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First Look Review
135
M5A1 Stuart (Late Type)
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by: Ted Hayward [ TED_HAYWARD ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Contents

This much-anticipated kit from AFV Club combines sprues from both the 2002 and 2007 Stuart releases, along with new parts. Sprues also include separate bolt heads and grease nipples (for the late-type wheels) to be removed with a sharp blade. Clear parts include an optional driver's external windscreen, periscopes, and taillight and headlight lenses. A metal 37mm gun barrel is included, along with beautifully-done photo-etched engine deck and air-cleaner screens.

The multi-part lower hull includes a remarkably-detailed floor plate, complete with a separate driver’s escape hatch. At the rear, the six-part engine access doors can be shown open. The inclusion of engine compartment bulkheads, complete with openings for the twin cooling fans, hints at a future release of an engine kit –perhaps from Hobby Fan? Superb bolt heads and other fastener detail raise the bar in this kit. The weld bead detail is among the best I’ve recently seen -it looks realistically human-applied. Stand-out features of this kit include the superb detail of the three .30 cal machine guns and their mounts –the commander’s external mount being collapsible within its shield, and separate fuel filler caps. A Cullins hedgerow cutter is another nice option provided in this kit.

construction

The 32 construction steps begin with the suspension. Happily, there are no fiddly springs in this kit –only the idler wheel arms are intended to articulate. Anyone with experience building a Stuart kit will have no difficulty; I believe that AFV Club directions are improving with recent releases. Two alternate drive sprockets are included: the earlier, open type and the later, solid disc type. In the kit, these are realistically-portrayed as two different sizes -the open type being larger, with 14 drive teeth; while the solid type is smaller, with 13 drive teeth. Two types of idler wheels and three types of road wheels are included: spoked, and two versions of the later, stamped type. The stamped road-wheels do not have any back detail, however. One sprue from the T-16 individual track link set (for the spare track links) is included, as well as two full-length T-16 vinyl tracks. I think the vinyl tracks are just fine for this kit, as the real vehicle didn’t exhibit the same track sag seen on other tanks. If you want individual tracks, AFV Club already have two sets fitting this kit: item AF35019: T16 Track , and item AF35020: T36E6 Track.

I was impressed with the level of detail seen through those large turret hatches. The kit includes a detailed 37mm gun (less the stabilizer). The barrel is turned aluminum. The turret interior is well-appointed and would make an excellent basis for an AM or scratch-built interior. The turret ring (the toothed part) is moulded into the hull roof. The roof has the turret ring separate, fitting neatly into the recesses on the roof. This only fits one way for the segments to line up correctly -there is a small arrow moulded, pointing to the front. Because some parts come from the earlier Stuart releases, there are a few unused holes to be filled, and a couple of holes to be drilled –a few more minutes’ work.
Before opening the box, I was initially tempted to make comparisons with the ancient Tamiya kit –a waste of time, as this kit represents the pinnacle of moulding technology available today.

Decals:

Markings are included for five different vehicles, including the ROC Army, Taiwan (1952).

Parting shots

A limited number of kits contain a collectible print of the box art.

References:

Stuart: US Light Tanks in Action
Steven.J.Zaloga. Squadron Signal Publications ISBN 0-89747-084-2
SUMMARY
Highs: Stand-out features of this release include the beautifully-rendered brass photo-etched engine deck and air-cleaner mesh, the Cullins hedgegrow blade, and fine weld bead detail.
Lows: Back detail of the stamped wheels omitted. The turret interior isn't 100 percent complete.
Verdict: A great little kit packed with impressive detail. Should be an easy and enjoyable build.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: AF 35161
  Suggested Retail: 39.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 19, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 92.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.65%

Our Thanks to AFV Club!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Ted Hayward (ted_hayward)
FROM: TAIPEI, TAIWAN / 台灣

From B.C., Canada. Living in Taiwan for past several years. I've been building kits for as long as memory serves -armor, aircraft, cars. Big fan of 1/16th scale armor kits. Currently serving as poster boy for working with CA adhesives in a well-ventilated area. My first kit was the positively awful ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Ted Hayward [ TED_HAYWARD ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Nice! Been looking forward to this one!
OCT 18, 2009 - 08:09 PM
This may sound silly and i'll probably sound anal for saying it, but in future id recommend photographing the sprues against a plain neutral background instead of the box top. The artwork visible behind the sprues is distracting when looking at the sprue details and actually draws my attention away from looking at the sprue.
OCT 18, 2009 - 08:24 PM
I've been waiting for this kit (and the M8). Is there any specific info on the markings provided?
OCT 19, 2009 - 08:57 PM
Good review!! I'm a little bit of a Fruil model metal tracks junkie, and I noticed they are releasing T16 track which will be perfect for this bad boy!
OCT 21, 2009 - 11:22 AM
Looks like a cracking kit. Thanks for the review. Al
OCT 21, 2009 - 01:00 PM
I am going out to buy this one now, thanks for the review. Robert
OCT 21, 2009 - 01:12 PM
I must say this is one of the nicest, smaller Allied kits I've recently had the pleasure to get my hands on. If it's a reasonable price in your part of the world, it'll make the ideal Christmas gift this year. I'm wasting no time getting cracking on it!
OCT 24, 2009 - 10:32 PM
I received this kit a while ago but just barely opened it as I needed this kit's road wheels to get a complete set for the M5A1 early. Upon examination of the road wheels, the extras included in this kit are not of much help. The details on them are different from the other road wheels. You now have four sets of four different solid road wheels. If you must have everything matching, you will still need aftermarket, or buy a second kit. Other than that, all the details are great.
JAN 30, 2010 - 05:32 PM
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