Lee/Grant Tank (M3 Lee/Grant)
This is a kit which has stood the test of time really well. Airfix chose the best model possible, the early M3. This is the most typical, and the easiest on which to base conversions great and small. There are now some beautiful resin kits on the market, but if it is well built the Airfix version still looks the part, not least because of all the flexible one-piece tracks those of the M3 are among the most convincing, and we feel it makes a very good base or the variants that can be made using the Matador kits.
The Hull. This gives a really good impression of the roomy and boxy original. As usual we would advise building the hull BEFORE adding the bogies, as then it is much easier to get them all aligned. The hull is not easy if you are not used to vehicle kits. The parts do fit well, but it is easy to get them slightly out of alignment. The hull is not strong until the glue has really bonded, so it is worth setting it aside and taking time over all the track and turret parts before putting it under strain.
The Track is a good representation of the early rubber block type. M3 track should not sag, so when you fix it you will tend to strain the drive sprocket and rear idler. We would advise a beginner to strengthen both with slips of polystyrene or epoxy putty and make sure they are really hard before adding the track. The pictures of Matador kits made up show how unobtrusively this can be done.
The Turrets The Grant turret is the weakest part of the kit. It is both too small and the wrong shape. The Lee turret is slightly too small, but the shape is passable. It needs careful assembly to align the parts, and would benefit from a co-axial MG for the 37mm gun.