The phrase "right place at the right time" really applied to the M3 Grant. Just when the British Desert Forces needed a reliable tank with a useful, high-explosive round, along comes the Grant, a nasty surprise for Gen. Erwin Rommel.
This kit mixes parts from Academy's earlier M3 Lee and new parts for the Grant turret and sand shields. Heavy vinyl T51-type tracks are provided along with markings for two vehicles.
I prepainted the road wheels before assembly, and the chassis bottom and sides before gluing on the suspension. This kit still has its old bogies, which are too tall. The large oval cut in the bottom (to seat the interior) would be tough to fill - better to cut .005" styrene sheet and plate over the hole. A detailed photo of the bottom of the chassis on Page 12 of Jim Mesko's M3 Lee/Grant in Action
(Squadron) can assist you with this correction.
Also disappointing are the T51 tracks provided (instead of the WE210 double-I track so many of the Grants had). Instead of installing the inner front-fender parts G6 and G7 to the transfer case, I glued them to the front fenders (parts G35 and G36) for better alignment.
The interior floor has a late-production vehicle escape hatch that doesn't belong. But with the interior being so cluttered, no one will notice it. Maybe we'll see a late-production vehicle in the future.
I gave the finished interior a sludge wash of dark brown and used a color guide from www.armouredacorn.com
to complete painting the 37mm ammunition.
The upper hull comprised several pieces with only minor gaps. However, test-fitting the completed assembly showed a gap between the fillets and sides which required clamping.
No radio or other equipment for the turret is provided. Incidentally, I have heard some complaints about the turret shape - but I've also seen photos that match it in the aforementioned reference, as well as other variations.
I painted my Grant with Testors olive drab ANA 613 and British Gulf light stone. The rubber tires are painted Floquil weathered black. Markings are for an unknown unit of the Eighth Army. The decals went down fine on a semigloss surface. I then weathered the model with Tamiya weathering pastels.
It takes an experienced builder to make this Grant look good. But, even with its issues, the finished model does have appeal. I spent 28 hours building it.
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