Opinions on some armor kits - TIA

You did so well with the ESCI ariplane kits, here's some more in need of some critique. Good, bad or ugly? Alternatives?

Tamiya 35156 M1A1 Abrams Tamiya 35122 M4A3 Sherman Tamiya 35087 StuG-IV Tamiya 35120 M48A3 Patton Tamiya 35055 M41 Walker Bulldog

Academy M151A2 MUTT


AMT M1A1 Abrams AMT LAV-25



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Get the DML kits.

AFV Club.


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Ron Smith

Tamiya M1A2/A1 kit. Dragon M1A1 AIM kit is now the king.

Tamiya released. Dragon M4A3 is now much better.

of the 1990s.

Skybow and AFV Club M41A3 Walker Bulldogs

better retooled kit with the hard top and "dog house" trailer?

builds into an early M60A1 with side loading air cleaners OOB.

the Lindberg kit.

closer to an M1E1, inaccurate bustle rack, basically the same kit as their M1 with a new gun barrel, blast panels, man hole cover and bustle rack to make it look cosmetically like an M1A1.

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That's what I'm talking about - thanks Rob and Ron, et al.

The MUTT is Academy No CA030-3000. Soft top, trailer, driver and three figures. As small as the "jeep" vehicles build in 1/35 I'm not real worried about this one. It should build up OK enough for my purposes.

About the AMT M1A1 - is it correct enough to warrant retroverting it back to an E1 or any other early or developmental versions of the Abrams? That could be interesting.


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You are Lt Col Cameron Mitchell AICMFP! :-D

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Enzo Matrix

That crossed my mind too when I wrote that - and I don't even watch SG-1 that much.


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The Jeep (we called the M151-series "Jeeps") is a copy of the original Tamiya kit with the figures from the 4.2" mortar set added in. It will build all right.

The Esci/Ertl/AMT M1 and M1A1 kits were not as good as the initial Tamiya M1. Way back when those three kits were the ONLY Abrams kits on the market, I used to use the AMT M1A1 to build cosmetically looking tanks for other lieutenants in the battalion. They appreciated having a tank made in their markings and were not worried about accuracy.

Today, it is not worth the effort to try to accurize the kit when you can pick up one of the older Tamiya or older DML M1A1 for next to nothing on eBay. I'd build it OOB and paint it up pretty.

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Decent, easy build. Earleist batch had incorrect turret shell based on the M1, but this was quickly corrected by Tamiya. New Dragon kit is much better. Old Dragon kit is comparable, but Tamiya's is the easier build.

Decent, easy build. Showing its age a bit, but will benefit from a basic photoetch set for the lights guards and such. Lots af aftermarket resin doodads to improve it if you wish. For amazing Shermans, see the new Dragon M4A3E8 Thunderbolt III, M4A2 and Sherman III kits, and the forthcoming Tasca Firefly.

Dog. 1975 kit misproportioned to fit Tamiya motorization pack. Unnecessary errors include over-wide tracks, too-skinny wheels and drive sprocket spokes that do not taper correctly. Also cloned by Academy MRC. Italeri kit is better, but has early style wheels. The Dragon early or late StuG IV kit is best choice.

Decent, easy build. Only original M48A3 on the market (there are a couple of old clones out there from Academy MRC and Seminar). Sits too high--suspension needs to be lowered, and track centerguides are mispositioned, centered on the track blocks instead of in between. AFV Club has decent replacment tracks. Will benefit from a photoetch set. Much better than 1957-vintage Monogram M48A2.

Dog. Kit dates from around 1969, and the molds have not aged well. Tracks are vinyl, detailed on the outer face only. AFV Club or Skybow kits are much better.

Old kit is a knockoff of the Tamiya item. Academy recently revisited this subject with a much improved version, featuring clear headlights and wheel rims with open lightening holes. Worth the few extra bucks to get the revised version.

Excellent, recently re-released by Italeri and Revell Germany. Best M60 kits ever, though they depict the early variants with the aluminum wheels (M48-style steel wheels were phased in beginning in 1980).

Based on the rather inadequate T-55 kit (which couldn't decide if it wanted to be a T-55 or a T-59). The T-55 is now sold by Italeri. Tamiya T-55 is a much better starting point. There are resin conversions for an Israeli rebuild.

Not perfect, but no worse than the equally flawed Dragon kit (now available from Zvezda). The two kits were unrelated, having different errors.

Dog. Extremely misproportioned, and wheels are poor. Italeri's kit is a different mold, but is slightly better than Esci's. Trumpeter's kit is around $20 USD, and a much better choice than either of the above. >

No exhaust detail and turret shell is too short to depict an A1.

Esci kit reboxed.

Hope this helps. Gerald Owens

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Gerald Owens

Tamiya 35156 M1A1 Abrams - An M1A1 turret on an XM1 chassis. Pass

Tamiya 35122 M4A3 Sherman - great when it came out in 1981 and still a good starter kit for armor builders. If you want something better and more accurate, go DML.

Tamiya 35087 StuG-IV - obsolete kit

Tamiya 35120 M48A3 Patton - still the only game in town. Motorized and sits 4" too high on its suspension but can be made into a nice model with work and AFV Club T107 tracks.

Tamiya 35055 M41 Walker Bulldog - a dog. Go with either Skybow or AFV Club.

Academy M151A2 MUTT - better than the Tamiya one but still missing half the suspension bits.

ESCI M60A1 -- STILL the best M60A1 going, but now from Italeri.

ESCI M60A3 -- Ditto.

ESCI Ti-67 - Real dog, avoid this one (it was better than the Lindberg one when it came out)

ESCI BMP - another mediocre effort, only advantage it has over the DML one is better detailing. Needs new drivers and a rebuilt lower hull as a mininum.

ESCI LAV-25 - fire up "old Blue"...

AMT M1A1 Abrams - hope you saved some BBs from the ESCI LAV...

AMT LAV-25 -- and the same (it's the ESCI kit in a new box!)

Cookie Sewell

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