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Flyhawk M1A2 SEP Abrams

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model armor kit
RELATED TOPICS: TANKS
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The M1A2 needs little introduction: America’s main battle tank, the Abrams entered service in 1980 and continues to operate on the front lines today.

Flyhawk has shrunk the 72-ton beast to 1/72 scale and, man, is it a fun build! Comprising 161 parts, including scale-thin plastic, crisp photo-etch (PE), and even a mask for the road wheels, it’s crammed with detail. But the engineering makes it a quick project.

Assembly starts with the lower hull and running gear. The clear instructions make part placement easy; different colors in the diagrams highlight parts being added.

Don’t glue the inner road wheels (Part B1) until you’ve attached the inside halves of the tracks (parts A1 and A4) so you can adjust the wheels to match the tracks.

The upper hull and the majority of the PE came next. Most of the parts were easy to bend and place, but you’ll need a pair of tweezers with smooth, flat faces. The instructions call for the skirts to be installed at this point, but I left them off for painting. The turret and stowage baskets finished the build, and they fit with no problems. Hatches and guns are designed to move. All of the parts were scale thin, but the plastic is slightly flexible and forgiving of handling; I had no breakage. Fidelity of small parts, like the ammo feeding the .50-caliber machine gun or the teeth on the underside of the commander’s cupola, were sharp, crisp, and on par with 1/48 or 1/35 kits.

I have just one complaint: I wish the marking diagrams were larger and easier to read for both options. Only one is shown in any detail; the other — the box art’s desert sand option — is only shown in a picture with no decal callouts.

I spent about 20 hours building my model, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the Abrams. It would be perfect for modelers looking to try PE details.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2018 issue.

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