France/Chinese Army

Kit #: PS720132 Preview by Kenneth Overby - cpl_overby(at)yahoo(dot)com
Edited by Marc Mercier
There has been a lot of excitement over this little model and to be honest I am excited as well. .
The detail is beautiful, right down to the "screws" that hold the engine deck in place, and the tracks (Vs. the ones that come with the PSC M5A1)
But every kit has a few "shortcomings" so I will post the good and the bad, and let you make up your own mind.
First off is the box, the art is very nice, and well meant to entice you to buy (worked on me).

Now I would show you the back, but it is the same as the last page of the instructions so I'll pass on that.
Here are the instructions. They are very clear, no missed steps, and easy to follow.

Two nice small frets of PE parts :
and a small sheet of decals :
Here is "one of" the sprue (always two per box)
And here are a few "close ups"

Now because these all come "two to a box"
I did a partial build of one to see how it all fit.
Now I purposely left a couple of items off, because I am going to talk about them directly.

Lets talk about the beautiful Browning 1919 .30 cal the molding is clean and crisp, with beautiful detail.
Not much room for improvement, but it can be done if you want. Some people may want to replace the barrel with the one from Miniart and putting on the side brackets may be a "bit" tricky for some. I'll explain as I go.


Here is the .30 cal :
here is the gun mount bracket :
this is when I noticed this as well, but it has no bearing on the kit :
here are the mounting points for the gun mount :
you have to do this to the bracket to ensure proper fit, I drilled out one of the holes with a No.79 drill bit.
now the bracket is mounted, but can be improved (if you so choose) :
Side by side :
and on the MG :
Here is a view of a 1/35 model to show how it should look :
now let's look at the hatches; everyone likes open hatches. Unfortunately, you will disappointed here.

here are the hatches, they are molded closed :

Now some if not most people say : "I'll just take a nice new sharp #11 blade and open them". That's all well and good except....

That post you see in the center is a locking "sleeve" that fits over a "post" in the lower hull.

Aanyway attempting to cut open the hatches will greatly weaken the upper hull, and while you may get one hatch open.....
attempting to cut open the second may cause you to "snap off" the sleeve and deform the upper hull.

Now the "stowage basket" for the rear is a frail little thing.
When I cut it from the fret and put the bends into it, I found that it was "too big".

I took a real hard look and decided that I "did not" bend it wrong, it was just plain too big. So I took Evergreen strips and glued them around the "contact points" for the basket.

after that the basket fits just fine :

Now....let's talk tracks (yes, the tracks). At first glance they "look" great, they have the "track pads" in the correct locations, (even a little "track sag" between the 1st and 2nd return rollers)
and have separated drive sprockets.

but when you look "closely", you see this :

At first glance, a separate drive sprocket is an outstanding feature :

but if you look very close :

So I took my Dremel
and one of the smallest "cylinder" bits I have to start with.

after I did a little bit of grinding, I stopped to see my progress.
...seeing that I was doing OK, I continued.

I thought that I was done, but I needed to go a little deeper.
Here I am done :

This is a view from the other side :
This shows just how much I had to grind away :
here shown from the other side just how much was taken away :
and here is how it looks with the drive sprocket in place :
And here it is on the tank :

So....lets now look at omissions. In the kit(s) there are a lot of little details that, while not imperative to the model, are a matter of complaint in other models that have been released in the past.
I'll show you like this :

  • first will be a pic of the model showing it as is
  • then a pic showing where these items are missing
  • then a pic of a 1/35 model showing these items "in place"

the front of the tank :
The back (rear) :
the turret :
Did I mention that there is no turret "floor"?
When assembled, there is an open space in the back of the turret.
Almost forgot about the only open hatches in the kit(s):
all interior detail has been completely omitted.

Now some of the missing parts can be gleamed from any of the Mirage Stuarts kits, such as the lifting points, extra grousers (from their M5 and M5A1).
The fire extinguishers you'll need to get from Dragon's Firefly's. I also recommend replacing the searchlight with a Dragon one.
S-Models is a "2-piece" part and I dropped mine twice.
There are no options that I know of for the radio antenna, the hatches, and the smoke grenade launchers.


For the "Gamer" this is a fine little kit, it is fast to build and on the battle table will represent that M3A3 quite nicely.
For the "Static builde"r it will take a little more work.... but... it will work.

Preview sample purchased by the author.


This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 14 february 2015