US Army M1A2 Abrams
SEP TUSK II/TUSK/V2
OK, I have to be honest, when I put my name in the hat for this model, I thought my chances of getting it were very slim to NOT! So when I saw that it was coming to me, I was in shock and awe. Not to mention that I thought, “What have I just done?!”
I do not want to waste time telling you the history behind this vehicle. Most all of you are very familiar with this “beast” and know more than I do. Let’s just say that it is arguably one of the finest AFV’s on the planet and has the history to prove it. So, let’s open the box and see what we have.
Upon first look I was greeted with the turret halves and other bits for turret and hull. One of the first things that stuck out to me was the molded-on non-skid on the upper surfaces and the beautiful 3-piece gun barrel. This gem is molded round and already hollowed out for you! So excited that I forgot to tell you that you get nine tan-colored molded sprues of plastic, one clear sprue, one sheet of photo etch (mostly for the stowage basket), and pre-cut masks for the glass parts, and a very involved decal sheet for the different models. The tracks are of the single “rubber-band” type but the molding looks great. I’ve also been told that they should have hollow guide horns, which they do not. For the real detail-minded, you may want to look for another source. I know that Bronco makes a set and I’m sure there are metals ones, as well. Then again, so little of the track will be seen that it may not make that much of a difference.
Back to the sprues: the quality seems to be excellent, with fine details and really no flash to speak of. It also appears that knock-out marks will be hidden during the build. Academy seems to have upped their game with this – the last kit I built from them was rife with them. Another thing that I noticed is that the road wheels have detail, both inside and out.
The lower hull tub is not a tub at all but a multi-piece affair, but should present no problems. You also get a lower hull supplemental armor piece for the TUSK variants. Kudos to Academy! On the road wheels for the real Abrams, the hubs are clear plastic affairs. Not only do you get these, but again, you get a choice for the variants.
The instructions are a new way that I’ve never seen before in that you get not one, not two, not three, but four 8-page manuals. Each one measures 11.75” x 33” unfolded on a heavy-weight 80-100lb offset paper. You also get a 4-page color and decal guide on gloss paper, 11.75” x 16.5”.
In conclusion, I’m very impressed by the level of detail and how Academy has added all of the extra details for the various models. This should build up to one fine model right out of the box. I can’t wait to get going on this one. Enjoy the sprue and instruction photos.
for the review sample.
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