Trumpeter M1A1HA Abrams (#00334)
Trumpeters M1 Abrams series while originating early in the companies history is a diamond in the rough. While the kit itself may have some accuracy issues particularly with the turret shape it still compares well with other Abrams kits of a similar early millennial vintage.
Trumpeter's M1A1HA is moulded in sand coloured plastic and from the box includes:
- 3 Large part frames
- 4 Smaller part frames
- 1 frame of polycaps
- Loose upper and lower hull
- Loose upper and lower turret
- Choice of either rubber band tracks or link and length (provided on a 4th large frame)
- Small clear plastic sheet for crew periscopes
- Small decal sheet, mesh sheet and instruction Sheet
- Set of parts to motorise model if desired (All Trumpeter Abrams have motorization option)
Construction of the hull is complicated by the fact the side skirts come pre moulded onto the upper hull meaning that the builder must complete the running gear and tracks before joining the upper and lower hull. I originally chose to use the rubber band tracks but the material was brittle and one snapped so I went with the supplied link and length tracks. Careful alignment is needed here otherwise you may come up one or two links short. I ended up with perfect on one side and had to borrow an extra link from the spares box the other. After the running gear is completed careful alignment is needed while aligning top and bottom sections to allow for a good fit.
Construction of the turret proceeds much more smoothly and while some attention is needed to the join of the two main turret parts this should sand out very easily. The tank commanders hatch is designed to be built open, minor surgery would be required to model in the closed position.
Due to how I wanted to paint and weather this build I left construction of upper and lower hulls to part way through painting to reduce the amount of painting and weather sessions. I chose to use a desert camouflage scheme I (loosely from kit and spares box) based the markings on some of photos of a USMC Abrams which had a lot of visible rust.
Weathering entailed applying a light oil dot filter to give the monotone desert camouflage some "life". This was then followed by applying AK Interactives "track" wash around detail areas and then adding rust marks and scraped paint over all areas of the tank including the road wheels, hull sides and turret. A final speckling of rust was added over the entire model.