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) …
Contruction steps ……..