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M3A1 Lee Medium Tank (Cast Hull) - 1:72 Mirage Hobby


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M3A1 Lee Medium Tank (Cast Hull)
1:72 Mirage Hobby


The M3 was an American medium tank design which was intended as a stop-gap measure to provide both the US Army and the British Army with a reasonably well-armed tank whilst they awaited development of the more modern M4 Sherman. The resulting product was configured in a similar fashion to the French Char B and the Soviet T-35 in that it employed a large (in this case 75mm) gun mounted in the hull and a smaller (37mm) gun in a turret. This was intended to give the M3 both anti-tank and anti-personnel capability.

The design had obvious limitations but was put into production owing to the chronic shortage of tanks available to the Allies (in fact the British had asked their American allies to produce Crusader or Matilda tanks in the States, but were refused). As with the M4 Sherman, the M3 was first deployed by the British during the North African campaign. In this role it was valued for its reliability and sound choice of main armament, although its high silhouette was found to be a serious drawback. The M3 was also supplied to the Russians, although it was somewhat less popular within the Red Army who named it "a grave for six"! The rivited hull of the tank was found to provide shrapnel inside in the form of the rivits when rounds failed to penetrate which lead to the M3A1 cast hull and the later M3A2 welded hull, though in comparison to the rivited hulls not that many were produced.

The Kit
The Mirage Hobby range of M3 tanks has been with us since the early 2000s and looks on opening the box to be a fairly comprehensive kit. There are four main sprues of parts, two smaller sprues, the main cast hull, a flexible sprue with the tracks and tow cable on, a small sheet of photo-etch and a small decal sheet. All the parts are wellmoulded with no flash or defects, the cast texture on the hull is very approriate for this scale.


Construction starts with the main lower hull. The sides and front are added to the lower part. The main bogies are then made up. One wheel is moulded to the upper return roller, the other wheel is then added as the parts are sandwiched between the front and rear parts. Once three bogies are made up for each side they are added along with the single piece idler wheels and the two part drive sprockets. The plates over the wheels and the rear plate is then added. The mudguards for the rear are also added at this stage.


Construction can then move to the main hull. The 75mm gun is put together this is two sides with a two part muzzle. This along with its mount are then put into the main hull. The main side hatches which are a combination of plastic and PE are then added. Once this is done the upper and lower hulls can be joined up.



The upper turret is completed along with its 7mm gun. This is a complicated part with 14 separate parts. Once built this is set aside for late. Next up a complete set of handles, hatches, tools, and ancillary parts are added to the hull. Once all of these are on the tracks and turret are added. The last touch for the model is to add the flexible tow cable.


A small sheet of their own making provides markings for two tanks;
  • Armoured Force School & Replacement Center - Fort Knox - 1942
  • Aberdeen Proving Ground - 1942
This is a comprehensive kit in 1/72 and no doubt will look the part once built up. Highly recomended for the small scale armour builder.


Review sample courtesy of

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Blimey.....You got life out of Mirage! :analintruder:

Cheers for the review.....Is everything Mirage claim to be on the sprue actually there? Their M5 Stuart kits have been a bit variable on that front, none of mine have tail-lights. :rolleyes:

PS - Cool to finally see a cast-hull M3 on the market.....No doubt I'll feel the need to buy one at some point. :coolio:

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It looks all there, I did notice when I went through the pictures the handle on the axe is broken. It is a nice kit.

Mirage Hobby have recently come on board with review samples so hopefully see some more from them.


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Cool.....Any chance you could request their Pz.IV Ausf E:


I've got all the others (I think) but still haven't seen this one, irritatingly it's the one I want the most too! :rolleyes:

PS - Yes I know the Pz.IV Ausf E didn't serve in the battle for France and no, I have no idea why Mirage called it that! :doh:

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