USMC M1A1-HC Abrams

Kit M1A2 Abrams Tamiya (35269), 1/35 scale

This M1A1-HC Abrams model is based upon the Tamiya M1A2 Abrams kit and wants to replicate a tank used in the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
I have used the following Eduard photoetched kits:
• M-1A1 Abrams Detail (p/n 35333)
• M1A1 Bustle Rack Extension (p/n 35598)
• M1A Abrams Armour Fittings (p/n 35360)

Decals are from Echelon Fine Details:
• USMC M1A1HA Heavy Common Abrams Tanks (p/n 35004)

Accessories and equipment are from Tamiya kit “Modern US Military Equipment Set”.

Crew members are from the Tamiya kit itself and from the Verlinden kit “US Tankers Crew Iraq” (p/n 2277); Marines from the Verlinden kit “Humvee Crew/AFV Riders” (p/n 2365).

For reference I have found very useful the following links:
M1 Variants by Gino Quintiliani
USMC M1A1 HC tweak list and some pictures
• Vodnik’s Abrams Kit Comparison
Accurizing the DML USMC M1A1HC by Olivier Carneau

A lot of pictures have been found in Primeportal and interesting videos at the Military Channel.

Some parts have been scratch-built; for example the EPLRS antenna with its base and the Tank Infantry Phone.
Special effort has been put in correcting the M2 .50 machine gun and its mount; I added the solenoid and the wire activating it from inside the turret, the roller touching the butterfly trigger, the J-shape handle for the cocking pulling cable (used to chamber a round).
For detailed reference about this topic see this picture gallery and this thread in Armorama forums.

At a later moment I have built a diorama around this model. Scroll down to view it.



For the diorama I have used the Verlinden kit “Garden Park Wall with Gate Iraq” (p/n 2294).

The two tank crew members are from the Verlinden kit “US Tankers Crew Iraq” (p/n 2277) while the three Marines are from the Verlinden kit “Humvee Crew/AFV Riders” (p/n 2365).

The palm tree has been built following the technique proposed by Chas Young in Armorama (see his tutorial here).
In my palm tree I have also added Verlinden photoetched palm leaves, that I had previously purchased.
Verlinden leaves are too small for a tree and definitely not as realistic as ficus benjamina leaves.
After having compared the two solutions I fully agree with Chas that photoetched leaves are not the right choice.