DRAGON M1A1HA āDesert Stormā
This kit is based on the Abrams kits series by DML. It depicts the USMC version of the HA M1ās. I wanted to build
this into a typical ODS vehicle. The USMC used Army vehicles during ODS, they were leased and returned after the operation.DML added a new sprue āJā, but did not do any retooling to the old parts.The new sprue
contains USMC style smoke grenade launchers and additional snorkels for the amphibious operations.
I started the assembly with step 1 as proposed. The EAPU (external auxiliary power unit) DML provides needs to be
reworked or replaced. It is underscale and simplified. I reworked the top of it and did not use any replacement (so far).
I started working on the rear plate by opening the holes in the towing hook
attachments of part # A24. The towing catch # A7 is not an option and needs to be replaced. I used a part from my spares box.
Parts # A9 and # A10 are attachments for the early style EAPU originally carried on
the rear of the tanks. I replaced those with newly made parts from plastic card. DML cast the armoured covers for the backlights as separate parts. They were sanded thinner from the inside. I added a cutout to the
top half of the right hand side cover.
Below the engine-grill section I added a lip and above it two lifting eyes, made from wire and plastic card.
I did not assemble the kitsā interior parts, as they are
not visible after completion anyway. The lower hull was finished pretty fast therefore. The suspension arms are cast to the hull so the only rework was removing the excessive flash from the road wheels. I drilled
four lighting holes into each of the sprockets.
The upper hull construction started with the addition of the emergency pull handle on the left hand side of the hull. The grab-handle # A11 on the glacis needs to
be moved forward a section. I replaced it with brass wire. Another addition is a catch in front of the filler cap on the right hand side of the driversā hatch. The driversā hatch itself received clear, coloured
plastic material for vision blocks.
The Abrams kitsā fenders need rework. I added wire for the spring mechanism. The newer M1ās carry fenders with a stamped X on the fenders front end. DML has not reproduced
this. I did not engrave these, as some tanks still carry the old style fenders.
The attachments for the towing hooks at the lower front end need to be drilled open, too. The engraved weld seam on the lower front
is overdone, so I filled it with putty and sanded it smooth.
I decided to add the tracks after the hullsā completion; therefore I could install the side armour skirts already now. This however showed that the
upper hull was bend out of shape and some rework was involved in correcting this.
The skirts were detailed with plastic strip along the top run and U-profiles on the front end, the #1 skirt.
didnāt use the turret interior. The turrets main halves (# B1 and # B2) fit is rather poor; I needed to use a lot of putty and sanding to close all gaps. I added trays to the turret baskets (# F54/ # F55) front
ends and four handles made from wire to the covers. The turret top was enhanced by the addition of the EAPU connector and connection and the rework of the wiring cover behind the loadersā hatch. The EAPU connector
is a resin copy of the ITALERI kit part. The ends of the wiring covers were detailed with small roofs right above the smoke dischargers. The dischargers are the Army style parts still provided with the kit, as
already said, the USMC did use Army vehicles during ODS.
The CWS was improved by drilling out the two holes on the right and left side of it, plus I added new lifting rings to the CWS base. I added wiring to the
CWS .50 Cal.
The loadersā hatch received a closure, a handle and a block and pintle that are used to secure it in open position.
The towing cables were reworked by carefully sanding away all cast crotches. I
used small wire sections bend into L-shape and attached them directly to the turret as crotches. Actually I used staples I cut to size. The deflector ānoseā in front of the cables needs to be reworked. They are
oversized. The turret basket is rather fragile so I replaced most of its parts with brass wire. Part # F14 is separated horizontally, which is rather unlucky. It needed some substantial sanding. The parts # F37/
#F38 are undersized, too. They need to be placed more outwards, I used small pieces of plastic to correct this.
I did not use the main gun provided by DML but purchased an aluminium barrel from BARREL DEPOT. It
looks better. However, when using the DML parts you need to rework the muzzle reference system. The tubing of part # F40 is underscale and needs to be replaced.
Finally I tried to assemble the tracks. I used
a set from a TRUMPETER kit. It actually falls together like it should and has far less flash than the DML parts. Luckily TRUMPETER provides two sets of tracks with their kits. However you need to check the alignment
and separation closely.
I finally painted the kit with MODEL MASTER US Army/ Marines Sand #2136 and added a wash with thinned black and several sessions of dry brushing with HUMBROL 147. The tank should remain a
blackened look to show the dirt from the burning oil wells.
The crew gear I used is from the new TAMIYA set mainly. All attachment strips are made with adhesive tape.
I named the kit āToadsterā as I have
built this for a campaign of Armorama. I didnāt want to show a specific but a typical ODS vehicle.
VERLINDEN Warmachines No.6
CONCORD PUBLICATIONS ā Walter BĆ¶hm ā M1A1/A2 Abrams ā ISBN 962-361-638-4
SQUADRON/ SIGNAL Publications ā M1 Abrams in action ā ISBN 0-89747-222-5