Lulubelle - M3 Medium Tank Study

Ok, I'm elbow deep in the Academy M3 Lee kit right now. I really thought it would be a much quicker project than it's turned out to be... but that will be another post. Like I've mentioned in past posts, I usually spend at least as much time and money in research on a project as I do on the kit itself. Books, magazines, and in this case videos. Some of you are familiar no doubt with the classic 1943 film Sahara. It starred Humphrey Bogart, Lloyd Bridges and a host of other lesser known actors but the biggest star was the M3 Lee tank (named Lulubelle)that carried the actors around the desert. Humphrey Bogart's character (Master Sergeant Joe Gunn - cool name) loved the tank and I fell in love with it too. My wife gave me a copy of the movie on DVD for Christmas a few years back and besides it being a drop dead cool movie it's a beautiful study of a wartime M3. I captured a few screen shots of the tank so let me introduce Lulubelle...

Here are a few overall views of the vehicle;
Like I said, Joe loved that tank....
Nice detail shot of the inside of the side doors.

Lulubelle's derriere. Note the square air cleaners and the flared exhausts. There are also angled end pieces shielding the air cleaners.

Another shot of the side door interior. There's also a good view of the rear view port and one of the 75mm ammo containers with .45 cal ammo drums for the Thompson stowed on top.

A closer shot of the rear view port and ammo stowage. That's the turret basket behind Bogey.
Some views of the cramped fighting compartment from the right side door. That's the breech of the 75mm main gun on the right and the turret basket on the left.

The radio man's position. Note the two bow mounted M1919 light machine guns. At least one of these were usually removed in M3s that deployed to North Africa.

The driver's position.
A very nice shot of the interior of the drivers view port.

A few shots of the early vertical volute spring suspension and the T 51 rubber block tracks.

Note how well used and torn up the rubber block tracks are.

This shot shows the contours of the turret and commander's cupola, a considerable problem with the Academy kit. Also note how the direct vision block covers are open.

A few nice closeups of the turret showing the texture of the cast turret and cupola.

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