USMC M1A1HA w.TWMP
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 kitsâ€™ moulded parts are better than the
vinyl tracks and should be first choice.
As I wanted to model the vehicle dipped under the TWMPâ€™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 TWMPâ€™s weight. I have seen several
discussions as to the roadwheels being incorrect and that these should be replaced with the DRAGON kitsâ€™ set, but again I figured this as too expensive to be practical. Besides I think as long as the kit looks
o.k. itâ€™s good enough for me â€¦
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 kitsâ€™ 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 tanksâ€™ snorkels (DWFK) parts. I did not use these at all.
The next step is the tanksâ€™ front assembly. The
fendersâ€™ 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 â€śLâ€ť 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 commandersâ€™ 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
Further I added new handles to the turretsâ€™ 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 loadersâ€™ 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 â€śhooksâ€ť 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 loadersâ€™
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 kitsâ€™ parts F20 to F26 named â€śtool boxâ€ť are only a very simple version of the actual APU.
The M1A1HA is now basically finished.
final assembly is the TWMP, TRUMPETER offers two versions an early â€śGulf warâ€ť 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 â€śopenâ€ť 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
The early version is still in use today, in fact I have seen only this version in use with the USMC M1â€™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 TWMPâ€™s wiring can be build as instructed,
make sure to insert the vinyl tubing through the left driversâ€™ sight. The sight is not in use when the TWMP is installed.
Even though this article seems rather elaborate I can only recommend TRUMPETERâ€™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 â€“ Walter BĂ¶hm â€“ M1A1/A2 Abrams â€“ ISBN 962-361-638-4
SQUADRON/ SIGNAL Publications â€“ M1 Abrams in action â€“ ISBN 0-89747-222-5