M41A3 Light Tank "Walker Bulldog"
u m m a r y
||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)
||Retail price USD$39.98 (USD$33.96
||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
||Higher than usual price for
relatively small kit
||Highly Recommended for all Cold War
and US/RVN Armor fans
1/35 scale M41A3
is available online from Squadron.com
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.
Review Copyright © 2002 by Cookie
Page Created 25 August, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003
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