M1A1HA Abrams
1st Marine Tank Battalion Bagdad 2003

DML 1:35 Scale Smart Kit #3533
Review b
y Terry Ashley
The kit:
Just as Tamiya re-released their M2A2 Bradley and M113 kits updated with new parts for OIF so has Dragon updated and re-released their M1A1HA Abrams kit (#3517) from 1992 with extra parts to represent an M1A1HA of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion, Bagdad 2003.

DragonThe kit is the same as the 1992 release minus the crew figures but with 5 new sprues for the OIF bits, a small etched fret and printed items plus a small decal sheet so I won’t spend time going over the original parts as most will be familiar with what’s in the box, suffice to say it has the same well moulded parts with full driver’s position (which you can’t see but you know it’s there), plus the interior turret parts, separate engine deck if you want to add an engine and the link and length ‘big foot’ tracks but still has the drive sprockets without lightening holes.

The new parts give you the USMC style smoke grenade racks for either side of the turret, the new APU for the rear turret basket plus the additional smaller equipment rack added to the rear of this with etched screens done by Lion Roar to add to the bottom or sides. To fill these racks are items of personal equipment that are moulded in a flexible vinyl material that results in very good detail on front and back of the large packs but does make it more difficult to remove the centre line moulding seam.

There is also the large engine exhaust tower for the rear but this is not used with this kit, (shown in the instructions as unused parts) These are a leftover from the previously released M1A1HA Marines (kit No.3531)

The anti-missile dazzler is also provided for mounting on the turret roof as well as three louvered CIP panels and two self adhesive CIP panels for the front of the turret to complete the updated bits. As a bonus there is also a printed sheet of MRE ration boxes to add to the turret baskets.


Markings are provided for one vehicle only this being “MANIACO” of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion and includes the chevron unit markings as well the vehicle number for the rear hull and smaller lettering on the end of the barrel. There are also small decal blocks to add to the periscopes on the Commander’s cupola, although these are in solid black.

All the decals are in black only and while this is correct for the unit markings the actual photo of the vehicle on the box top appears to show the name “MANIACO” on the fume extractor in a dark tan with black outline?


In all Dragon seem to have done a good job in providing the additional parts to bring the kit up to spec for OIF USMC operations with the box top photo giving some good reference of the vehicle so you can model in the little bits of damage shown.

The Sprues:
Sprue images
Click on thumbnails for larger view


Page created September 20, 2003

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