Review Flyhawk 1/72 M1A2 SEP with Mine Clearing Blade
There’s been plenty written about the Abrams tank so I won’t bother repeating it all here other than to say you can google everything you might want to know.
This is the first modern 1/72 scale vehicle from Flyhawk and with this kit they’ve changed a few things including being innovative in the way the tracks are done. So without further ado let’s talk about what’s in the box.
The box is a sturdy top opening box and is pretty full. The box contains:
- 175 plastic parts on 11 sprues
- 24 photoetch parts on 1 sheet
- 5 clear parts on 1 sprue
- 1 small decal sheet
- instructions booklet plus 4-page instructions for the plow
All the sprues are bagged and if there are 2 parts in a bag there’s a rubber band holding them together so that can’t damage each other. One sprue had 3 parts removed, the turret baskets, and they were wrapped separately in the box. I’m assuming this is because they discovered that these parts can be damaged in transit. I didn’t see any such damage in my original kit though. As you can see from the video and photo gallery the level of detail on the parts is very good and up to Flyhawk’s usual standards. The sprue attachment points are small and any ejector pin marks are out of the way and not a concern.
The instructions are in a booklet form for building the tank and there’s a separate 4-page sheet to build the mine plow. I find this a lot easier to work with than the what Flyhawk have done before. The instructions themselves follow the same format as before written on glossy paper, mostly in black-and-white with parts highlighted in colour to make them stand out and make the instructions easier to follow. There are also written hints and notes of things to watch out for as you go through so you don’t do something at one step is can cause you problems at a later step. Overall the instructions are very good.
The instructions to build the tank are in six steps on six pages of the 10-page instructions. Some of the steps contain a few sub-steps as well.
- Step one starts by putting the bottom half of the hull together, adding the inner road wheels and then the inner half of the drive wheel and along with inner half of the tracks. What Flyhawk have done with the tracks is split them into halves front to back into an inner half and an outer half. We basically build up the tracks and wheels in layers starting at the side of the hull and working out. First goes the inner half of the drive gear, idler, and road wheels. Next, we put the inside half of the track on, and this half of the track contains the track teeth which holds the previously mentioned parts in place. Then finally we add the outer halves of the road wheels.
- In step two we add the outer half of the tracks which slide over the road wheels and finally we put on the outer half of the drive gear. In this step we also fit the side skirts to the upper hull, join that to the lower hull and add some photo etch to the top of the nicely detailed upper whole. Note the upper hull has some very fine detail on it including the non-slip covering.
- Step three is building most of the turret. It starts by building the cupola including clear parts going on inside, so you will have to do some painting before you fit these. There’s also a note that the clear parts need to be tinted. Note the machine gun fitted to the cupola has a hollow barrel. Then we fit the main gun and the top half of the turret to the lower part along with a few smaller parts. The main gun is done in plastic but has a hollow barrel. The non-slip coating is also reproduced on the turret.
- Step four is building the storage containers for the back of the turret out of plastic and photo-etch.
- Step five is mostly attaching the stowage you built in step four onto the back and sides of the turret. There are also some small parts that go onto the turret.
- Step six is attaching the turret to the whole and adding a few final pieces of photo etch to the turret and back of the whole.
Next, we have a list of the paints used in the five decal options possible for a non-plow vehicle using AK interactive colours. The colours are also named in English, Chinese and Japanese. A handy addition to the kit is a photo etch masking guide for the road wheels. You can paint the road wheels a rubber colour and then use the mask to paint the side of the wheel in the colour you need, either sand or green.
The instruction booklet also includes the first of the five paint schemes included in the kit. The one in the booklet is in NATO green, brown and black. The other four paint schemes on the bottom of the box and are all in desert camouflage, so basically overall sand.
Then we have the 4-page guide for building the plow.
- Step one builds the 2 large earth moving parts of the plow
- Step 2 puts the skis together – for want of a better word.
- Step 3 assembles the frame on which all the other parts hang
- Step 4 joins all the parts that were made in steps 1-3.
- Step 5 attached the plow to the tank
- Step 6 is indicated, but it’s just a view of the tank with nothing left to do. perhaps this will be useful for making sure you have the plow fitted correctly.
Next, we have a list of the paints used in the option with the plow fitted using AK interactive colours and the 6th painting guide with the plow fitted. Incidentally, the tank number is the same as one of the non-plow options.
This is the only kit I can see of an M1A2 with a plow. It’s a nicely detailed kit of the M1A2 and plow with a lot of small parts. Just over 200 parts for a 1/72 scale kit gives you an idea of the level of detail. If you want the best M1A2 on the market right now – this is it.
I found this kit available at LuckyModel for $19.99
Many thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample.