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M41A3 Light Tank "Walker Bulldog"

AFV Club

 

S u m m a r y

Stock No. AFV Club 1/35 Scale Kit No. AF 35041; M41A3 Light Tank "Walker Bulldog"
Contents and Media: 310 parts (294 in light olive styrene, 12 black vinyl, 2 glueable black tracks, 1 turned aluminum barrel, 1 section of nylon string)
Price: Retail price USD$39.98 (USD$33.96 from Squadron.com)
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: State of the moldmaker's art kit has many nice and novel touches, pre-opened engine bays beg for a resin engine, another manufacture goes over to cementable single-section tracks
Disadvantages: Higher than usual price for relatively small kit
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all Cold War and US/RVN Armor fans

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


AFV Club's 1/35 scale M41A3 is available online from Squadron.com

 

F i r s t   L o o k

 

Arguably one of the most popular kits in Tamiya's lineup for many years has been the M41 US light tank. A neat and attractive vehicle, this little tank was used by many nations during the Cold War thanks to the Military Assistance Progam (MAP) as well as in the Vietnam war as part of RVN armored cavalry squadrons. Fast, easily maintained and operated, and with a good 76mm gun for its size, the actual tank was a very popular machine and remains in service with some nations today in rebuilt and modified forms.

But while the Tamiya kit was at least reasonably accurate in size and shape, it suffered from very poor detailing (there are no side details on the kit whatsoever) and first-generation vinyl (one-sided) tracks, plus a de rigeur motorization pack fit inside the hull. Fixing one up was not undoable but required a great deal of work and effort. It was also a "generic" M41 and came with none of the detail features that separated the various models of the tank from each other.

(The differences between M41 versions had to do more with where things went on the outside than on internal changes, which were not as obvious. The M41 had full side skirts and squared off fenders, tools stowed on the glacis, track links on the turret sides, and no APU exhaust; late M41A1 tanks appeared as found in the kit with the exception that the APU muffler was next to the tool stowage on the front right fender; M41A2 and M41A3 tanks were like the kit. Difference was M41/M41A1 had carburetor-fed engines, M41A2/M41A3 were same tanks with fuel injection.)

AFV Club has just released this gorgeous kit of the little fellow and with all due respect to Tamiya, it's time to retire the other one. Even though the Tamiya kit only costs 1/3 of this one, by the time you get a set of brass, new gun barrel, after-market tracks, tools, a .50 caliber machine gun and such, you are probably now up around $80 so this kit which needs none of those items is half the price and still better done.

I will state up front that if you do not like dealing with very small parts then this is not going to be your cup of tea. There is very little that AFV Club have left off of this kit, and most of the "bits" are separate. It is only the second kit I have seen next to the Italeri M47 to provide all of the bin locking handles as separate parts, for an example. All prismatic viewers are separate, as are the tools and hinges. The .50 caliber M2HB is one of the nicest in this scale, and as a bonus the kit also comes with a 7.62mm M60 which is just as well done. The entire engine bay area is open; while there are ejection pin marks on the inside of the covers, they also provided the grille work so that it will not cause headaches to leave them off or open them up. (Alas, no framing is provided and all of the grilles are interconnected, so you're on your own there.)

One of the nicest touches previously reviewed is the moldmaker's decision to mold the outside wheel rims as separate parts, therefore creating the "dished" effect of the actual vehicle. This is the first model that I have ever seen that done on, even though many other US vehicles like the M551 Sheridan and all M41-based derivatives did as well.

Decals are included for six vehicles one US vehicle from 3/4 CAV, 25th Infantry Division (and which do not look right - they read 25R B-36 which is more Korean War era than nearing Vietnam), two RVN ones from unidentified units, and three ROC Marine Corps tanks.

A gunshield from the M88 is included for one of the RVN tanks but this particular vehicle was also fitted with an AN/VSS-1 searchlight from an M48A3, and the photo of it is on page 258 of the Hunnicutt "Sheridan" book.

Overall this is a great kit, and one which really needs little in the way of add-ons other than the engine bay and figures to be a really great model.

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Review Copyright 2002 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 25 August, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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