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Rye Field Model M1A1/A2 Abrams

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
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Rye Field Model stays on its A game with the first all-plastic Abrams kit with a full interior. The kit includes options to build an M1A1 or A2, as well as such nice little extras as coolers, ammunition boxes, spare road wheels, and clear water bottles.

The decals provide four marking options, two for the A1 and two for the A2. The main markings are clearly laid out in the instructions, but there is a sheet of smaller warnings and labels with no clear instructions on their locations; finding good reference photos would be a big help. There are other errors or omissions in the instructions, but, to Rye Field’s credit, a revised version of the instructions is available on its website and Facebook page. I highly recommend using the revised instructions, which are much clearer and have a few steps that were missed in the original instructions.

The build starts with the main gun and turret. The latter went together well as the parts fit great. If you display the interior, you’ll want to fill the hollow backs of parts for the computers and other equipment.

Machine guns and small details on the outside of the turret build easily and have great detail, such as slide-molded barrels. I would suggest not attaching them to their mounts until after painting, as their mounting pins are thin and easily broken.

The main body of the tank goes together pretty quickly. The tub-style lower hull has great molded detail all around with fine weld seams and rivet details. I chose to make the tracks workable, since they need so much work anyway. You do have the option to leave the suspension static, though, by leaving the small keys on the torsion arms in place. However, I will warn you that the torsion bars are scale-thin and can break if you are rough with them during painting.

After the main hull and driver’s compartment come the engine and engine bay. Both have full detail: The engine can be left removable and the rear doors can be made workable, presenting interesting display or diorama options.

The last major area of the build is the tracks. Though they don’t cover much area on the tank, about half of my build time was spent on them. They flowed and moved nicely when finished, but the number of parts turned the task tedious.

Rye Field’s new Abrams is a great kit packed with detail. Don’t let the number of parts deter you; it’s a challenge for experienced modelers, but can be tackled by intermediates as well. I spent nearly 60 enjoyable hours on it, though the tracks did add a bit of time. Just put on a good movie (for me, Mad Max) and the time will fly by.



Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2017 issue.

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