M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – build log8

Painting progress ………

Well after much mixing of colours I’ve finally got a base colour I’m happy with and lightened it. Against all my better judgement I had no choice but to brush this one with Humbrol enamels as my beloved stocks of last gen GW acrylic are all but exhausted (in these colours anyway). Not that Humbrol is bad paint, it’s actually great quality and brushes very well, it’s just that you have to wait sooooooo long for it to dry and harden between putting on a layers. I’m used to putting on a colour layer and moving right on to the next step in the process. I either have to find some stocks of old GW on the web, find an alternative acrylic that behaves the same way and as well as old GW, or change / adjust my process. I knew this day was coming …… arghhhhhh lol

Despite that the paint angst I’m pretty happy with the shade and look. It’s lighter than the colour of the real vehicles to allow for the shading, weathering and filtering, plus I’m trying to copy the look of the Marine M1 posted back at the start of the build log. Another step I had to add was to seal the finish at this stage with matt varnish so that the weathering doesn’t effect or lift the base paint. With acrylics you can use enamel pin washes straight over without worrying but unless you seal enamel between steps the thinners will attack it and cause problems.

Anyway it’s on to the tracks, roadwheels and panel lining next ………… Oh and getting the M-ATVs to the same stage of the process.

Q

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log6

Almost finished and ready for priming ………

Got the last of the major additions finished now with work completed on the commanders CWS and loaders LAGS. I’ve left both loose so they can be removed for painting and to put the last tiny details put on the LAGS, it needs weapon handles and thermal sight.

I added caps to the smoke dischargers by pushing on blobs of green stuff and shaping them, fitted a Blue Force Tracker GPS unit to the upper turret next to the gunners doghouse, attached spare roadwheels (kindly supplied by Gasoline) to the sides of the bustle rack and made straps for the jerry cans.

As mentioned the loaders M240 will probably get some more attention but apart from a rear mounted tow cable and the aerial package (there’s three more to add) that’s probably it and she’s finally ready for paint. It’s taken well over 40hrs so far and at a quick count I’ve added 400ish extra pieces of plastic and wire …. about 400 more than originally intended!!!

Q

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A few closer shots of the recently added details. I’m pretty happy with the way the CWS turned out to be honest as I was pretty worried about having to scratchbuild it …..

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log5

Almost ready for paint …..

Most of the detailing is finished now. Got the Duke Jammers mounted, pretty happy with the solution too as it’s solid enough not to worry about knocks while handling. Tidied up the APU by fitting a shim to the back and adding access panels and handles. Also added handles to the infantry phone and coms boxes. Replaced the end of the gun muzzle and added tow cables and tie straps to the turret sides. Filled the bustle rack extension with stowage, fitted jerry cans and mounts, tow hook and finally fitted a heavy tank tow bar to the front hull.

Still on the to do list is to fill the tops of the Duke jammers, add caps to the smoke dischargers, straps to the rear jerry cans, rear tow cable, loaders armour shield and to finish the CWS.

Q

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Added details ………

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log4

Detailing continues ………..

Managed to finish scratching the major details, the exhaust deep wading trunking, smoke dischargers and the rear turret bustle extension. I also added the turret ammo bins for the smoke launchers, lifting lugs to the gun mantlet, rear mounted infantry phone/coms boxes and front and rear towing/lift eyes. Another day should see all the bits in place except those that won’t be fitted until after most of the painting has been completed.

Q

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And a few closer shots of the details added so far ……..

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log3

Basic detailing started ……

Began working on adding details to the turret starting with the most obvious stuff, Gun Mantlet, CITV station, Smoke grenade ammo lockers, CWS – Commanders Weapons Station (Cupola) and the GPS – Gunners Primary Sight.

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Gun Mantlet

As supplied this is inset too far back into the turret. The Leading edges should be visible when viewed from any side angle. I spaced out the mantlet to move it forward by fitting a scrap resin block to the turret. The gaps were filled and the top guide plate (which I couldn’t find reference photos for anyway) was removed. I scribed the characteristic plates into the side of the gun mantlet and fitted replacement strips to the top along with a new hinged debris cover. Still to add are the three lift/accessory mounting lugs and maybe lengthen the end portion of the gun barrel as it appears to be approx 3-5mm short.

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M1A1 Gun Mantlet

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CITV station

Previously I had removed the characteristic CITV ( Commanders Independent Thermal Viewer ), which is only fitted to Army M1A2s and not the Marine M1A1 HAs and HCs. I fitted a plasticard cover and added PE brass nuts from the modelling stash box.

Smoke Grenade Ammo bins

On all pics I’ve checked the storage bins for the smoke grenade launchers (situated on the turret front sides) should be mounted lower so I cut them off. When I replace them I’ll add a few details and space them out from the hull slightly

GPS – Gunners Primary Sight

The armoured cover for the Hughs GPS-LOS (gunners primary sight – line of sight) is pretty basic as supplied. No doors are supplied and detail is basic. I added a new roof and sides so that I could model the gun sight doors open and added two square blocks to represent the armoured glass sight covers.

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CWS

The Commanders Weapons Station or cupola is the biggest change I’ve made so far. I originally intended to fudge things by fitting the existing cupola and just adding the different M1A1 MG, but there are major visual difference to the shape and it kept nagging at me until I caved and decided to scratch it. While not 100% accurate I think the final result is closer to the correct M1A! CWS that under paint it should look ok. All parts are scrap styrene filed and shaped apart from the hatch, which is original but trimmed to fit the smaller cupola.

The pic below (from the web for discussion purposes only) shows the M1A1 CWS on the left and the later cupola and flexible 50cal mounting from the M1A2 on the right.

CWS M1A1 vrs M1A2

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Finally a few shots showing where things are currently ………

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log2

Basic assembly of the Abrams ……

As part of the a project to build some vehciles to use with our in-house modern skirmish rules, Fire Team, I decided to build the Gasoline 1/48th Abrams, converting it from the kits M1A2 standard to the M1A1 Marine version. It’s a kit I’d always wanted to build so the timing was perfect, even if the build and detail changes require a little planning.

Before adding details and mods the first step was to get the thing assembled and looking like an Abrams. Being a full resin kit it has features that have to be dealt with like large moulding plugs and moulding flash and parts alignment takes some care. The plugs are cut off with a coping saw and then filed flat using first a rasp file to get any big bits worn down, then files and finally fine grade wet n dry taped to the bench. Test fit as you sand and slow down when getting close, it’s easier to take off a tiny bit more than go “oops” and sand too far ending up with a gap you’ve created just for funsies.

The kit has a few small alignment issues. The tracks are a little pigeon toed and on one run were misaligned a little. Not much but it catches my eye as I’m a bit picky about how tracks and wheels sit. There aren’t many options to fix unfortunately. If this were a pure display or competition model I’d cut of the tracks, separate the links and realign them, but I just don’t have the time. The road wheels don’t have a positive fit and what lugs are there cause the wheel to sit proud of the lower track run, easy fix, remove the lugs while fixing, again the key thing is to make sure the are sitting down and are aligned properly while glueing. At this stage I’m trusting in the paint god to hide any small issues …..

One thing I chose to do before setting the hull and tracks together was to Dremel out the area around the rear drive sprockets. Many M1s and most (all?) Marine Abrams on deployment seem to have the rear track guard piece removed and I thought it would make a nice detail change to have. No detail is supplied in this area and it’s a solid resin plug. Again I’m not going crazy by levelling and adding detail, just hollowing out and going for an impression of space.

The only other minor detail changes to get done at this intitial stage was to remove the Simfire smoke candle launcher on the top of the gun mantlet as this is only fitted for training purposes while in the US, to cut of the CITV image sensor from the left turret top ( a cover plate with bolts will go on later), and to cut off the gun muzzle tip with laser reference and to turn it around. For some reason the kit has this moulded on facing backwards ……

Apart from all that, it was fix it all with superglue while checking to make sure things were all aligned and square (I may have mentioned this once or twice already lol) …

Q

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Contruction steps ……..

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Oshkosh M-ATVs – Empress Miniatures 28mm build log2

Got most of the detail work done prior to base painting ……..

Finished off most of the detail work on the two M-ATVs and they’re now ready for priming. As usual (and mentioned in the previous log post) some stuff will get added after most of the paint work is completed, either the more fragile stuff like the wing mirrors or the things I’m likely to stick myself in the eye with like the aerials, these have 4 each.

So what have I added so far ?

lifting eyes on the lower hull sides and the upper rear of the cabin
support chains for the steps
front grill mesh
Rhino front mounted IED jammer
power supply boxes for the DUKE jamming system mounted on the rear cabin
rear access step ladder
mounting bracket for the spare wheel
hatch for the gunners O-GPK (Objective Gunner Protective Kit) turret
mounting brackets for the truck and turret wing mirrors
turret joystick slew controller
turret stowage rack
wiring for the aerials and low light TV drivers aid
Ibis Tek tow bar
coil springs and lower suspension arms (on 1 and undecided if I’ll do the back and the other vehicle yet)

Still to add …….

Aerials (4 per vehicle) and some wiring for them
Flexible cover for the Harris AN/PRC-152 SINCGARS radio (left rear)
tow shackles
emergency door pulls
tie straps for the Rhino and tow bar
side mesh for the rear stowage bins
various stowage bits to the rear bins

Anyways, priming tomorrow and on to assembling the Abrams and the rest of the British ……….

Q

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Group shot size comparison with an Empress M1A2 Bradley and airfix 1/48th Land Rover

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Build detail shots

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Detail close ups

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