M3 Lee

By Michael Hatch

Manufacturer: Hasegawa/Revell/ESCI Kitbash

This model represent a mid production M3 Medium Tank of the US 1st Armored Division in Tunisia during the winter of 1942/43.

I used the Hasegawa Lee's hull, turret, bogie trucks, and various other doodads. Revell/Monogram's M4A1 76 mm Sherman provided the road wheels, drive sprockets and rear idler wheels. An ESCI M4A1 Sherman provided the 75 mm gun barrel, the .30 caliber machine gun in the commander's sub turret, hull roof fans and the armoured fuel cap under the antenna base.

I cut down the British style mud guards front and back and then added rib detail to the rear mud guards. I built up the ribs holding the three piece transmission cover by applying successive layers of crazy glue gel on top and filing down the sides. I increased the height of the ribs by about a millimeter or so. For bolts and nuts I used the smallest plastic rod that I could find and cut them as short as I could work with. Upon close inspection, they appear over-sized but when painted and viewed from further away than six inches the effect is OK. When I do this again I will try using brass wire instead.

I drilled out one of the hull machine gun openings and thinned the commander's hatch down. I drilled out the center of the headlights for MV Product lenses and used brass photoectched frame material for their guards. Towing shackles were obtained from one of the above kits and their mounts were made from sheet plastic. Storage box latches were also added using sheet plastic bits. The antenna mount was reshaped and hollowed out. The antenna itself is soft steel wire with a heavy coating of crazy glue gel at its base. Soft steel wire was also used for the handles above the hull side doors. Plastic rod was used to make the coaxial machine gun barrel, tail lights and to add hinges to the turrets armoured vision port covers. The crew commander and the American jerry cans are both white metal MMS products.

The yellow geometric unit symbols, stars and turret stripe were made by first spraying bright insignia yellow on the bare plastic, masking off the shapes and spraying on the base faded Olive Drab coat over that. The masking were then removed and the markings touch up by hand. The U.S.A. war department number decals were those supplied with the kit and they were applied next. The smeared on mud effect was achieved using a "Fine Microbrush". These brushes started out being used by dentists to precisely apply small amounts of glues and filling material. I find them very handy when I want to simulate field applied paint or mud finishes. I also use them for weathering nooks and cranny on my models. They are handy and robust and you can get them from "Micro-Marks".

Weathering was accomplished with various water colour washes, pencils and pastel chalk dust.

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