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Here it is at last, the first of Osprey’s new Osprey Modelling series to deal with tanks, and very welcome it is too! Steve Zaloga needs no introduction as a habitué of missing-lynx, author of many books for Osprey and other publishers, and frequent contributor to Military Modelling magazine.
Here he takes us in detail through the building of three Stuart variants: an M3A3 of the French Deuzieme Division Blindee in France, August July 1944 from the AFV Club kit, a Russian M3A1 at Novorossisk, February 1943, built by cross-kitting the Tamiya M3 and Academy M3A1, and an M5A1 of 3rd Armored Division in Normandy, July 1944, with major corrections to the Tamiya kit.
These are comprehensively described and illustrated. He also includes no fewer than six shorter write-ups describing other projects, from an early M3 in the Philippines in December 1941 to the Yugoslav-modified M3A3 mounting a Pak 40 7.5cm anti-tank gun. These six are very brief notes with good photographs of the work done, but his full-length articles describing how to do it are cited in a reference section so those who want them know where to look.
As well as all this, there are also notes on the Stuart tank itself and its development into the variants modelled and on the tools he uses. The available kits and their problems are considered in the modelling chapters, which also include descriptions of his techniques for finishing the models, painting figures, and making bases. Also in each section are good reference photographs of various features of the real Stuarts – even rarely-shown ones like how the folding pintle of the late M5A1 worked.
To end the book there’s a useful page of colour swatches with notes on their use. This includes Steve’s conclusions on the much-debated subject of the “right” Olive Drab for models of WW2 US tanks. Alas, there are no scale plans, a sad omission by Osprey but they are available in Steve’s Squadron/Signal book The Stuart Tank in Action.
The three main builds here are described as Intermediate, Advanced, and Master level. That shouldn’t put off anyone who thinks their skill not up to these levels, there’s a lot here to help improve your skills even for a beginner in armour modelling and personally I’d say this book was perfectly suitable for them. Highly recommended! (It would have been very highly recommended if Osprey had included 1/35 scale plans).