|ET MODEL - M1A2 SEP MBT Detail Set|
A look at what's in the new ET Model set fro the Dragon kit!
M1A2 SEP MBT Detail Set
Manufacturer: ET Model
Material: Photo-etched brass, Resin & Metal
Serial Number: E35-067
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 provide (almost) everything you need to super detail the Dragon kit of the M1A2 Abrams MBT.
This is one of those sets from ET Model that seems to be a bit...huge. There are twelve frets of photo-etched brass supplied in a plastic wallet with a cardboard header, along with a length of wire tow rope, a small resin part still attached to its pouring block, and three bi-conical metal springs. Of course the photo-etched frets range from quite large to quite small....but it's still a fairly exhaustive detail set!
Not forgetting that it's an Abrams we're talking of here, I'll try to describe what you actually get....although you'll probably have to resort to looking at the pictures and the scans of the instructions shown below!
First up, the instructions run to seven sides of A4-sized paper. Printed in the usual fashion of exploded line drawings in isometric projection on green paper...despite what the scans show below which I've adjusted to appear a little clearer.
Installation begins with constructing a number of small separate sub-assemblies for installing at the appropriate time, such as the smoke discharger box and ammunition cans, before moving to the construction of the periscope housing and detail for the loaders hatch. This involves the removal of a small amount of plastic detail from the kit parts, but nothing that could be termed major surgery. The new detail provided as photo-etch is well worth it though! There's a complete ne hatch flange, plus detail for the hinge sides, periscope mounting ring, plus various handles, locking catches etc.
The instructions then move onto the detailed parts provided for the .50 cal. It never ceases to amaze me how many details these aftermarket companies manage to provided for improving something so basically small as a 1/35th scale .50 cal. This one is no different. We're offered first a complete cooling jacket, a replacement barrel change handle, and sights along with various other smaller details and retaining chains. I have to admit to not being a great fan of photo-etched chains, although the size of these ones means that with a good paint job they should look reasonable. Of course the ammunition box mentioned earlier is also provided. There's almost as many new details provided for the 7.62mm machine gun on the loader's hatch, plus a new pintle ring and mount, and ammunition can. Both machine guns are provided with photo-etched ammunition, but to be honest, in the absence of another product, I would leave the cans closed and omit this, since it's just too flat and two dimensional looking.
The smoke grenade launchers either side of the turret each receive new mounting brackets for greater detail, and in amongst the plethora of smaller detailed fixtures and fittings supplied for around the turret there is also a tread patterned floor for both sections of the rear stowage basket. I must admit to being slightly confused with this section of the instructions. The photographs from ET Model of the installed set show the rearmost stowage basket constructed of what looks like brass rod. Since there aren't the materials to construct this provided in the set, I would have to presume it's another ET Model set fro this Dragon kit, although no mention of it is made on he instructions? We are given new floor plates for the two jerry can brackets either side of the stowage basket too, although again the brackets themselves are shown constructed from photo-etch, yet none are provided in this set. There's also a louvered CIP panel provided for the rear of the basket, which looks quite effective, even though it's constructed from just one part, cleverly designed to be folded in such a way as to look as if it has separate louvres.
All the various irregular-shaped engine meshes are given new ET Model versions,, with different mesh panels having slightly differing patterns, indicating some good research on behalf of ET Model. There's more or less two sides of instructions then that concerns themselves with a myriad of smaller brackets, handles, fittings etc., that are far too numerous too mention, but looking at the instructions below will give you a fair indication of what's included...and what's involved with using them all!
The last two sides of the instructions moves to the rear of the vehicle, and the grid structure across the entire width of the vehicle is replaced with photo-etch, this time being constructed of separate horizontal and vertical parts for better detail. Unusually perhaps the vertical members are not actually supplied in the set, but it is suggested you use 0.3mm diameter rod. Helpful...but really should be supplied in the set! There's a small photo-etched jig supplied in the set to help you construct the grid, and each of the supplied horizontal members has a series of small holes to feed the rod you have to supply yourself...through! They actually look very, very effective once constructed, and the jig makes the entire process as painless as it can be. Also at the back end we're given the two hinged end sections of the Chobham armour plus light surrounds, and a complete replacement for the infantry phone on the right hand side, which includes a resin handset that is supplied in the set. This needs careful removal from it's pouring block, but it's beautifully cast, even having small holes in the earpiece! Again...if you want to wire it up, you'll have to supply your own fine wire.
If you're a modern armour fan, and you have one of the Dragon kits in your stash, then set is definitely well worth considering. Especially when its cost is taken into account, which seems to be remarkably good value. Perhaps that's why you need to supply your own rod and wire? Note that although the sprung antennae bases shown on the ET Model photographs are included in the set, the clear bottle used on the antennae and shown on the photographs are not. They can be obtained separately in the NATO antennas set SR35-027.
My thanks to ET MODEL for the review sample.