|ET MODEL - US Army M1A1 AIM MBT|
A look at what you get in the new ET Model detail set for the Dragon kit!
US Army M1A1 AIM MBT
Manufacturer: ET Model
Serial Number: E35-066
ET Model from China has a rapidly expanding catalogue of photo-etched and detail sets for a wide variety of kits in varying scales, together with a very prolific release schedule. This set is intended to fully detail the Dragon M1A1 Abrams kit # 3535.
Come on now....what would I know about the M1A1? Few (none) references on it, and it's a popular model with many modellers that know it inside and out. So don't look at this as a review...it isn't. It's a look at what you get. Examine the photographs, look at the scans of the instructions, and decide if it has what you need/want. This is quite a large and comprehensive set for the Dragon kit, consisting of nine frets of photo-etched brass....admittedly some of them quite small...and three metal parts plus a length of metal wire. The instructions run to six sides of A4 sized paper too. Taking into account that the vast majority of parts are quite small...in fact there are no really large parts...then it gives a good indication of the amount of work involved in fully installing this set on the base kit.
The set begins with the assembly of a smoke discharger cartridge box, and an ammunition box for later installation before moving onto installing parts to the actual kit. The instructions as mentioned are lengthy and quite complicated, so it would be wise to study them in some detail before commencing the build.
There are various additions provided for installing to the turret, including ring mount, machine gun ammunition belts, periscope housings, locking mechanisms for the hatches themselves, ammunition boxes, and even includes a cooling jacket for the roof mounted .50 cal along with smaller fittings such as a sight. In fact the amount of detail provided for the .50 cal and the M240 is quite extraordinary, and take up nearly a complete side of the instructions. They include such things as sights, retaining chains, cooling jackets as mentioned, barrel changing handles etc. Various parts are offered with alternatives, as no indication is given of what these alternatives represent, then you'll have to consult further references on which choice to make.
The aforementioned smoke discharger box is fixed to the turret sidewall, and there are various replacements provided for the brackets holding the large stowage basket at the rear of the turret. These will involve removing the moulded on plastic brackets, so be sure of what you're going to use and indeed if you can use it before chopping the kit parts! Along with many other smaller fittings and fixtures around the outside of the turret, we're also given a new treadplate patterned floor for the large stowage basket on the rear of the turret, and also various CIP Panels both louvered and flat for front and side of the turret. The engine air intakes receives new grills, various grab handles and stowage box handles are replaced, along with the rearmost panel of the reactive side armour on each side. There are new details provided for along the top edge of the reactive side armour, along with new slatted grills constructed from multiple parts for the rear wall of the vehicle/engine compartment.
As with other ET Model detail sets, this one is beautifully designed and manufactured. It won't be the easiest set to fully install however, so you might want to have some experience of using photo-etch before attempting this one. If you have that experience, have consulted your references and installed this set, you'll improve the basic Dragon kit out of all recognition. Well...no you won't. It will still be an M1A1....just a better looking, more detailed one.
My thanks to ET MODEL for the review sample.