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Andreas' Armour Pages


This is the first TRUMPETER kit I have bought and I was curious to find out its quality.
I have been positively surprised, the moulding is far better than what I know from several east european producers!
TRUMPETER has the option to use single link and length tracks or the usual vinyl tracks. The kits’ moulded parts are better than the vinyl tracks and should be first choice.
As I wanted to model the vehicle dipped under the TWMP’S weight to the front I choose the vinyl tracks as I feared the single link parts would not fit to this variation. One might opt for the AFV-CLUB tracks but I thought these were too expensive.

The suspension is the first step, as said, slightly modified to simulate the TWMP’s weight. I have seen several discussions as to the roadwheels being incorrect and that these should be replaced with the DRAGON kits’ set, but again I figured this as too expensive to be practical. Besides I think as long as the kit looks o.k. it’s good enough for me …
The roadwheels will be fixed onto the axles by pressing polycaps onto these. Therefore it is not advisable to paint these caps prior to fixing them onto the axles as the paint may chip off.
Step 6 is the kits’ engine grillworks and rearplate. The kit lacks a separate grill and a metal strip under the grillwork so I added these. For the separate grill part I have glued two plastic strips together to be used as a negative form as this parts is missing on all TRUMPETER and TAMIYA kits and I will re-use it whenever in need. Furthermore the two small plastic noses on top of part C67 will have to be replaced by two small wire lifting rings.
The taillights, parts #C38/ C39 have been reworked as well, the notches are not deep enough. I added a small piece of wiring to part C38, too.
The APU parts #D9-D14 may not be used as these are not correct for the M1A1HA.
Step 7 has the tanks’ snorkels (DWFK) parts. I did not use these at all.
The next step is the tanks’ front assembly. The fenders’ C21 and C22 spring mechanism will have to be reworked. I have cut the moulded parts and replaced these with brass wire parts bend into a double “L” shape. Detail shots may tell you more. On top of parts #C34/35 you will have to add a bolt each. The drivers hatch C55 was detailed with wipers made from styrene strip.

The next step was the CWS. First I added a few bolts and wiring to the .50cal. Part #F12 needed a few bolts and other small additions. Parts #F2 and F3 were sanded down and at the rear halves the edges were cut down. The commanders’ sight on Part F9 received a frame and the openings on the sides were drilled through. I added a mount for an additional control on the right side of part F1 and repositioned it slightly. The GPS received additional detail by adding small rods of styrene on the sides of it.
Further I added new handles to the turrets’ stowage boxes. The trays at the front end were detailed by adding two tie-dons each. These are used to hold additional ammo boxes in place.
Part F22, the APU connection, was detailed. It really is a two piece block and not a monoblock. I then added the connection to the wire channels on the turret roof. This can easily be done by adding a piece of triangular styrene strip and connecting it to the channel via a small block. On the turret roof you need to add a lock for the loaders’ hatch. Consult your references to find the correct shape. The hatch itself was detailed with handles and fittings of small plastic rods and plates. You may want to add a small nose at the front of part F7 of the CWS hatch.
The smoke grenade launchers are only a very rough representation of the real parts and I build these completely scratch. You will have to relocate the stowage boxes C44 slightly forward. Also I have elongated the ends of the wiring channels over the turret edge. You may want to add electrical wiring to the launchers, I did not do this.
The towing cables D2 were detailed by shearing off the “hooks” and replacing these with lead foil pieces attached to the turret and replacing the forward attachment with a T-shaped hold made from styrene rod.
The 120mm main gun received a new muzzle reference sensor. The armoured tube C41 was drilled open and the holes on part D1 were drilled through, too. The loaders’ 7.62MG received new handles made of wire and rod and a piece of wiring. Part C59 was detailed with a handle.
Finally I have reworked the APU. I added several doors and handles and the two lifting rings on top of it. You will have to check your references closely. The kits’ parts F20 to F26 named “tool box” are only a very simple version of the actual APU.
The M1A1HA is now basically finished.

The final assembly is the TWMP, TRUMPETER offers two versions an early “Gulf war” and a late version.
The TWMP is basically made of two halves, the upper cannot be erected or held at that position: It is only pushed into “open” by the weight of the earth/ sand that the tank pushes during ploughing through it. It folds down the instant the tank stops ploughing. You may not assemble Parts E19/20 and E10/11 in an open position therefore.
The early version is still in use today, in fact I have seen only this version in use with the USMC M1’s. I have build this but did not use the middle chain with parts E4 and E6 as most pics I have do not show it attached. The TWMP itself can be build straight OOTB but needs a lot of sanding as it has not the same high quality as the rest of the kit.
The TWMP’s wiring can be build as instructed, make sure to insert the vinyl tubing through the left drivers’ sight. The sight is not in use when the TWMP is installed.
Even though this article seems rather elaborate I can only recommend TRUMPETER’s M1 as a very reasonable kit. It can be build into a good kit even without most of the additions I have done.

VERLINDEN Warmachines No.6
CONCORD PUBLICATIONS – Walter Böhm – M1A1/A2 Abrams – ISBN 962-361-638-4
SQUADRON/ SIGNAL Publications – M1 Abrams in action – ISBN 0-89747-222-5


Copyright © 2000 by Andreas HĂĽger. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written consent is not permitted.