Academy Hobby Model Kits
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Until the mid 1990s, Academy was known as a Korean company that had produced cheap knockoffs of Tamiya kits. But the company turned that troublesome reputation on its ear when they came out with a series of completely original plastic kits, including the M18 Hellcat and two versions of the Tiger I with complete interiors. They also produced a few sets of German tankers and infantry, the quality of which was not going to make the boys at Tamiya or DML lose any sleep.

Academy went toe-to-toe with AFV Club on the M18 Hellcat and the M10 series of tank destroyers. Neither company scored a knockout, however, as all the kits had their pluses and minuses, champions and detractors. In 2006 the company eked out a little more mileage from their Hellcat molds to produce an M18 Super Hellcat pilot vehicle that never saw combat, and an M39 AUV (Armored Utility Vehicle), some 600 of which were used during the war as artillery haulers.

The company's long awaited M3 Lee was also released in 2006 and garnered mixed reviews. While it is a marked improvement over Tamiya's kit, it has some deficiencies, most notably in the suspension that was compromised by reusing previously engineered parts, some dimensional issues with the upper hull and storage boxes, and a turret with an exaggerated flattened wall below the cupola. On the plus side, it has the right tracks, a fairly complete interior, correctly sized driver's visor, two barrel options, and serial numbers on the major parts.


1382Allied and German Tank Supplies Set #1  
1384U.S. Machine Gun Set

Tracked Vehicles

M3 Stuart "Honey"
U.S. 80th Armored Regiment, Tank Task Force SchoolFt. Knox, Kentucky, June 1943
7th Armored Division (British)
8th King's Irish Hussars
Imperial Japanese Army (captured)Philippines, May 1943
1398M3A1 Stuart Light Tank1st Armored Division, 1st Armored Battalion, C Co., 3rd PlatoonTunisia, December 1943
3rd Marine Tank Battalion, "Painintheass"Bouganville, November 1943
3rd Marine Tank Battalion, "The pay off"Bouganville, November 1943
unidentified Soviet Army unitVoronezh, Russia, Summer 1942
unidentified Soviet Army unit1943
13206U.S. Medium Tank M3 Lee 1st Armored Division, 13th Armored Regiment, Combat Command A, #3Bizerte, Tunisia, May 1943
1st Armored Division, 13th Armored Regiment, 2nd Battalion, F Co. #3 "Kentucky"Souk-el Khemis, Tunisia, 1942
13203M4A2 Sherman U.S. Marines2nd Marine Tank Battalion, C Co., "Caesar" Tinian, 1945
4th Marine Tank Battalion, "Boomerang"Iwo Jima, 1945
4th Marine Tank Battalion, D Co., "Doris" Iwo Jima, 1945
4th Marine Tank Battalion, "Goldbrick, Jr." Tinian, 1945
5th Marine Battalion, "Nightmare II" Iwo Jima, 1945
13207M4A3 HVSS Sherman 105mm Howitzer and M1 Dozer Blade1st Marine Tank Battalion, B43Hagaru-ri, Korea, November 1950
1st Marine Tank Battalion, D43Hagaru-ri, Korea, November 1950

Copy of Tamiya kit

Rebox of their copy of the Tamiya kit, now including a set of four Masterbox infantry figures and small fret of photo etch
13210M7 Priest U.S. Howitzer Motor Carriage2nd Armored Division, B Battery, "Baboon"Sicily, July 1943
2nd Armored Division, 14th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Battery BNormandy, 1944
  British 1st Armoured Division, 11th Regiment Royal Horse ArtilleryEl Alamein, 1942
  Free French 2nd Armored Division, 64th RADB, 31st Firing BatteryFrance, September 1943
1375M-18 Hellcat unidentified U.S. unit

France, September 1944

unidentified U.S. unitGermany, December 1944

M18 Super Hellcat
(combination of M18 Gun Motor Carriage and M36 turret with 90mm gun)

pilot vehicle
35004M39 Armored Utility Vehicle
(M18 open-topped chassis)
2 unidentified units

M10 Tank Destroyer
Copy of Tamiya kit


U.S. Tank Destroyer M-10 Gun Motor Carriage

1397M10 Duck Bill Turret Late Version"Corsair II," 612 Tank Destroyer Battalion, 1st Armored DivisionFrance, July 1944
634th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 1st Armored DivisionGermany, October 1944
"Richelieu," French unitGermany, June 1945
unidentified unitFebruary, 1944

U.S Army M-36 Jackson Tank Destroyer
Copy of Tamiya kit

U.S Tank Destroyer M-36 Jackson Gun Motor Carriage
3rd Armored Division, 705 Tank Destroyer Battalion, C Co.France, 1944
"Pork Chop," unidentified unitGermany, 1945
unidentified unit Korea, 1953
"Puma," unidentified unit Tonkin, Indochina, 1953
M-12 155MM Gun Motor CarriageVarious, unidentified U.S. unitsEurope, 1944-45

Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © Timothy S. Streeter