Review by Abilio Piñeiro Grajera

M3 Lee.

Takom, No. 2085, 1/35 scale.

The M3 Lee was a medium tank used during World War II used by American and British forces, but received different names depending on the turret configuration and crew size. The tanks with U.S. turrets were called Lee (Confederate General Robert E.Lee) while the British vehicles were called Grant (Union General Ulysses S. Grant).

First M3s were operational in late 1941, mainly deployed to Nothern Africa. Lee tanks had a high silhouette but without a good performance over the African terrain. Australian army and Russia also received over 900 units.

The Kit

But what`s inside the box?

You can find:

9 individually bagged sprues made in grey plastic. 300 parts.

One clear sprue.

Separate lower hull and turret mouldings.

A small PE fret.

A decal sheet with two marking choices.

Link&Lenght tracks with an assembly jig.

Takom offers a new tooled Lee/Grant tanks. This new mould improves significantly the old moulds from Tamiya and Academy. This kit represents the early M3 Lee version including the early typ exhaust configuration but M3 suffered changes over the times, mainly in the exhaust and mufflers system, side doors wihtout pistol port, gun counterweight and grouser and equipment stowage boxes added over rear sponsons.

The road wheels and sprockets are so crisp including most of the details of the original pieces. If you want to make them more accurate you can drill a tiny hole in the center of the eight nuts of the sprockets. The suspension bogies (19 parts each) are also very well represented but I think it would be great to add some texture as the original ones. The transmission covers includes the casting numbers and real texture. The T51 smooth pad reversible tracks are nicely done but has a tiny mould line in the edges that has to be removed.

Moving along the hull you will notice a large amount of crisp nuts, bolts and screw heads with nice detail. The hull roof and engine deck is represented in one piece each so you do not have to glue too many parts to have this part assembled. The kit includes the early round air cleaners and no exhaust fishtails through the rear screen. The main 75mm gun barrel comes as a single part including one-piece muzzle brake. The mantlet of the gun has a very realistic cast surface. The hull side panels is very well represented with all the rivets included with crisp detail also on the screws. The hatches has a nice internal detail.

There is no interior parts in this kit but it’s possible to use the old Academy interior.

The turret and the mantlet has a very delicate casting effect, inluding the casting numbers and lovely screws, but there is a small mould line that will have to be removed carefully. The 37mm barrel is a single piece a well as the main 75mm barrel but I think the kit would benefit with some afermarkets metal barrels. The machine gun barrel has a nice detail but again I think it could be better to replace them with turned metal options.

The small PE set includes the engine grill and some tiny parts as the headlight guards and etched knobs.

So, in conclussion, Takom kit includes nice and crisp details with a minimum amount of parts being a simple but accurate kit that can be built in a few days. The decal options, Red Army Lend&Lease or US Army vehicles during training, are all intended for Olive Drab colour.

Review sample provided by HobbyLink JAPAN.