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Revell 1/35 scale Snap-Tite M1A1 Abrams

Kit:1973 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$15.95
Revell, 1850 W. Howard St., Unit A, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007, 847-758-3200
Good fits; nice engineering of track and wheels; easy track installation
A few parts and instructions are mixed up
Snap-together; injection molded, 58 parts (2 vinyl), stickers

Revell has released a cool, new snap-together kit of the M1A1 Abrams, America’s main battle tank since the mid-1980s. It has 59 parts molded in tan, so you don’t have to paint it if you don’t want to. There is also a sheet of stickers to mark your Abrams.

Like most young modelers, I was told by my dad to follow the directions closely. So, I started by putting the back of the tank onto the bottom. It went on with a nice, solid snap.

Next were the road wheels. Wow! There are a lot of wheels! Since there were so many, it took a while to clean up all the rough spots where the parts were attached to the sprue. They all fit, but they didn’t make that snapping sound — maybe because they are supposed to roll.

I put the idler and drive-wheel assemblies on next, but the axles wouldn’t stay in place on their own. That was a little confusing until I saw the next step, on the next page, putting covers over the axles to hold them in place. Maybe it would have been better for them to put both steps in one spot.

The axles have small nubs on the end that aren’t shown in the instructions. I accidentally cut one off before I realized they were supposed to be there — luckily, my dad has super glue!

The tracks are supposed to be next, but I decided I wanted to paint my Abrams. So, I left them off to make it easier to paint.

I had trouble getting the main gun parts to snap together all the way, so my dad had to give them an extra push. Once the turret is together, the gun moves up and down easily. Because I was painting, I left the turret and the skirts off the tank.

In Step 12, I was having trouble getting the rear of the turret (Part 21) to fit into place. I had to ask my dad for help, and together we finally realized that Step 12 and Step 13 are printed out of order — once you install the storage baskets on the side of the turret in Step 13, you can install the rear of the turret shown in Step 12.

I added the rest of the parts to the turret except for the machine guns, which I painted separately using Testors gunmetal. That was my favorite part of the build.

My dad let me use his airbrush, so I painted the whole tank with Testors Army/Marine sand. I also put some black paint in the end of the barrel — that was fun! After the paint was dry, I put the stickers on by following the last page of the instructions. All the stickers worked well and fit perfectly.

I put the treads on the bottom of the tank and was happy that they fit easily — and they rolled! Then I put the turret and the machine guns on. Now my M1A1 looked ready to take on all competition.

I spent 2 hours and 45 minutes building my Abrams, although you could get it ready to roll quicker if you don’t paint anything. I think Revell did a nice job, and any kid my age should have no trouble building it — although you have to think sometimes when the instructions aren’t quite right.

I have to go get my Abrams back from my dad now so he’ll stop making tank noises.

Samuel is the 9-year-old son of longtime FSM reviewer Chuck Davis. This is Samuel’s first review, but he has been modeling for several years and has won several awards.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2013 FineScale Modeler.


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