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

Final Construction and Weathering

I'm cautious by nature, I guess, so I put off delicate or irreversible construction (sealing off areas that might need additional work) as long as possible. Event still, the microscopic photo-etched U-shaped hasps for latching the side doors closed did not survive the mating of the upper and lower hulls after painting.

The turret and basket were glued together only when I was certain the turret wouldn't rise above the deck because the basket was too long.

The tracks were carefully wrapped around the suspension one final time. Because the rear idler mounts had to be cobbled together and positioned in correspondence to the mounting plates on the bottom corners of the rear hull, the rear idler is positioned a tad lower as you look at it from the side.

The Tamiya kit has fender pieces that extend a bit under the upper hull. Verlinden provides sponsons that extend only to the overhanging firewall. This leaves the back third open to the underside of the hull. I glued some supports on the inside walls of the hull, and after mating the upper and lower hulls, I glued these filler pieces in place. This left several opens seams and some unevenness on the underside of the sponsons. I took my thinnest sheet of Plastruct and cut and painted strips to cover the surfaces.

Photos to come!

The tank was heavily weathered with WWII Productions powders mixed with vinegar into a milky wash. This gave me some very interesting patterns when it dried and actually made the weathering very durable. In a few places, though, where the wash had pooled and dried, the surface got glossy. This was toned down with a simple dusting of the powder.

I got the look I was going for, but it completely obliterated the subtle registration numbers on the hull sides! And it really toned down the yellow markings.

Again, I enjoyed the challenge of fixing up this kit the best I could, learned some new skills, and I'm very pleased with the result. I'm sure I'll enjoy building the Academy kit when it comes out, and even the ABM version if I can find one at a decent price. But this project will be the special one.

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