FIRE TEAM – 28mm Modern Skirmish wargaming

Rules testing ….

A few pics from a recent 28mm Modern Skirmish game being used for playtesting one of our rule sets. Nothing too fancy as it was more to test concepts and to make sure our WW2 rules would work (with the necessary adjustments) in a modern setting. Anyway it was a chance to push around some of my vehicles with my brothers figures and on his cracking Afghanistan / Middle Eastern terrain.

The game was actually the second in a series, the first being an ambush conducted against a UK Infantry patrol. This game featured US Special Forces called in to bring some heavy firepower to bear on the fortified compound located in the first game.

Vehicles are MATVs by Empress and a 1/48th M1A1 by Gasoline (M1A2 converted to USMC)
Figures are Special Forces by Empress and the “Insurgents” are mostly Empress with some Radio Dishdash.

enjoy
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Afghanistan Terrain Project – Spotlight No2

Spotlight No2

Been doing some background planning and collecting refs for an upcoming Terrain board project. While it’ll be used for modern Afghanistan skirmish gaming the loose plan is for it to be generic enough to be used with WW2 Desert (maybe Perrys hmmmm) and even fantasy style “Conan” games. Anyway building this will hopefully scratch an itch I’ve had for a long time to make a diorama quality 4’x4′ gaming board ….. if all goes to plan that is.

So the first stages are to gather refs pics, both good looking terrain boards for ideas and inspiration and real life refs which are the ones posted in this spotlight. The next stages are to salt away materials such as grass matting and foliage and to plan the construction properly as I want the board to be able to be fully transportable.

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Early plan for the layout

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Cork to use for rock formations. The beauty of cork (and slate) is that they have a naturally occurring fractal pattern to them and are essentially “scaleless”.

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The board my brother made for Afghanistan Skirmish gaming a couple of years ago. Sadly now it’s been broken up to make standalone terrain pieces but we learnt a few useful tips and tricks while making this.

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Afghanistan Terrain Reference Pictures (Note a couple are from Iraq)
Of interest is the wide variety of terrain types and the pleasing (to my eye anyway) mix of desert and yellow colours and quite heavy and green vegetation.

(Pics taken from freely accessible web sources and posted here for reference and discussion only. Should any owners wish them removed please contact me)

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<> on January 25, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Kabul at night.

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Technical Vehicles – Spotlight No1

The first of a new series for me where I “Spotlight” on something interesting or relevant to what I’m modelling or gaming. Or just because it’s cool ….. that works for me too.

The first Spotlight is on Technicals and not meaning the tricky stuff either. Basically we’re talking about improvised weapons carriers, typically utilising the ubiquitous Toyota Hilux or similar ute type vehicle and occasionally including light trucks. I need to build a couple to use in our skirmish games and like most projects I undertake it’s off to the web to see what info and pics are available. The loose plan is to source a couple of 1/43rd die cast pickups and give them the Queeg treatment, stripping them down, rebuilding and repainting.

So the purpose of the Spotlight series is to collect and share a little of that info in one place, and here it’s a picture series of Technical vehicles from various conflicts showing differing weapons configurations (and even armour) that may be of interest to anyone wishing to construct their own Technical model.

A little Background History

Probably the most recognised widespread and publicised use of civilian unarmoured vehicles as a weapons carrying raiding platforms was by the SAS and LRDG units in the western desert during WW2. It is this light, mobile and fast attack role that Technicals are most suited for as despite their sometimes heavy weapons fit they are no match for direct combat with well used regular forces.

Technicals are commonly seen on the African continent with particularly widespread use in the Somalia and Chad conflicts. More recently it was Technicals and their mobility that helped the Taliban take over Afghanistan in the early ’90s. Current Middle Eastern conflicts such as those in Libya and Syria also see widespread use of Technicals. Where used successfully they can be seen using hit and run – rapid attack and withdrawal type tactics which play into the weapon systems strengths.

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Note none of these pics are my own personal property but have been copied from open web sources and are shared here only for the purposes of discussion …. should anyone viewing believe they hold copyright over any images and wish their removal please contact me.

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Technicals reportedly being used by the Taliban including the bottom vehicle which is being employed by Special Forces in an anti Taliban role.

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Interesting modification involving the fitting of a BMP turret to a frame mounted on the rear deck. Very dodgy looking in my opinion …… a flimsy angle iron frame and bad welding. On the plus side the dudes are rather nattily dressed.

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A couple of heavier Technicals from the sub continent. Light trucks are often seen as weapons carriers too which shows the variety of platforms that can be utilised to construct model and gaming Technicals.

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Middle Eastern Syrian and Libyan Technicals showing a huge variety of cannibalised weapons systems including many ex air-to-ground rocket and gun pods.

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A unusually light class of technical – not recommended due to it’s limited mobility off-road.

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To sum up I’ll leave it to Cookie to have the last word ……………

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Challenger 1 ODS – Cromwell Models 20mm finished

Calling it done for now …….

I’ve called finished on the Gulf War Challenger 1 for now. I tried to scratch build a commanders weapon station and it looked rubbish so until I can pick up a cheapy/damaged or parts donor kit (Trumpeter or Dragon), it’ll have to do without. Apart from that I’m pretty happy with the finish, brushed with GWs and Humbrols as usual with shading done in oils which seems to suit me at the moment. My brother did donate me some odourless solvent for oil paints and it’s helped smooth out and reduce the graininess you get when thinning oils a little which has sold me a little more. Dunno what the differences are between it and turps but for the lack of smell alone which makes enamels usable again its well worth it.

Anyway I found some markings which also cheered me up enough to finish it off. The big TAC numbers and theatre chevrons are actually 1/48th Gasoline decals which fit perfectly while the number plates and badges are from the spares box. It just needs a few FV432s and maybe a Scimitar or two to go with it ….

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Challenger 1 ODS – Cromwell Models 20mm

But wait, another modern …..

Yup, just when you thought I’d come back to my senses another modern pops up, my 1/72nd Cromwell Operation Desert Storm Challenger 1. Posted some wip pics quite a while back now and finally it’s nearly finished. Shading and lining is done. The only major is that I didn’t get the commanders weapon station with the kit (it was second hand) and so I’ll have to make one. Also I don’t have any modern Brit 20mm markings so either I’ll have to paint them on or leave it plain.

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Operation Herrick British Battlegroup – Airfix 1/48 Warrior, Jackal, Coyote and Land Rover

Some group shots of the finished Brits …..

Taken last week before the convention, unfortunately they didn’t get on the tables as the games were scenario based battles between Taliban and ISAF Infantry with players playing three games with each side. The games were played in great spirit by all and I was jammy enough to have a bit of luck, winning 5 and drawing 1, although I’m claiming that one as a moral win for my Taliban as I prevented the ANA from gaining their objective. What I learned was that a mob of Taliban can look much more scary than their skill/stat lines would show (I took a force of 15 so many were really poor quality) and can tie up very small elite special force groups (5 or 6) unless they are handled very aggressively. We also used random event cards which ranged from being hilarious, pinning a sniper with “Jelly belly” to scary effective, my Tali boys being the target of a “fast air” strike and scattering in panic. All in all and even though the vehicles only got to watch it was great fun ……

And as for the Tankies themselves, the build wips are buried in my blog but to recap the Jackal, Coyote and Snatch are straight out of the Airfix box with only aerials added while the Warrior has had a bit more fiddling done to it, and needs a touch more as I still have the armoured glass windows to fit to the turret crew survivability kit. They are brush painted using both Humbrol enamels and GW acrylics and weathered with oils. Now to start building the others …….

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Afghanistan Battlegroup – Fire Team Modern Skirmish

Sneek peek ……

Only one pic, haven’t got any time for anything else as I’m packing for a weekend of beers with some gaming thrown in during the recovery periods. Managed to get everything finished late last night and ready for transport down to Wellington. They’re posing for pictures later next week and I’ll have to travel back down to Welly after that to collect them and back home here for packing and then shipping on to their new homes.

Kit/vehicle list;

M1A1 Abrams MBT – 1/48 Gasoline
Bradley M2A2 MICV – 28mm Empress Miniatures
M-ATV MRAP (x2) – 28mm Empress Minatures
BAE Warrior MIFV – 1/48 Airfix
Land Rover Snatch – 1/48 Airfix
Coyote 6×6 TSV – 1/48 Airfix
Jackal 4×4 PSV – 1/48 Airfix

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Oshkosh M-ATVs Empress Miniatures 28mm – finished

And close behind the Abrams the M-ATVS are also finished …….

The Empress Miniatures M-ATVs are now also finished. And yeah, as finished as they’re going to get for now but they still need stowage and suspension bits fitted to both vehicles (if you look closely you might just see the coil springs, swing arms and sump guard fitted to one of them). These were also finished in the same way as the Abrams, brush painted mostly with Humbrol enamels, detailing with GW acrylics and shading with oils.

They’re big units and we’ll see just how big once they get next to some of my brothers afghan buildings he’s been working hard on at the convention next weekend. Despite the time taken I think I’d like to do a third as a special forces SOCOM truck, as they have some nifty add on mods. Also we might make a couple of CROWs remote weapon stations which were fitted to all the later vehicles (2010 onwards), hopefully making them interchangeable and swappable with the OGPK manned turrets. They’d make a neat comparison to the OLD school Generation Kill style HMMVW unit that I want to build …..

And a list of changes and improvements ;

drilled out the manned turret windows and fitted armoured glass from clear scrap,
fitted a rear ammo ready use bin to the Mk19 turret,
added hatches and joystick traverse controller to both turrets,
added a Rhino IED jammer, mounting bracket, guide rod and wiring to one truck,
fitted an IBIS Tek front mounted tow bar with tie down strap,
added front coil springs, suspension “A” arms and sump guard to one truck,
fitted support chains to the cabin steps
added aerials (x4) to each vehicle,
fabricated coms/jammer transformer box and fitted to the upper rear hull on both,
added support frame and tie strap to the spare wheels,
fitted mud flaps,
added mesh to the rear storage boxes,
remodelled the rear Sat/comms antenna,
added rear mounted folding crew steps,
added lift rings to hull sides,
fitted emergency door pulls to one truck,
added wiring to the front aerial stands
fitted mirrors to the front, doors and turrets of both trucks,
added mesh to the front grills

Things to watch out for and that I’d improve next time ……..

The rear storage bin (entire deck and support frame) is located incorrectly, as it sits the rear wheels don’t have the correct distance between the wheel and mudguard to allow the same suspension travel as the front wheels. It needs to be raised higher so that the top of the frame is level with the roof.

Also on the rear vehicle the storage bins are longer, reaching back almost flush with the real hull. I suspect the floor might also extend back closer to the hull also but can’t find a clear picture of this area. As it sits as supplied any stowage in the back will fall out between the gap with the hull. I fitted a larger storage box from the spare box into each vehicle to fill this gap but it really the bins need to be extended and the gap between the frame and hull filled in with the large wiring conduits visible in this area.

Summary

Great casting and as supplied makes into a really nice gaming model. It’s also big enough to be able to go as far as you want to with extra detailing. I had a couple of casting holes (easily fixable with filler) and one turret casting had shifted off centre which I cleaned up as best as I could with a file. The rear storage area, frame and mudguard assembly really needs raising but TBH is not essential for gaming as not many will notice and it doesn’t detract from the impressive look of the finished model. And I have a cunning plan for glazing the main cabin windows for next time ……

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M1A1 Abrams Gasoline 1/48 – Finished

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 ………..

Hull

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

Gun/mantlet

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

Turret

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.

Summary

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!

cheers
Brent

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M1A1 Abrams Gasoline 1/48 – M-ATVs Empress Miniatures

Final detailing complete …………

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A combined post this time as both lots of vehicles are being finished on the painting bench together now and final detailing is pretty much completed.

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The Abrams got CIPs (Combat Identification Panels) panels added. I know they aren’t fitted on Marine vehicles in Afghanistan but this is technically a mild “what if” vehicle anyway with the premise being an escalated Marine deployment somewhere in the near future. I also added the additional twin aerial suite fitted to tanks used as FACs or forward air controllers. Some more stowage was added, a couple of packs from Blackdog and some cardboard boxes from one of Paul Wades excellent modern British stowage sets (that’s also where the large rear bustle mounted tarp came from). A rear mounted tow cable and a mast mounted sat/coms antenna was also fitted. Lastly, and completing everything for the Abrams, I improved the loaders M240 machine gun with handles, detail strips to the front barrel and by adding a thermal sight made from tubing and brass rod.

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The M-ATVs are also now completed apart from some stowage to go into the rear cages which will be added after that area has been shaded but before final pigments go on. I added a tie down strap to the vehicle with the front mounted tow bar, both got wire mesh added to the stowage cages. along with mirrors, aerials and rear mud flaps.

I reworked the front mounted Rhino IED jammer as it had been bugging me for some time. It got beefed up as it was too small, wiring and I added a carbon fibre rod (drivers visual aid) which sticks up to mark the front of the vehicle when the jammer is deployed in the down position and wiring. Finally I fitted two large plastic crates to the inside cage to block the gap between it and the rear hull so the stowage can be fitted without falling out. This gap is incorrect as on the real vehicle the two rear stowage bins sit flush with the rear hull and although I can’t find a pic I would assume the rear deck does also. Stowage will just be mixed packs and crates although I may make a Javelin out of rod as they are also commonly stowed in the rear cage area.

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log 9

Lining and base shading complete …..

Getting close to finishing the Abrams. Panel lining and some pre shading of the lower hull is finished. As mentioned below and with the M-ATVs I used an old school oil paint based mix for the pin washes. I used Windsor and Newton (the tubes are about 30years old lol) Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber thinned down with a lot of turps. Using a very fine brush the wash is run along the panel lines and edges leaving the flat parts clean. As oils don’t dry immediately any excess or mistakes can be cleaned up with a fresh brush and clean turps ……

A quick note on this part of the process, most 1/35th modellers will gloss varnish the entire model (often using Future, a brand of floor polish)before applying any turps based oil washes. This protects the base finish from the white spirit and allows it to flow a little easier. I did varnish the Abrams first, using Testors Dullcoat which is a lacquer based matt varnish. It has a totally different surface tension to gloss varnish however and is only suitable for localised pin washes and not overall sludges washes or filters. It’s just a different method and approach …. and like all methods may or may not work for you !!! lol

Anyway it’s on to the proper weathering and final detailing next ……

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Oshkosh M-ATVs – Empress Miniatures 28mm build log5

Progress with the shading and lining.

Pin washes lining the panels are finished on the M-ATVs and they’re now ready for weathering and final detailing. Instead of the normal acrylics this time I used old school Windsor and Newton oils thinned with standard turps. Apart from the drying time and odour they worked pretty well and will probably replace the acrylic wash mixes until I can source a replacement for GW Chestnut ink.

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Oshkosh M-ATVs – Empress Miniatures 28mm build log4

Base colours laid in ……..

Finished the base painting on the M-ATVs and got most of the details colour blocked in. Panel lining and shading next …. The observant will also notice more progress on the Abrams too, I’m just cleaning up and resizing the pics now for posting that up later.

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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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