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After 30 years of the Tamiya old mold, around 2002, and nearly by the time AFV Club and Skybow announced two new molds of this important light tank. Both kits (Skybow and AFV Club) are excellent, but the Skybow´s includes a mantlet cover made out of soft plastic, a similar material used for the tracks. Though this mantlet cover was not obligatory (in the real thing it was a dust cover and could be removed to leave the metal mantlet exposed), most of the pictures show it placed.
Some time later, Okuno, a Japanese company, offered the Skybow mold but including new decals for the Japanese versions. The mold is the same, in fact the trees have the Skybow brand molded and includes the valuable vinyl mantlet. That was the reason why I thought of building a M41, I decided I would build the Skybow/Okuno mold. Thus, without hesitation, I purchased the Okuno kit.
As the M41 was used by the United States in times of peace and did not see service in no real combat, making it weathered and dirt was not an option. Using imagination, we could represent a manoeuvre vehicle in Alaska with a green/white scheme, but it was not my idea to represent not very conventional schemes
The solution was to represent a foreign vehicle, and within the countries they were used, South Vietnam gave better options to accomplish the weathering and paint effects.
Then, I decided to represent a South Vietnamese vehicle, very damaged due to years of combat and showing clear evidence of having been used in rugged terrain.
The kit represents a M41A1, though the differences with other versions (M41A2 y M41A3) are mainly interior ones. The position of the tools and the different shapes of the mudguards are characteristics of the different production batches, not to the different versions. Externally, there are no differences among the A1, A2 and A3 versions.
This gives us some freedom with the small details, since in a unit that used second hand vehicles, to find several of different production batches would not be strange.
It was straightforward. I did need a bit of putty just for the joint of both turret halves or any other minor conflictive point. Nothing serious.
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