Building Tamiya's M3 Lee
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

The Lower Hull Exterior

Improvements to the lower hull included giving the three-piece nose a cast steel texture with some Mr. Surfacer (also used on the cast area of the 75mm sponson turret and the commander's cupola atop the gun turret). I also added some casting numbers from an Academy M10 tank destroyer kit. (This is something every model kit should come with, if its not already cast into the product.)

With the Grant, I got the correct rear hull wall and mufflers; however, the exhausts on the later version I wanted to build were configured differently than what is dictated in the Grant instructions (or the Lee instructions, for that matter). M3 Lees I've seen in the field in North Africa used the same mufflers as on the early M4A1. These come in the Grant set and are pretty well done, just needing some wire and wing nuts to finish them off. The fishtail exhausts on my version are mounted below the mufflers, where the round cover plates are molded onto the back hull. I used the Grant parts # A19 but carved out the opening before adding some plastic card to provide a thicker "mouth" which I then carved out. Into the mouth I added a few vanes, though not as many as in actuality. The pipe ends of the exhausts were trimmed down considerably and the pieces were glued directly to the cover plates.

The other big alteration to the lower hull was to remove the rearmost vertical line of rivets and reposition them forward in line with the engine wall. A few other rivets were added as shown in drawings and reference photos.



Introduction and Research Notes
The Suspension and Tracks
The Lower Hull Exterior
The Lower Hull Interior
The Upper Hull Exterior
The Upper Hull Interior
The Turret
Painting and Decals
Final Construction and Weathering
Diorama (coming soon)


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter