M41A3 Walker Bulldog
AFV Club 1:35th Scale Kit No. AF 35041
First Look Review
by Terry Ashley
By 1953 the M41 had completely replaced the M24 in US Service although it was never used in anger by the US.
The M41 was well liked by its crews due to its high degree of mobility but one drawback was its lack of range with the engine being a real gas guzzler which meant it only had a range of 100 miles on a full tank.
A large number of M41s were supplied to the South Vietnamese Army and gave a
good account of itself against the North Vietnamese T-54/55 tanks.
Other major users included, Brazil, Denmark, Taiwan and Thailand.
Continental 500 hp AOS-895-5 fuel injected gas engine.
The quality of the moulding is excellent with fine crisp details on most parts including many very small parts such as grab handles and toolbox handles as separate pieces. Pin ejection marks are kept to a minimum with those present only because there was no choice due to the moulding process, but these are only minor and should be easy to remove.
The suspension has separate axles, shock absorbers and return roller mountings with the road wheels being from set No.AF 35045 released earlier this year. Detail on the wheels is excellent with the rubber section of the outer road wheel as separate parts to give good definition on the undercut around the rim. The idler wheels are in two parts each to reproduce the oval cut-outs in these wheels. The drive sprockets also have the lightening holes included in the outer rim, although there are some minor pin ejector marks on the outer faces.
Small poly caps are trapped between the road wheels for attaching to the axles as per Tamiya to make it easy to add the wheels after painting.
AFV Club has also released a set of individual T91E3 Track links for this kit but if you didn’t want to pay extra these tracks would more than do.
The upper hull features nice weld seam detail and has cut-outs for the driver’s periscope which are separate pieces. The upper sections of the fender storage boxes are included with the upper hull with the sides and bottoms of the boxes as separate parts. The handles on the storage boxes are given as separate parts. The large rear exhausts have the end pipe section separate from the main exhaust body with the pipes being already hollowed out. The barrel travel lock on the rear left fender can be assembled to be movable which is a nice touch.
The tool rack on the front right hand fender has separate tools again for good
definition, the front sections of the fenders are also separate parts as are
the front lights as you would imagine but the light guards are a little on the
thick side but should be easy to thin down, unless you want to wait for Eduard to come to the rescue here?
There are other smaller detail items on the hull which are all separate parts including the grab handle on the driver’s hatch.
The larger tie downs/handles on the turret sides are separate parts as are the main sight housing and rear storage box.
The barrel is in nicely turned aluminium which includes the fume extractor with a two part plastic T muzzle break with this then fitting into the mantlet which also features a separate sight opening cover. One feature seen on the M41 is the large canvas dust cover from the turret front over the mantlet, unfortunately this is not included or mentioned in the instructions and you are left to sort this out for yourself?
An additional small sprue from the AFV Club M88 kit is included with the .50 cal ACAV shield sometimes fitted to ARNV M41s. This has a separate insert to the instructions and is marked “limited” so I can only presume it will only be included in the initial release of the kit.
Another small sprue includes a .50cal MG with flash suppressor included as well as a nice vehicle mounted M60 GPMG, although this isn’t used on this kit it’s nice for the spares box.
(Yes, there are white markings on the sheet, vehicle reg numbers, stenciling and US Stars)
- US Army 1st Armored Regt. West Germany, 1956
- US Army 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division, Thailand 1962
- 2 x South Vietnamese Army, 1972 (no other details given)
- 3 x R.O.C. Marine Corps (no other details given)
Obviously a comparison with the recent re-released Tamiya M41 is inevitable; I can sum this up very quickly. There is no comparison, the Tamiya kit is 30 years old and shows it against this new kit, that’s about all that needs be said on that subject.
Also see a review of the AFV Club Etched Set for the M41
A History of the American Light Tank Volume 2
R.P.Hunnicutt Presidio Books.
- M41 Walker
Bulldog in Action
Squadron Signal Publications No. 2029
- US Army
Manual TM 9-2350-201-12
76-mm Gun Full Tracked Cambat Tanks M41 (T41E1) and M41A1 (T41E2)