The gist of this little series just goes to show ya that you don't have to spend big bucks to enjoy modeling.  As an old Pirate once said: BUILD OR DIE!!!!!!!

Bun E. Carlos