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M3A1 Scout Car

Zvezda 1/35 M3A1 Scout Car Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2008 Manufacturer Zvezda
Subject M3A1 Scout Car Scale 1/35
Kit Number 3581 Primary Media Styrene
Pros This is what modeling is about! Cons
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $22.98

First Look

M3A1 Scout Car
M3A1 Scout Car
M3A1 Scout Car
M3A1 Scout Car

The White Motor Company developed an armored scout car for the US Army in the late 1930s designated M3. While a little over 60 of these cars were initially produced, the US Army decided to adopt the M3 as a standard armored reconnaissance vehicle with a number of engineering improvements incorporated into the design. This new vehicle was designated M3A1 and was recognizable by the anti-ditching roller added to the front of the vehicle.

While production was underway, the clouds of war in Europe and in the Pacific pressed the Army to expand production to support the inevitable. Before the war ended, around 21,000 of these scout cars were produced, many of which would be exported through the lend-lease program to the Soviet Union, France and others. White Motor Company would later take the body of the scout car on an extended chassis and new rear-end to develop the also-famous M3 halftrack.

Zvedza (Russian for 'star') has laid hands on the old Peerless Max tooling from the mid-1970s for the M3A1 Armored Scout Car. There has never been another kit of this widely-produced combat vehicle developed for 1/35. Perhaps Trumpeter or DML might tackle the subject one day, but until then, this is the only game in town.

Molded in olive drab styrene, the kit is presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts for the windshield. The molds are starting to show their age as there is a touch of flash on some of the parts, but this is no problem for the experienced modeler.

While some of the detailing is a bit outdated, the kit was highly detailed for its time. It offers the modeler a interesting opportunity to produce a subject that will stand out on the contest table for its lack of availability in the 'main stream'..

Zvezda has also produced the soft-top for the vehicle which will provide other unique modeling options. A few of the details would benefit from a little robbery out of your spares box for the wheels and details that would set our particular vehicle off for the theater and mission it was configured to support.

Markings are provided for three different vehicles: an M3A1 from the 1st Army, D-Day, 1944; an M3A1 of the Free French Army; and, an M3A1 captured by the German Afrika Korp and pressed into service in Tunisia, 1943.

I saw this on my hobby shop's shelf and has so much potential for a diorama or vignette that I had to bring it home. If you have some decent modeling skills, this would also be a fun project for you and would look great with the Tamiya 1/35 M8/M20 scout cars, ANY of the multitude of 1/35 M4 Shermans, and especially with the upcoming DML 1/35 US halftracks.