Yup finally finished ……….
After about 80 or so hours here she is, my conversion of the Gasoline 1/48th M1A2 into an Afghanistan styled USMC M1A1 HC. Even though there’s a couple of things I’d still like to adjust and add they can wait and for now I’m calling it done.
For those interested it was brush painted in Humbrol enamels and GW acrylics, lined and shaded with Windsor and Newton oils and weathered with MIG and homemade pigments. The markings are fictitious and a mix of Gasoline supplied, hand painted and spares box finds.
Below is a list of changes and improvements made ………..
made a heavy tank patten tow bar and fitted to front,
added deep wading exhaust stack,
fitted infantry phone / coms boxes,
added lift rings to front lower and rear upper hull
added rear tow cable and shackles,
removed drive sprocket guards and trimmed hull resin blocks away from track run,
detailed front track guard springs, added foot step straps and front hull mounted bracket
spaced forward approx 3mm, filled gap and added scribed detail,
added lift/accessory mounts,
rebuilt top hinged rain cover,
removed Simfire training flare launcher,
cut off muzzle brake (the kit one is either modelled backwards or fitted with a muzzle cap) – made new one and remounted the laser
removed the CITV unit from the turret left top and fitted a blanking plate and bolts,
added front and side CIPS panels,
detailed gunners primary sight and added doors,
added Blueforce GPS tracker,
made M1A1 CWS (commanders weapons station) – cupola, vision blocks and gun mounting,
detailed CWS 50cal, fitted brass barrel and added thermal sight
improved loaders M240 weapons mount by adding shield, armoured glass, thermal sight, handles and barrel details,
cutoff smoke discharger ammo boxes – rebuilt and repositioned,
replaced M1A2 Army smoke dischargers with scratch built USMC M257 8 tube smoke dischargers
added spare roadwheels and mounting clamps to bustle,
made and fitted rear bustle extension,
fitted stowage, fillers from spares box, packs from Blackdog, ammo boxes, cardboard boxes and rear bustle tarp from Paul Wade,
corrected bustle mounted APU and detailed with panels and lift rings,
added DUKE IED jammers FAC aerials and Sat/coms mast,
fitted tow rope, mounting clasps and front bump covers
Things to watch out for
The left front track run is raised slightly, ie the left front roadwheel and forward part of the track is off the ground instead of sitting flat. A fix would be to cut off the LHS front roadwheels (front three), attach the right track first and once thats firmly set fit the left track, repositioning the front wheels and track until they sit correctly with the tank level.
The rear hull plate (with exhaust and light fittings) is too wide for the rear hull casting. If fitted as supplied the edges stick out past the hull sides when they should be flush. I filed the edges back to fit but slightly cut into the light fitting. A proper fix would be to cut off the light fittings, attach the plate and file flush with the hull sides, then the refit the lights.
As supplied the kit assembles into a very nice US Army M1A2. The castings are clean and very well detailed. There are some minor fit issues with the rear hull plate, the front left track not sitting flat and the front right track being twisted. These are probably due to the age of the master (it’s an early Gasoline kit) but are fixable. Also they may not be noticeable to anyone not very familiar with the Abrams. The kit is also a great base for further detailing and hopefully Gasoline will release an accompanying Bradley at some stage …….
Finally a very special thanks to Oliver at Gasoline who kindly supplied additional roadwheels so they could be mounted as spares to the turret bustle – top customer service!