M1A1 Abrams
w/resin parts

Italeri Kit No. 6438
1:35th Scale
First Look Review by Terry Ashley

Italeri have joined all other major kit manufacturers in releasing an M1A1 Abrams with this “new” kit which also includes resin parts for the engine and interior.

The kit is basically the M1A2 (Kit #6390) released a while back minus the A2 turret parts (Cupola, CITV) and a new sprue for the A1 turret parts with 237 parts moulded in beige plastic with another 23 resin parts as mentioned plus a small decal sheet, clear sheet for the optics and mesh for the turret racks.

The quality of the resin parts is very good with crisp well defined details and just the normal casting blocks to be removed and includes five parts for the driver’s compartment (plus some plastic bits), ten for the turret interior (again with additional plastic parts) and eight for the engine assembly. The engine parts are completely new and bare no resemblance to the old Kirin resin engine released some years ago.

The plastic parts are well moulded with a minimum of pin and sink marks, which is something that has troubled Italeri kits at times and have nice details included such as full non-skid surfaces on the hull and turret and link and length T-158 track.

The Lower Hull:
This has the lower hull panel and side panels as separate parts that allow good detail definition on the hull side details such as axle mounting plates and axles although there are a few pin marks to be removed from the sides and axles fixed in place.
The road wheels are the usual separate inner and outer wheels with nice hub bolt details while the drive sprockets have the lightening holes included although not the right shape due to moulding constraints but at least they are there for starters. Also included is the outer drive sprocket disc seen on some USMC A1s but no snorkel gear or other USMC parts are included and these discs aren’t usually seen on Army A1s.

The resin driver’s interior has the main tub with separate rear wall plus the seat, a couple of instrument clusters and plastic steering levers and this obviously has to be fully painted and fitted before the hull top is attached.

The engine is in four main parts with the centre turbine/transmission and final drives all included in one casting with very crisp well defined details and added to the is the large top ducting and two side mounted radiators with locating pins on the parts for precise location and the main turbine and top ducting parts also has a large square locating plug to ensure they are located perfectly square.
There is scope for adding the maze of a wiring and other plumbing for the engine to really finish the job and there are also resin batteries to fill the battery compartment when the doors are shown open for all the major components for a nice engine assembly.

Upper Hull:
This is one large part with separate engine bay panels and rudimentary engine compartment without any detail on the walls as well as separate doors for the battery compartment and separate driver’s hatch.

The detail on the hull top has all the A1 features of side NBC panels, non-skid surfaces and x stamping of the front fenders and correct head light guards as well as separate side skirts with the front panel also separate so can be shown swung open for maintenance if required?

At the rear the kit engine exhaust louver panels are in two separate parts with additional resin louvers inserts for the inside of the doors to fill the void when showing these open and there is the optional APU originally mounted on the rear hull panel before being relocated to the turret basket.

The Turret:
This has the usual upper shell of correct size and lower section and again includes the non-skid panels and correct Commander’s cupola for the A1 which includes optional clear sheet for the optics or solid ‘lenses’ which you paint the colour of the optics. The cupola also has a separate four part hatch and the three small lifting eyes. The loader’s hatch and main sight also have clear sheet optics and the blank off disc for the CITV mounting in included.

The main 120mm gun is in the usual two halves with separate muzzle reference device while the mantlet is in eight parts with the co-ax MG tube being hollowed out with rudimentary ribbing on the inside.

On the inside are resin side wall panels and front instrument panels with nicely defined details and the rear ammo bin shutoff panels and a basic resin gun breech plus additional plastic parts for a good start to super detailing the turret interior.

The rear turret basket has separate lower and rear frames with the mesh provided for the lower surface after being cut form the sheet using the full sized template included in the instructions and there is a basic EAPU for the basket but this lacks defined details. The Commander’s .50 cal MG is also rather basic by today’s standards while the smoke grenade clusters have separate mounting plates and there is a selection of additional equipment such as 20mm ammo boxes, back packs and jerry cans to be added to the side and rear of the turret as required.

One thing to note is that there are no additional parts for DS or OIF vehicles as with most other Abrams kits released these days but these shouldn’t be too hard to find if you wanted to build a Gulf M1A1 from this kit?

The Tracks:
The tracks are link and length T158 track which have nice details but a few pin marks on the inside shoes and minor sunk marks on some pads which shouldn’t be difficult to remove and while the instructions show to install the track early one advantage of this type of track is it can be fitted after the top hull and side skirts are installed by just fitting the track you can see and eliminating the top run as well as leaving the skirts off till last for more options on fitting the track.

Italer Italer

The small decal sheet has markings for two vehicles, one in three colour NATO cam for a Germany based M1A1 in 1990 or an overall sand vehicle from Kuwait 1991 although as mentioned there are no parts such as CIP panels for Gulf War vehicles included in the kit.


Overall this will build into a respectable M1A1 with all the basics there and the inclusion of the nice resin parts is a big plus giving you the option of building a fully detailed kit. As with most Italeri kits it offers good value for money but not having any OIF parts in a kit released today leaves it feeling a little dated.


The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Common Parts with updates

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Abrams Main Battle Tank
M1A1 and M1A2

Museum Ordnance Special #9
Darlington Productions Inc.
Mini Color Series #7502
Concord Publications
ISBN 962-361-638-4
M1 Abrams
Main Battle Tank
Osprey New Vanguard 2
ISBN: 185532 283 8
Abrams Company
Europa Militaria No.28
The Crosswood Press Ltd.
ISBN 1 86126 285 X

Thanks to Italeri for the review kit.

Page created 27 December 2004

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