Fly Model M1A1 Abrams

Discussion in 'First Impressions Kit Reviews' started by pashlispaht, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. pashlispaht

    pashlispaht Member

    Model: M1A1 Abrams
    Publisher: Fly Model
    Scale: 1/25
    Format: Unknown (approx. 12x16.5")
    Designer: Unknown

    I am new to these model reviews; will give it my best shot.

    I purchased this model about a year and a half ago. I also purchased several Halinski armor models at the same time, and when I received all the models, I eagerly looked at each one, and I was disappointed when I first saw the inside of this model. The Halinski Panther had spoiled me. I put the model away and had not looked at it again until about a month ago. When I looked at it closer, I was impressed with what I saw.

    At first appearance, the print quality gives the impression that the rest of the model was of the same poor quality. But this model appears to be quite detailed at closer glance. This model is not from the new generation of computer designed models, but the parts are well drawn even though the lines are a little heavy in places. The written instructions are very scanty, but it doesn't matter since they are in Polish anyway. There are 5 pages of instructions and they appear to be fairly logical and orderly. Each section is numbered and it looks like an advanced beginner would have little trouble building this model from the instructions alone. Building is done in a logical sequence per the drawn instructions.

    One weak area of this kit is the print quality and the paper quality. I noticed a lot of off-register color and in some instances parts are missing some of their color due to poor printer registration. The colors are also uninspiring. I think that there are only 4 colors in the entire model. The model is presented in the desert camoflauge version, but the picture on the cover does not correspond very well to the actual product. The actual color is almost a lemon yellow in appearance. And there is no weathering. Paper quality is poor compared to modern kits such as the new GPM or Halinski offerings. Paper is very stiff and heavy, which is probably good for this subject, considering the angular nature and large flat panels of the real M1A1. But I can see that making some of the smaller parts using the same stiff paper that the hull and turret are constructed from will be a challenge. When I build this kit, I will most likely scan the smaller parts and print them on thinner paper.

    One area that is of interest to me after my previous experience with armor models is the suspension. This model appears to have the same weak suspension that so many other armor models are afflicted with. I predict that the suspension arms will separate from the hull due to the weight of the model causing the small disc between the hull and the suspension arm shearing or delaminating. The axle design appears a little stronger, with a partial mortise and tenon joint to the suspension arm. When I build this model I plan to reinforce all of the arms with metal rod through the axles and suspension arms. These will extend into the hull and be anchored on the opposite side of the hull like the torsion bars in the actual tank. This should be simple to do since the interior is not modeled.

    Tracks are of the "belt" design. A redesign utilizing individual track links should not be too difficult due to the simple nature of the real M1A1 treads.

    By now, you probably think that I am crazy concerning the functional nature of the tracks and suspension. Well, you are right! I believe that models with wheels should have the wheels turn; models with propellers should spin, and models with treads should be able to rumble along convincingly! But enough on that topic. That is a subject for a different post!

    The turret rotates, and it utilizes a design that permanently attaches it to the hull. I do not like this and I will probably change it so that if I should ever need to get into the hull to fix or adjust torsion bars, etc., I will be able to do so. The main gun appears to be able to elevate as well.

    The interior of the model is not modeled except for a very small section under the driver's hatch and the commander's and loader's positions. I was not impressed with these. I will leave them out when I build this model.

    I have seen a set of wooden wheels and a wooden barrel for sale on Saul Jacobs site for approx. $25. This might be a good idea for a beginner that is not up for the challenge of forming the hundreds of parts that would otherwise be required. This set might also be available on the GPM accessories site???

    It might sound like I am critical of this model, but I want to be honest and upfront about my impressions. The model is from the early 90's, and you have to keep this in mind when you are looking it over. For those who are used to the newest GPM and Halinski offerings, it will appear very crude and simple. But there is an incredible amount of detail and a very high parts count that is not immediately apparent. I have not seen or heard of any other models of this tank, which is surprising. My overall impression is that this model will build into a very nice representation of the M1A1, but it will take a determined builder who should be prepared for a little scratchbuilding and probably a lot of trial fitting. A Halinski this is not! Would I buy it again knowing what I know now? Yes! Would I recommend it to others? Yes, but as with any armor model, one should be prepared for a lengthy build and it will take a lot of patience to finish it.

    Instructions: Diagrams - B+ Written - ?
    Paper Quality: C-
    Level of detail: B+
    Print quality: C-
    Artwork: C
    Value for money: A
    Skill Level: Highly motivated and patient beginner should be able to complete due to the orderly layout of the visual diagrams.
    Parts count: Approx. 1400
  2. pashlispaht

    pashlispaht Member

    A few more details on this model - The designer is Henryk Wisniewski, and the format is A3 booklet. I also neglected to mention the number of pages of this model. There are 9 pages of parts, with four printed on light paper. Two of these are designed to be backed up on 1mm card, the other two include items such as the treads and parts that need to be rolled, as well as several parts requiring backing on 1mm card. There are also 5 pages of illustrated diagrams and 1 page of history and general directions.
  3. tino

    tino Member

    I hope that this will enhance your review...
  4. pashlispaht

    pashlispaht Member

    Wow, that sure is impressive looking! Did you do any scratchbuilding on that kit? I do not seem to recall all the items that were stored on the turret and bustle. Did you repaint your kit? My model is much lighter in color, much more yellow than tan. I would love to see more photos if you have any.
  5. tino

    tino Member

    Hi pashlispaht,
    This picture isnt mine, i take it from Spishop and i dont have any more information about this kit.

    I am not really an armor modeller, but i have one in constrution the PzKpfw I from Super Model and it is a simple and inexpensive tank.
    I think that this simple model it isnt a bad model.

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