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The Meng version of the Abrams M1A2 Tusk II became available while I was working on Tamiya's effort which had a few issues associated with it. Its been in the stash a while and I decided to give a go while taking a break from an F-16. I'll spare people the pictures of the box and parts as there's already a good review of those at

 

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235003243-m1a2-sep-abrams-tusk-iii-135/#comment-2372771

 

Its a good kit with rich detail on the parts and clean mouldings without flash. Its a step up in detail from the Tamiya offering and was about the same price. No need for Eduard or other aftermarket extras. It does suffer from a couple of Meng issues. The ejector pin marks are like a bad rash but generally are on the hidden sides of parts. The sprues connecting fragile parts are way to thick and the fit of parts in general is so precise that a layer of primer is enough to throw things off. Some of the brass that's to be fitted looks a bit "chunky". I'll see how that goes when I get round to it. Having no flash on the track bogies is a joy. As both kits came on the market within a year of each other they should be of similar quality however I'm guessing that Tamiya went for the easy option and upgraded an earlier model with a few extra sprue for the Tusk II.  

 

The track on this kit is made from individual links. Bit like Friuls but plastic. Meng supply a jig for track assembly which is rubbish but its not necessary. A few nights of old fashioned track bashing is required. Basic hull assembled easily and here it is waiting for some sandy type colours. 

 

sIMG_0369

 

It includes a working suspension although whether that is any use is debatable. The suspension arms are rather fragile and I've already broken one of them with the Frankenhands. The rear of the engine deck was a pig to fit and requiring copious filing and swearing. Unexpected as most of their parts generally have a good fit. This kit is an Abrams M1A2 however extra parts in the box and some markings on holes to be drilled would suggest that Meng are also planning an M1A1 at some time or other.

 

Last night I completed the first track using 80 blocks, leaving a few over. I wish I'd had a proper look at the link with the earlier review of the kit. The tracks are omnidirectional. After I saw this I went back to my effort and yes I've managed to mix them up....grrr! I'll cover that up with sandy looking stuff. Pity Meng made no mention of it in their instructions. My fault really, if I'd looked at the link pins properly I'd have seen my mistake earlier. Painting the tracks is mind numbing and best done when you want to switch off. Meng suggests an all over colour for the various parts however in reality that's not the case and the individual rubbers need to be painted a different colour from the metal blocks they are fixed to. That's 640 in total. I'm half way.  

 

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Even if I am not a big fan of modern amour (but I have some in my stash) I will be checking your progress here. 

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Looking forward to watching this one....

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Francis, Kris and Sean, thanks for looking in. Second track is almost ready and should have it finished and fitted in a couple of days.

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Both tracks now in place and a first lick of paint. Turret partially assembled. Not so good; lost grab handle on front deck, bit of wire needed there. Spent some time knackering up the track rubbers in the places they would be seen. Now the fun begins. I need to attach the side skirts and after first attempts I won't be adding any more of the hull detail until the job is complete. Too much of a risk. The side skirts have to fit in 13 places and that isn't an easy fit let alone when the parts are covered in adhesive. 

 

sIMG_0377

 

The fit of the turret is so tight that even after a lot of filing I couldn't fit it without breaking bits off. The layer of primer and paint was too much. I ended up solving it all by cutting the lugs of the turret ring so now its just push on which works just as well. 

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Tracks looks good. 

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On 6/22/2017 at 6:21 AM, Kris B said:

Tracks looks good. 

 

Thanks Chris.

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Posted (edited)

Minor update. Side skirts fitted but what a challenge that was. The fit was far from good and needed quite a bit of adjustment. Strange as for most part only two parts are involved namely the hull deck and the backplate for the skirts. The points that are required to be fitted do not correspond with each other. Even now the fit isn't perfect but it should work. I managed to break off most of the parts fitted previously including the track and some bogies but most of that has been fixed. 

 

sIMG_0378

 

I tried improving the fit of the turret which wasn't sitting properly. I'd already cut off the two lugs which normally hold it in place. I milled the inner turret ring and well as the raised ring. The latter had to be thinned quite a bit. Unfortunately the turret suffered a fair bit and has currently gone back for maintenance. Even with these issues along the way the level of detail that Meng have included is considerable compared to that of the Tamiya kit I built earlier. 

Edited by Reilly

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Reilly

 

It's starting to look like an Abrams, what the heck?

 

I can sympathize with you on the fit of the side skirts.  I have built 2 Rye Field Models Abrams, a M1A1 and a M1A2 and even though the side skirts were different they still didn't

fit worth a damn.  Rye Field even has some of the mounting brackets on the right side forward of the turret in the wrong place and both have to be moved to match the locations on the top of the skirts.

Then there are about 10 little PE strips about 1mm wide with tiny bolt heads to be added to the top of the skirts and about 6 per side have to be cut to fit. 

 

Then there are the 6 parts per link that add up to something like 960 parts for both runs of workable track and half is hidden behind the skirts.  I sprayed mine NATO Black then went over the metal part of the links with a brush and Tamiya Deck Linoleum leaving the rubber pads as black.  They turned out ok and with a little dirt they look fine, a little rusty but with black rubber pads.

 

Also on both of mine the side baskets on the turret fit fine but the rear basket and then the add-on basket to that one required some fiddly diddly playing to make them presentable.

 

I'm not familiar with the Meng version other than looking thru the box at the LHS but from experience the Abrams I've built were pretty involved kits.  And here I was

thinking of the Rye Field version with the complete interior........not, no for sure not.

 

Keep at it, it will turn out great and there's something about an Abrams that just says "Don't fool with me!!"

 

Take care,

 

Lloyd

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Thanks for the likes. I thought about the Rye Field Models version with interior and engine. I don't think I want to do another Abrams for a while once I've completed this one. From Lloyd's description of the Rye Field version without interior I think I'll give it a miss. Meantime I've managed to complete the hull apart from finishing the paintwork and I'm now on the turret. Turret baskets completed and were relatively straightforward. I fitted the brass before securing the sides which made things a little easier when it came to fitting. Now working on the two cupolas. With the commanders cupola there are three rings which are intended to fit together to allow the gun traverse to operate when all is in place. No chance, at least not out of the box and even after extensive filing its not going top happen. I'll just fix it in place. Compared to Tamiya the detail on the Meng kit is extensive. 

 

On the hull I cut of the pack panels of the side skirts. Often they were left off to gain access to the drive sprockets. I couldn't get them to fit along with the panel which goes across the back of the tracks in a short of L-shape so cutting was the easiest. 

I've been using a paint set from AK Interactive specifically for Meng US vehicles. The sand colour is the closest to the original colours I've seen. I don't like the paint though. Its intended to be competition to Vallejo but I prefer their Air Colour and Tamiya's paints. I've tried adjusting the pressure settings on the air brush but it doesn't spray as well as the others. Maybe I just never hit the right combination of settings. Just thinking about it a smaller needle might help. I currently use a 0.4mm needle but my 0.2mm needle may give me a better result.

 

 

sIMG_0380

 

sIMG_0381

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/4/2017 at 5:25 AM, BlackMax12 said:

Keep at it, it will turn out great and there's something about an Abrams that just says "Don't fool with me!!"

 

Take care,

 

Lloyd

 

Indeed nothing else quite effectively says STOP at a road block than an MBT quietly purring as its electrics bring the main gun to bear. 

Edited by Reilly

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I've got the trumpy Tusk and meng kit too' looking forward to your thread.

 

Regards oz!

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On 7/14/2017 at 9:42 PM, oz! said:

I've got the trumpy Tusk and meng kit too' looking forward to your thread.

 

Regards oz!

I hope you have a bit more luck with your kits than I've been having with this one.

 

Regards

John.

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I've been adding the various parts to the turret or at least that was what I thought I'd do. Not so fast there. Started with the gunners hatch and I couldn't get it to fit. Tried filing away the inner rings of the hatch and moving the hinging but I only got as far as being almost shut. Next the commander's cupola; looked good in the instructions, not so good when it comes to the parts. Nothing fitted with anything else. I had to file away more than 6mm of plastic just to get the periscopes to fit. Thats difficult as there's a limit to what can be taken of the periscopes while still retaining a frame around the glass. The rest had to be filed off the already thing segments between the scopes. The top of the cupola wouldn't fit at all so I ended up starting again and completely making the commander's cupola from plasticard and some of the spare parts provided in the kit. I used the original parts for the commanders hatch as the curved bracket was too difficult to make myself. If I tried to open it the bracket bends and the whole lot collapses like a bad pudding. I had wanted the commander's hatch open but now it looks like it will be the gunner's hatch open inadvertently which isn't exactly SOPs. 

 

sIMG_0405

 

I now have to add the ring for the machine gun and no it doesn't fit either but its probably just some filing and scrapping that's needed. Meng think that it can be rotated once assembled, I think not, at least not without cutting away too much on the parts concerned. The camera turret and the camera cover needed a bit of modification to make it fit but that didn't present too many problems.

 

I  don't mind having to put in the work if I've been adding resin or brass and general clean up of parts can be expected with any kit. That's just part of the game but for a kit of this price I'd expect the basic fit to be good, not perfect but at least good. I still rate the detail on the kit. They clearly paid a lot of attention in that area. Any rivets or stamped numbers visible on photos can be seen on the model. 

 

I've been using the Meng colour set for this one which is from AK Interactive. As I said earlier the colour is good but compared to Vallejo I'm not happy with them. After adapting my airbrushing I need three or more coats to get any coverage. Applying too much at once has the usual consequences of puddling. Of course with more coats the bottles empty pretty quickly, and just to help, the required colours are only sold as part of a set rather than individual bottles. I had hoped to get a 113 and a Bradley out of the same paints. I can scratch that plan.

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22 hours ago, Arachnid said:

Worth the struggle ?

I hope so. It beats Tamiya's version on detail however it has put me off anything Meng for a while which is a pity as there's a Meng Bradley in the stash with a complete interior. Just needs some cable work added. I was also eyeing up some of the WW1 era machines but will leave them be for a while. Local model shop has a nice stack of shiny Meng boxes calling out for attention. I must resist.....I must resist.....I must resist.....

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5 hours ago, FrancisGL said:

You have changed the color ?, in the last photos it seems clearer ...:popcorn:, cheers mate :yes:

Hi Francis,

 

Turret got another all over coating of desert sand. Planning to add a lighter shade over the top surfaces to give a bit of the bleaching effect from the sun. Sides of the hull are a little darker and I tried to blend the different shades there.

 

Cheers

John.

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Thought I could get the construction finished on this over the weekend and that all problems were behind me. Not a chance.

 

sIMG_0406

 

 

sIMG_0408

 

Just the three machine guns and their screens to fit. Having spent some time fitting the screens to the commanders cupola it surprises me that Meng ever thought that ring carrying same could ever freely rotate. Had to remake the glass inserts for the gunners machine gun screen as the double glass provided was too thick. Fitting the coaxial gun to the mantlet is a bit tricky as it has to fit in three places and unlike most of the other parts the defining fit point is as wide as a barn door allowing for various possibilities in getting it wrong. 

Spent an hour going through the trash last night trying to find the traverse release for the gunners mount. Its about the size of one of the sprue ejector pins and was consigned to the black bag as a piece of sprue. Kept telling myself to make a new one but refused to give up. Eventually found it and rewarded myself with a gin. Final push now to get this finished. Still toying with the ideas of making a tow cable for the rear. Oh and I lost one of the front light protection bars. No idea where that went, probably came off while trying to fit something else. Need to cobble together a new one.

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Reilly

 

It's looking good so far.  Too bad Meng was in a hurry to compete with Rye Field, Academy, Dragon and Tamiya with their version of an Abrams

and didn't put the time into engineering.  Or here's a thought, try assembling a kit before marketing it, novel idea isn't it?.

 

There is a Meng M1A2 at the LHS but after your adventures I guess I'll stick with the Rye Field version if I build another.  I have 2 already plus

that Assault Breacher built on the M1 chassis but Abrams are like Tiger IIs, they sort of grow on you.

 

I did order a Trumpeter  1/16 M1A1 but I'm kind of having second thoughts after reading a couple of reviews.  Maybe one can make a purse 

from a sow's ear, but maybe not.

 

Still having fun though, and yes I've been on that trash bag hunt too so I can appreciate looking through last night's supper leftovers for that one teensy little piece.

It's even more fun in the winter when the bag is in the bin and it's only -25C out there.

 

Lloyd

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Lloyd

 

I've often wondered if there are kits that hit the shelves before anybody has actually built them. I've definitely had a couple of them, thankfully not too many. I had a look at the Rye Field Abrams with interior but gave it a miss in favour of the Meng version. This is my second Abrams, the first one being the Tamiya Tusk which had a couple of issues. I've another Tamiya A1 in the stash but I'll leave it for a while. I had seen that Tamiya were bringing out a 1/16th scale version and for a moment thought about it but its not fully RC just an empty shell at the moment.

 

Sorting through the trash bag is a bit like archaeology as you carefully go through layer by layer trying to piece together last weeks activities in the hope of finding the emptying of the workshop bin between the smoked haddock age and the Chinese takeaway age while hoping that emptying the vacuum cleaner was a couple of days earlier. Mind you -25C is a bit nippy but at least the takeaway will have been frozen rather than being moist :smile:.

 

Cheers

John.

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Yes the take out food usually isn't that great the second time around.

 

Here in Canucksville I've heard that Tamiya 1/16 static M1A1, not the RC version mind you, is going to retail for close to a grand.  Way to rich for me and typical Tamiya,

great engineering and moulding but skimpy on detail.  The metal chassis and super duper metal torsion bars and metal swing arms and wheels are all wasted on a static

display model in my opinion.

 

Try one of those Rye Field Abrams. Other than the tedious track builds and a misplaced hinge or two for the side skirt mounts and a little fiddle with the add-on rear basket they are great models.  The hatches, cupola

and all of the TUSK add-on stuff fits great.  I wouldn't go as far as the one with the complete interior but their other 2 are good, not real easy, but good.

 

Lloyd

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Same info here on the 1/16 M1A1. Didn't realise that it was going to cost close to a grand. That's not worth it if its only static. Needs to be RC to work outside in the summer. Great when mates are round. Give them the Panzer IV or even the King Tiger and then fire up the Leopard from behind the shed and wallop them. 

 

You're now starting to tempt me with the Rye Field version. Must resist..... Damn there's one on the shelf at a store near here.

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