by: Rob McCune [ ]
I recently purchased the M1A1 detail set from Verlinden against my better judgement. It didn't dissappoint me. It has some good things about it, which I already knew about, and a few I didn't, but for the most part, it's innaccuracies made it complete worthless to me.
This set includes about 40 pieces of resin, two different sizes of plastic rod,a long length of copper wire for the turret bustle rack, a strand of vinyl "hose", and one large fret of photo etch. It includes many interior pieces, plus new details for the exterior. There are six or seven pieces for the drivers compartment, including the left and right side walls, a seat for the driver, two instrument clusters, the hatch cylinder, and the drivers steering bar. There are several pieces for the turret interior, including the TC's (Tank Commanders) intercom panel and NBC air system, a rear turret wall and ammo blast doors w/ammo tubes, the radio shelves in front of the loader, and various turret ring details. There are PE brackets and copper wire for a new turret bustle, a battery box and louvred access hatches. There are also two machine guns, a CLAMS lane marker, and a hull mounted APU
The good things
There are some good pieces to this kit. There is a battery box with the fuel pump area and junction box next to it. This is well detailed and accurate. It has hatches, both louvered and regular that have some fit issues, but if they are open then it is not noticeable. The machine gun mounts are both well detailed and would work well with other, more accurate machine guns, or by themselves. There is a ring for the Commenders Weapon Staion (CWS) and it has some good detail, especially if you are using the Tamiya kit, which has no interior detail at all. The PE is mostly accurate, and I think the bustle rack brackets would make excellent replacements for the clunky kit pieces with some brass wire. There are two panels for the engine deck access hatches, which would be good if you wanted to show them open. With a little work, the drivers seat can be used, as can the instrument panels.
The bad things
I am afraid this area might sound like a rant, as most of the readers of this now my affection for all things Abrams. I will split this up into three sections.
The Drivers Compartment
This area is probably the most use part as most kits show nothing of the drivers compartment. However, almost the entire set of pieces for the drivers station is useless as far as accuracy goes. The walls are not shaped right and do not extend very far to either the front or back of the drivers hatch. The details molded onto them are extremely innacurate or just plain fictitious. As stated earlier, the seat and instrument panels are useable.
The Turret Interior
This area is also mostly worthless. The radio shelves in front of the loader are misshapen works of the sculptors imagination. There is a piece that sits beside the loader that is complete fantasy. The piece that sits beside the TC is slightly accurate, but misshapen. The rear turret wall and blast doors are not shaped right at all, and the ammo tubes are completely innacurate. There are two sections of covers for the turret rings, and while they themselves are fairly accurate, the position of them is not. There is a turret ring locking device as well, but the handle isn't quite right.
Again, more innacuracies in this make it not worth the $25-$30 you will spend on it. The TC's .50 cal machine gun is something from the 40's, not the one currently used. It has a cocking handle and a cone flash supressor, neither of which the actual one uses. The wire supplied with the set scales out to being four inches thick, while the actual steel rod is one inch in diameter. The loaders hatch seems a bit thick, but is well detailed. According to all the tankers I know, the CLAMS mine clearing lane marker was never used. The external APU is missing some detail and the shape is not quite right.
While there are a few details in this set that are pretty good, most of it is hit and miss. I couldn't reccomend this aftermarket set to anyone wishing to build an accurate Abrams. If you don't mind the complete flights of fancy in some of it's details and favor detail over accuracy, then maybe it wouldn't be to bad.
Copyright ©2020 text by Rob McCune [ ]. All rights reserved.
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