by: Andreas Hueger [ ]
The kit can be build OOTB into a decent representation of a USMC M1A1HA, however it can be improved even without the use of expensive add-ons. Although the box art shows a use during Desert Storm the USMC did not field this tank at that time.
The engine grillwork needs the addition of a section under the existing part. Due to the complexity I used a negative form and lead foil for it. The form is rather easy done and can be re-used for your next TRUMPETER or TAMIYA kit as well. It is made of plastic strips glued together, the top one is a piece of 15 x 8 mm and the lower part 18 x 8 mm:
The kits' fender spring mechanism can be improved by cutting the moulded parts and replacing them by a piece of wiring bend into "L" shape.
Naturally the turret is the area where you can add the most. A must is the connection to the turrets' APU, as it is missing but is rather easy to create by cutting a triangle piece of styrene strip to length and connect it via a small square box to the channel. Part F22, the big block near the APU will need a bit more detail as it really is a two piece part and not a monoblock. The APU can be improved by adding hinges and handles but is basically acceptable, too.Also you may replace the handles for the turrets stowage boxes and add two more each for the tie downs of the additional ammo boxes at the front end trays of these boxes.A few handles and closures should be added to the loader's hatch. The CWS may be improved by adding a few bolts and a cover for the periscope.
All in all the kit was a pleasure to build, even if you do not add all those bits and pieces you will end up with a nice interesting kit as the TWMP really makes a difference. The fording kit my add further to this. A nice idea is the selection of single links tracks or the usual vinyl tracks that I do still prefer. This way you do not need to be an expert Yogi to have all that patience those tracks may need!
Copyright ©2021 text by Andreas Hueger [ ]. All rights reserved.