Trumpeter 1/35 M1A1/A2 Abrams 5 in 1

KIT #: 01535
PRICE: $24.99 CDN
DECALS: Several options
REVIEWER: Garth Yu
NOTES: Reboxing of previous kits, combines all previously released versions in one boxing.

HISTORY

     The M1 Abrams is a third generation main battle tank (MBT) employed by the American military and many of its allies. The M1A1 variant is the most numerous in the US military with over 4000 in service. The M1A1ís armament consists of the powerful 120 mm Rheinmetal smoothbore gun, a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and two pintle mounted weapons on the turret. The power plant is a 1500hp Honeywell gas turbine engine mated to an Allison transmission; the engine can run off of jet fuel, gasoline or diesel but is optimized for use with JP8 jet fuel. The M1A1 has excellent survivability due to its armor package, the primary component being composite Chobham armor that was developed in the UK. Further protection is provided by depleted uranium mesh, Kevlar lining on the interior and optional reactive armor plates. The M1A2 and M1A2 System Enhanced Package (SEP) variants are visually distinguished from the earlier M1A1 by the commanderís independent thermal viewer (CITV) located on top of the turret. The CITV allows the tank to engage targets in rapid sequence. Currently under development is a new M1A3 variant of the tank.

THE KIT

     First off, this is a very impressive kit since it allows the modeler to build one of five different variants. The choices are: a plain M1A1 HA, an M1A1 HA with two different mine clearing options, an early M1A2 and a Panther engineering vehicle. The kit is packaged in a very sturdy cardboard box to ensure none of the parts are broken in transit. The kit comprises 616 parts in 14 sprues, all the sprues are carefully packaged in plastic bagging for protection. For the tankís tracks, the modeler can choose to piece together plastic tracks from sprues or use the single piece rubber tracks. To enhance detail, a piece of plastic mesh is provided along with a brass chain and transparent plastic pieces to enhance the look of the optical equipment. Crew figures are provided along with rucksacks and equipment bags, unfortunately personal weapons such as rifles are not included.

     Upon closer inspection, the kit provides a very detailed Abrams model. Details come in the form of engraved panel lines and raised detail that is perfect for dry brushing and weathering. Of the large parts count many are tiny pieces for detailing, which will ensure a lot of time dedicated to assembly. The plastic is well molded and almost free of flash; ejector pin markings are almost nonexistent as well. The decal sheet provides markings for five vehicles. The first option is an IFOR M1A1 HA painted in brown with dark and light greens, another M1A1 is a USMC vehicle with mine plow in desert tan, the final M1A1 is painted in a two tone desert tan and brown scheme with the mine rollers attacked. The M1A2 is a trial model ĎA21í painted in two tone desert tan and dark green, the final vehicle is an overall green M1 Panther engineering vehicle belonging to the US Army. The painting guide is in full color and the decals are bright and sharply detailed; however the decals do seem to be very thin.

CONCLUSIONS

     Trumpeterís 5 in 1 Abrams kit is an excellent model and a bargain too. After finishing the model there will be plenty of spare parts left over for future 1/35 Abrams builds. At 616 parts it is a daunting kit to build, fortunately the 26 page instructional manual is very clear and should provide no trouble as long as one dry fits all the pieces and reads the instructions carefully. I believe the 5 in 1 package is currently out of production, but it can still be found at many hobby shops and online. I recommend any of Trumpeterís 1/35 Abrams for any modern armor enthusiast with experience. These Trumpeter 1/35 Abrams kits are very complex, but are sure to provide plenty of hours of modeling and an impressive display piece when finished.

Garth Yu

March 2012

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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