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Abrams tank differences ?

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Im looking at building an M1 Abrams in the upcoming desert storm or ANZAC group build. What are the visusl differences between the M1A2 in Tamiya’s 1/48 kit and the earlier M1A1 used in Desert Storm ? Also could the M1A2 be used as an Australian Abrams ? 

Edited by Corsairfoxfouruncle
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The M1A1 has no CITV system (the 'dalek' type drum in the front of the loader's hatch) but the mount is still visible, covered by a flat 'manhole cover'.

The commander's cupola is completely different and would need replacing/scratchbuilding.

The air-con unit in the kit is not suitable for a Desert Storm vehicle (but OK for a 2003 OIF vehicle)

The engine deck/fuel filler cap configuration is fine for an A1 but less so for most A2s


The Australians do not use the A2 - they use a variant of the M1A1.


As boxed, the Tamiya kit is suitable for an early M1A2 and even then, just a very specific batch. The markings in the kit are for 3rd Armored Cavalry Regt in Iraq, 2003. They were one of the only units to operate the M1A2 in this configuration. Most A2s that served in Iraq had additional improvements such as armoured shields and add-on armour.


The vast majority of M1A2s are not 'new' tanks - they are rebuilt and upgraded from much earlier tanks. The 3ACR tanks (as per the kit) were some of the few examples that were new-builds before the production line finally closed down in the early 90s. After that, every A2 was a retread of an older vehicle.


Hopefully someone might produce an aftermarket commander's cupola because it would allow modellers to backdate the kit to an M1A1 quite easily and open up a vast range of new possibilities - but I'm not holding my breath.



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