Monday, 14 October 2013

M5 Stuart to M3 Honey 15mm PSC Kit Conversion


Phil Steele coined the "Pointless Conversion" phrase during one of his exemplary builds of an SU-122, observing that sometimes an apparently pointless project made sense. This conversion is one such as I already own a couple of perfectly servicable metal M3s with the later round cast turret. Phil brought a box of PSC M5s back with him from a show at my request. At the time of purchasing, I thought the spare hulls  would do nicely for the Western Desert and for Eastern Front Lend-lease. I knew that M3s were used, but didn't realise that M5s were not, or that more importantly all three hull variations in the PSC kit were M5s. Bobbins!

Undaunted, I set about a pointless conversion. First of all the rear deck was cut off and reversed. Saw away the fuel tanks and save them, they will be needed later. I used a block of wood as the lower hull with the upper hull shimmed to get it level, and the tracks glued straight to the block.

Next, the front glacis plate was chopped away. Card (plasti- or paper) was used to deck in the holes, and was trimmed level once it had set. I do most of this with scissors and a fresh sharp scalpel, obviating the need for much filler, although when this technique goes wrong, the bodges are more obvious.
stuart 3

The hull was reasonably straightforward to build up and a spare PSC T-34 fuel tank made the vertical exhaust chambers. The suitably chopped fuel tanks went back on in a reversed position, although looking at some of the desert pictures, square stowage boxes occupied these spots.


A cork core sheathed in card formed the frame for the turret. I ran the angles by eye, filing and slicing away until it 'looked about right' although it is probably a tad over scale. The PSC commander in beret deflected attention away from any deficiencies in this area. Wire from the bits bin made a gun and some Milliput will provide a mantlet.

The conversion appears slightly too short in the hull, but I wanted it to fit in with my existing two metal M3s. Job done. I suppose I should paint it now instead of sending it Soviet-style into its first game wearing nothing but an undercoat. Mantlet, paint and more faffing about to follow ...