"Burma" Lee Detail Set
Trakz 1:35 Set #TX 0125
Review by Terry Ashley


This fairly simple update set from Trakz is to update the Academy M3 Lee (kit #13206) to represent the M3 Lee of the British Fourteenth Army that saw action in the Burma campaign. These tanks had a number of differences from standard M3s with many being the later production M3s that had the side hull doors eliminated and the three ventilators added to the hull and turret tops.

They also carried additional storage boxes and often had the turret cupola removed with Grant style split hatches added to the cupola opening as well as being fitted with the later solid stamped road wheels.

This Trakz set consists of 11 parts in light cream resin with a new turret, cupola, ventilators, storage boxes and other smaller items but the kit itself will need additional work to eliminate the side doors and to add the solid stamped road wheels as fitted to most “Burma” Lees which are provided in the Formations set #F068.

The resin parts are fairly cleanly cast but there was a bit of mould residue in a couple of the recesses on the turret and cupola as well as some excess resin to be removed from some areas such as under the gun plus the usual casting blocks to be removed.

The turret is a single casting that includes the gun mounting which means the gun will remain in the neutral position which isn’t really a problem but the sight opening is also moulded in place but doesn’t line up with the barrel but is pointing up in the air which might be problem when acquiring a target.

The turret has a nice surface cast effect but the left side of the gun mounting is too thin and not rounded enough and there is a separate counterweight for under the barrel with the kit 37mm barrel and .30cal machine kit guns to be added.

Some of the detail on the turret is not well defined such as the gun mounting screws and the three small fittings around the turret roof as well as some excess resin inside the roof ventilator and the pistol port on the right rear is undersized.

The cupola is a separate part with separate hatch but this is cast in one piece with a very large casting block that will need care in removing. If you want to show the hatches open you will need to cut this into sections and add internal details to the hatches.

The fit of the cupola to the turret opening was not good with the diameter of the cupola being about .05mm larger than the opening meaning you either have to enlarge this to accept the cupola. If you wanted to depict the M3 without the cupola you will need to scratch the split hatch to fill the opening.

There are two additional ventilator domes to be added to the hull roof but no indication as to where is given as there are no instructions in the set so additional references will be needed.

These will also be needed to identify and locate a few of the remaining smaller parts as well as the additional storage boxes with the two larger boxes added at the back of the sponsons over the rear fender extensions.

Unfortunately while this set provides the basics for converting the Academy Lee to the “Burma” configuration much of the detail is poorly defined and there are detail and fit issues with the parts.

There is also some other modifications needed on the Academy kit to represent the later production M3 with the ventilators added but you can cut the ventilator from the turret roof to depict the earlier version with the hull side doors but these mostly had the solid wheels fitted.

Not much to recommend unfortunately unless you don’t mind a bit of correction work on your update sets.

Resin parts
Three views of turret casting
SHERMAN A History of the
American Medium Tank

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
ISBN 0-89141-080-5
M3 Lee/Grant
Medium Tank 1941-45

Osprey New Vanguard
ISBN 1 84176 889 8
Medium Tank M3 to M3A5
General Lee/Grant

Tanks in Detail 4
by Terry J Gander.
AFVisual M3 Lee
Letterman Publications
By David Doyle
M3 Lee/Grant
in action
Squadron Signal Publicatrions
Armour series #2033
Classic AFV's No.2
Lee & Grant

An AIRFIX book
Allied & Axis No.10
M3 Lee Pt.1
Ampersand Publishing
Allied & Axis No.13
M3 Lee Pt.2
Ampersand Publishing
Allied & Axis No.14
M3 Lee Pt.3
Ampersand Publishing

Thanks to VLS/Modelmecca for the review kit.

Page created November 29, 2006

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