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Tamiya 1/35 Desert Rat M3 Grant Build Review

By Jack Bruno

Date of Review March 2006 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Desert Rat M3 Grant with WARRIORS Figure Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35041 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Older kit that could still be built into a real looker Cons Heavy mold seams
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.98


About a year ago I had this overwhelming craving to do a Desert War scene without the typical Afrika Korps subject matter. I had finished a build/review on a Warriors 8th Army Figure here and decided to incorporate that figure with a tank. Not having anything around to fill the bill, I put the word out on the IPMS website and my buddy from IPMS/UK, Paddy McGannon, came to my rescue. He sent me this kit and surprised me even further with the completion of the wheel sections. Saved me a bunch of work, he did.

Anyway, the setting is the opening phase of El Alamein with a "Desert Rat" Grant passing by one of the infantry units on it's way to kick Erwin's hind end back a bit.

The Kit

This is Tamiya’s old M3 Grant kit and it's a tad bit out of date by today's standards but still an awesome looking kit when done. There's much work to be done filling in the sponsons and holes on the bottom hull (thanks Paddy) but to the rest of the kit, well, nothing to it. As with a lot of these older warriors, there are a ton of mold seams around and eliminating them took a few nights. During one of the NASCAR Races, California I think, I whacked the rest of it out. Nothing special, just a good clean build. I did add some plastic strut holding bars on the front hull and rear deck for appliance holding. You can't have enough fuel and water in the Sahara.

My usual routine had me spraying the entire tank Tamiya Flat Black (for the sake of simplicity, I used all Tamiya acylics) I then hit the lines of the Grant with Africa Yellow, followed by a center coat of Dark Yellow. Following the scheme on the instructions, I free handed Khaki and later Flat Brown for the three toned "Desert Rat" scheme.

After a good twenty-four hours of down time I gave it a good coat of Future and prepped for decals. These went on very well, although I was a bit scared because the decals were very old, .three days older than water, London water at that, but they were the only game in town.

After the decals set with a little Micro-Sol, it sat for another day and then it was hit with another light Future coat to seal the decals in. Now the fun part, .I started off with a section-by-section oil wash of Windsor Newton Van Dyke Brown (VD) followed by a Black and then a lighter VD Brown. After this dried a bit, I used a clean brush and some clear turpentine to wet the brush with, and moved some oil around causing blending and streaking around high movement area's like handle grips/tools and engine deck. After getting it the way I wanted it I sealed with a flat coat and dry-brushed a little more using yellows/browns and white. A celluclay mud was mixed for the base and some was applied in between the boggie wheels and under the vehicle, the rest went to the base. The tracks were painted Dark Gray and Futured/washed the same manner as the Tank and then flat coated.

Grant Grant
Grant Grant
Grant Grant
Grant Grant

The Base

A simple wooden plaque was used, two to give it some height. The sides were masked off, celluclay applied and the figure base, which I thought was cool, glues in the corner front. Track patterns were pressed into the base while still wet and dried beautifully especially with adding some white glue to minimize shrinkage and give it some sticky splendor. It took a couple of days to dry and was painted Khaki, African Yellow and dry-brushed with Buff and White after an oil wash of VD Brown.


Well, it came off very well and I hope to show it at a few upcoming shows, then sell it to support the 15 neighborhood kids I've seemed to inherit.