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1/35 Academy M1A1 Abrams “IRAQI 2003”

I’ve built a good amount of armor over the past few years but never an Abrams. Don’t know why, maybe to common for my tastes. I’m more of a fan of Cold War machines like the M48, M60, and T-55 series of tanks, or very unique subjects like some of the IDF armor, i.e. Merkava, Tiran. I received this particular tank model as a gift so it presented the perfect opportunity to finally build an M1.

I’ve read some negative reviews about this Academy version related to shape and some details. Not being a rivet counter, or a die-hard perfectionist, I did not let these reviews deter my enjoyment and motivation to build it. I really loved the box art drawing and used it as a building reference.

I built this M1A “out-of-the-box” and it assembled well with little to know issues. Basically it was an easy build an appropriate for most new builders with a few kits under their belts. The one thing I wanted to capture, which to me was a relevant detail, was the large amount of anti-skid deck surfaces. This was my 1st attempt at doing this. I read a few articles on how to mimic this surface. I choose to use “baking powder” as the primary ingredient but it was the one item I knew I had on-hand in the house. Basically I masked off the surface areas that required the anti-slip, laid down some thin CA glue on the bare plastic, and sprinkled the powder onto the glue. Voila….instant anti-skid. It is not perfect but I was happy with this 1st attempt. I think it is slightly out of scale being a little to rough and bumpy, but presents well once the whole tank is painted and complete. Since then I have had the opposite effect using some of the pre-packaged anti-slip products. That is it was so “to-scale” that at 1/35 it was hardly noticeable and not even worth the effort. It disappears even more if you use a lot of paint layers. The best result I have had with anti-slip is using fine sandpaper cut to size, and glued to a deck, or plastic kit parts with the anti-slip texture already molded into the plastic like on my 1/35 AFV M109A6.

I built this some time ago so I do need to apologize on my lack of build details to share. I just recall I enjoyed the build, had no real complaints, satisfied with the level of detail, and the overall outcome. I have been ready to build another Abrams but unfortunately have not had the chance to build one.

31 additional images. Click to enlarge.


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Academy M1A1-ABRAMS "Iraq 2003"

13 responses to 1/35 Academy M1A1 Abrams “IRAQI 2003”

  1. Two sure fire ways to get some love here are building an M1 or an F4U. I think it’s great to see an Abrams, and I can think of a few others who’ll be be right behind me to say so in a short while, Paul.

  2. Very nice! Nice highlighting of details, etc., and the anti-skid stuff adds a cool additional texture to the build. Well done.

  3. Now that’s a tank, great job!!

  4. I built an older version of the Academy kit. Ironically mine was a gift too………. my sister purchased it for me as a birthday gift. She told me she saw it and was “pretty sure” it was like the tanks I served in as a crew member. I built mine up in the standard three color MERDC European green color scheme. It looks fine even though I have hear some criticism about the tank model too. I am not one to fault the kit.

    I spent most of my time in the older M-60 A1 tanks. We were just transitioning into these M1A1’s as I was getting out of the Army, so I really didn’t get too much experience around these. Jeff Bailey, my fellow DAT brother, would know more about these since he spent most of his time in M1’s.

    Yours looks very good from what I remember about them. Well done.

  5. Excellent build, Paul….nice job all around – yessir!

  6. Good job, Paul. I built the Academy TUSK with a lot of PE and thought it excellent.

  7. Paul, I really like it, it has a very realistic look to it.
    Is it just me, that thinks it would be fun to take one of these down the Freeway, pull her out into the left lane and pass a few cars ?
    Well done !

    • You’re absolutely right, Terry! I HAVE been on the Autobahn – where the speed limit was supposed to be (for us) 25 mph/40 kph. However, my tank had been having mechanical troubles which caused us to be about 5 miles/8kms behind the rest of the convoy before we fixed the issue. So … off we go, letting our machine “stretch her legs” so to speak – easily hitting our top speed on flat ground of about 43-45 mph/71-72 kph. Well, we went over the top of this one particularly tall hill and I told the Driver to catch up to the convoy, if possible, as we could see the tail end of our convoy up ahead in the distance. So, down the hill we roared, doing 72 mph/115 kph (letting gravity give us the extra speed) and we passed a truck! I wish I had taken a photo of that truck driver’s face when he saw what was passing him!! He was gob-smacked!!!
      It’s one of my most fond – and fun – memories of my time in Germany!

  8. Paul, you’ve done the Abrams line proud. Still being rather new around here – an FNG – I haven’t heard about the inaccuracies that might be with this kit. I know it looks darn good and a VERY good representation of a great tank. This version is somewhat newer than the ones I was in; the early M1s, the early M1A1s, and finally the M1A1 HA (Heavy Armor) version. I actually would have thought that yours was an M1A2 version – the main visible difference being the sight mounted on the Left of the turret, in front of the Loader’s hatch. However, THIS sight is different than the standard sight on the M1A2, so it is what it is: likely an upgraded version of the M1A1 but not a full M1A2. How’s that for boring, useless trivia?!

  9. Your paint job is just fantastic!

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