Kagero TopDrawings- Medium Tank M3 Lee I
Author: Slawomir Zajaczkowski
ISBN : 9788366148482
Paperback, 11.7 X 8.3 inches
20 pages full of drawing sheets in 1/35 scale and 7 color profiles (one in multiple views)
NOTE: Due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, AMPS was supplied with a PDF of this book which was used for this review.
The M3 Lee Medium Tank was known as the Grant in England where it was also used. It was created as a replacement for the M2 tank which was severely outclassed in the beginning of WWII. Production began in earnest around August of 1941 and it was meant purely as a transition stop gap as it lacked a turret for the M2 75mm cannon, which was instead mounted on a right-side front sponson. A smaller 37mm cannon was mounted in the small top turret to attack enemy vehicles. The later M3A1 variant replaced the riveted turret construction with a safer cast version, which also lightened the tank and accelerated production. Both guns had gyroscopic stabilizers and also mounted two to three Browning M1919 .30 caliber machine guns and had a crew of six. Overall, 6258 M3 tanks were produced and served in British, Australian, Soviet and American armies.
Typical of the TopDrawings series, there is not much text, other than a short introduction which gave me much of the information in the introduction. What you do get inside are a series of excellent 1/35 scale line drawings for a handful of variants, as well as seven excellent color profiles. For each set of scale drawings, , you get a right, front and rear, left and top side view of the tank. They represent the following:
- Sheet 1 & 2-- represent an Early Production tank that was the benchmark for all that followed.
- Sheet 3 & 4-- represents a Mk. I with three fans, and a counterweight on the M2 75mm barrel for the gyroscopic stabilizer.
- Sheet 5 & 6-- represents a modified M3 with containers installed on the rear sweep of the hull and a change in the antenna mount.
- Sheet 7 & 8 (interrupted by four color profile plates)- Medium Production variant with pressed road wheels instead of the spoked ones, as well as a modified hatch on the left side of the hull
- Sheet 9 & 10-- represents Late Production variant where M2 gun was replaced with the M3 75mm with a longer barrel, as well as modified hatches, boxes on the hull roof and frontal armor, and an improved exhaust system.
- Sheet 11 & 12-- represents Mid Production with the M3 gun and modified exhaust system.
- Sheet 13 & 14-- represents a Mid Production that was modified in a field workshop that took part in the Battle of Makin, featuring boxes on the rear glacis, smoke grenade launchers on the left side of the turret, and two additional antenna sockets on the left glacis.
- Sheet 15-- represents a Late Production with M3 gun and the above modifications (left and top side views are missing from this one).
The seven excellent color profiles include information of colors used in camouflage and include the following schemes:
- F Company, 12th Battalion, 3rd Regiment of 1st Armored Division from Tunisia, January 1943 (left side)
- 12th Company, 13th Regiment of 1st Armor Division from Tunisia, April 1943 (left side)
- "Kentucky" F Company, 2nd Battalion, 13th Regiment of 1st Armor Division "Operation Torch" from Oran, Algeria, December 1942 (all five views are present with this scheme)
- British 10th Armor Division, North Africa, October 1942 (right side)
- Soviet 241st Armored Brigade from the Battle of Stalingrad period (left side)
The rear cover contains two more color profiles:
- Unknown Soviet unit from Battle of Kursk, Summer 1943
- Australian Second Army, Burma from 1942-1943
This is another excellent volume in the TopDrawings series. It'll be a great addition to your bookshelf if you have a Lee kit sitting in the stash- whether it be an older Academy or Tamiya, or the excellent newer Takom or Miniart offerings. The color profiles alone are great references for possible paint schemes, complete with the paint shades you'd need to recreate them. Kagero has really outdone themselves with this one and it has me itching to grab my Miniart interior kit out of the stash and move it up the to-build pile.
Highly Recommended for any builder or history nut interested in the M3 Lee.
Thanks goes out to Kagero Publishing and Casemate Publishing for this review sample PDF.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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