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In-Box Review
135
M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams
M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

When Dragon Models released their M1A1 Abrams and M1A2 Sep Abrams modern armour fans were clamouring to get their hands on at least one and many cases many of them. Dragon Models has recently released an M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams which has also attracted a lot of interest, but does this release live up to the previous two offerings excluding the much earlier HA version.

Contents

Dragon styrene tracks
16 grey sprues
Lower hull
2 clear sprues
1 photo etched fret
7 pre-shaped wire parts
1 decal sheet
1 self adhesive decal sheet

Review

First Impressions
A look over the contents indicates that this is basically parts from the two earlier releases from Dragon Models with the addition of some new parts covering the changes. As is usual with Dragon Models the parts are cleanly moulded with no issues beyond those easily remedied with basic modelling skills. My only complaint at this point is the failure of Dragon Models to include the turned metal barrel from the previous releases.

Lower Hull and Suspension
All of the parts in this area are from the earlier releases and so I believe accurate as I have never seen or heard of any complaint about these areas. The suspension is not workable, but I believe RB Models released a set to provide this option if that aspect is desired. Some nice touches here are the clear hubs, this is accurate and allows the crews to quickly and easily check the fluid levels, from memory it was always suggested that some of Tamiya’s smoke paint was run across the interior to give the look of fluid being present. Having built this area of the model three times to date I cannot recall having any issues with placement of parts or following of the instructions. One thing you may wish to consider is that I was informed that the mud scrappers for the drive wheels would not be present and should only be replicated on earlier M1A1 Abrams, but again not all; Check your reference if building a specific vehicle.

Upper Hull
The upper hull also looks to be the same as earlier releases, but the engine deck has been simplified from a parts count point of view; in earlier releases the multi-part rear deck did gain a reputation of being a big to fit. The photo etched grill option at the rear left hand side is not clearly explained, i seem to recall that plastic part T6 and photo etch part MA6 is the correct option (Gino or any of the tankers lurking please jump in if I have made an error here). There are a number of holes that need to be opened up on the upper hull and Dragon Models has not provided a drill bit size for this, in the belief that most modellers have a pin drill and bits insert the blunt end into the guide hole and then adjust up or down as required. The sprung clamps that holds down the front mud flaps is an area of previous models that made me swear first time around, I suggest you forget the small metal loops supplied by Dragon Models and instead drill the locating holes and make a loop using suitably sized fuse wire, you can then add a touch of CA glue from the underside of the track guard and when set trim it back. The exhaust grills at the rear of the model are particularly well represented, but take care when removing them as they are easily damaged. A nice touch that I believe is new is the inclusion of rear light guards which I cannot recall seeing before.

There are two options for assembly at the rear of this model listed as UAAPU and Hawker battery, I am afraid my knowledge fails me in this area as to which is the most suitable option to follow.

Tracks
The tracks have been supplied as the Dragon Styrene type with separate injection moulded guide horns, this does result in a realistic look and is the same method used in the previous SEP release. I am aware that dragon styrene has not proved as popular as Dragon Models may have hoped, even though these are a step up from vinyl rubber tracks. If you cannot live with these Bronco Models has released a suitable set of workable injection moulded tracks.

Track Hanging Guards
The side track guards are supplied as several pieces as included with the previous SEP version of the Abrams. Dragon Models has included the photo etched details from that kit also that lifts the finished look to a high standard. With a small amount of work these can be shown open in some cases and removed in others so that a tank being worked on can be well represented.

Main Gun
As mentioned before Dragon Models has not supplied the turned aluminium barrel with this product and instead the plastic option is your only choice. DON’T DISPAIR this is not the end of the world as Dragon Models has made this part to be assembled front to rear or rear to front as opposed to sticking two halves together, yes this is a more involved assembly step, but it is easier to clean up and looks much better. Dragon Models has also supplied a breach for the main gun, but as this cannot be seen on the finished model all it really provides is a bit of a counter balance for the barrel.

Turret
The turret on this model is also to my knowledge accurate in both shape and size and from experience fits together very well. The new ballistic protection for the loaders weapon station looks good. The machine gun and ammunition box look accurate, it is also good to see Dragon Models supply decals for the ammunition box. I did observe somewhere that part N27 in step 15 MUST NOT BE ADDED as the correct part is A7 and is added in stage 27. The bustle racks are well represented as they were in the previous SEP release. It is also worth noting how accurately the grenade launchers have been replicated, especially so when it comes to how they attach to the turret. The commander’s crows II weapons system looks accurate to me and as it has passed muster with some of our more discerning members so who am I to complain. Something I observed included with the model but not mentioned are two ammunition belts that are very well replicated. I also like the anti-slip texture that is replicated where needed throughout the model.

Instructions and Finishing Options
As with all Dragon Models instruction booklets there are issues and so I cannot over emphasize the need to check carefully through the instructions before letting glue near any parts. For the most part the instructions covering this model do not seem to have too many issues. The decals are very nice having clear lines and very little excess film wherever possible. There are three finishing options supplied with this model which are;
2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, South Korea
1st Battalion, 72nd Armoured Regiment, 2 Infantry Division, South Korea
2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Germany

Conclusion

With some of the disappointments from Dragon Models we have seen of late it is good to see Dragon Models back on top of their game with this release. I admit there are some parts from the previous M1A2 Sep release I would have liked to see included with this release, such as the metal barrel option, but this release is by no measure a weak model and it should be well received by modellers of all skill levels with an interest in modern armour. As with many Dragon Models offerings take care with the instructions and both think and look ahead for possible pitfalls.

Related Links

Donald R. Wolozanski’s M1A2SEP Comparison Build Tamiya / Dragon
SUMMARY
Highs: It is good to see Dragon Models release a kit that shows them at their best.
Lows: I would have liked to see the metal barrel included from the earlier Dragon Models Abrams releases.
Verdict: Fans of modern armour should give this model consideration as an addition to your stash.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3556
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 07, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

I always believed the instruction issues were down to the shear number of kits they produced, but as they now release the same kits with a few extra parts on most occasions that excuse no longer holds water.
JUN 22, 2015 - 06:38 AM
Well maybe they just don't care about the complaints they must receive. For newcomers to this hobby such as myself it makes one apprehensive to purchase one of there kits. The last thing a new AFV modeler needs is a set of obtuse instructions. You would think that there marketing execs would pick up on these continual complaints and there not just on this forum there everywhere I look! It's what has prevented me from purchasing their product at this time. I guess I'm just wasting my breath on this issue and thats fine,air is one thing but I'm not going to waste my hard earned money on a 50-60 + dollar kit with this type of issue though, thats for dang sure. Must be nice to have made so much money off of your customers with 1000's & 1000's of kits sold and to completely ignore the very people that buy your product. Such a BASIC part of a kit but important all the same. At least to me and I suspect to others or there wouldn't be a steady stream of continual complaints about this issue on every Dragon review or build I come across. Sorry to be negative but I think Dragon should address this issue!
JUN 22, 2015 - 09:26 AM
To be fair Craig Dragon Models is not alone in this, they are just the one that is best known for it. I would also strongly suggest that depending on what subjects you are interested in you should not let the instructions issues put you off making a purchase, I say that as they provide the best WW2 German armour for the most part and certainly the widest choice.
JUN 22, 2015 - 09:45 AM
I understand your point Gary and I don't mean to be so negative towards Dragon but your right I have seen an occasional complaint here and there on other kit companies but not as consistently mentioned as Dragon. I have discussed this with another member here and he has said it is not as terrible as it may have been represented in the many reviews/builds out there. He also advised me to not let it persuade me not to purchase the Dragon WWII armor that I am interested in like you have,which is pretty much all of it,lol. He recommended the Dragon 6301 Panzer IV E AUSF Vorpanzer as one to buy and put in my stash and I think I will, just to check this issue out for myself. Maybe you could also recommend some Dragon kits that you have built that you were not disappointed with and were a good value and enjoyable build? Anyways thank you for responding to my question,I appreciate it! I'm sure it sounded just like another newbie complaint that no one wanted to address but I had to ask! Craig..
JUN 22, 2015 - 10:22 AM
Not quite true. You still need to back date the engine deck and left hand rear area without the Hawker Battery System/UAAPU. The AIM engine deck is not included in this kit. The instructions are not that bad. Yes they have carried over a couple of small mistakes here and there, and a couple of places are a bit vague, but in all, very good. Just have plenty of reference when you build it. Cheers Jason
JUN 22, 2015 - 11:08 AM
The Panthers, Tiger 1's and King Tiger's are all worth looking into. the ones with moulded on zimmerit do have a record of fit issues due to the zimmerit getting in the way of a good joint.
JUN 22, 2015 - 06:11 PM
You are absolutely correct, the engine deck needs some work.The fuel cap needed for that is supplied in the kit and with some minor effort the left hand area of the engine deck can be backdated. One more comment about the lack of the metal barel. At first I thought that it was a disadvantage, but the plastic parts are far superior in detail.
JUN 23, 2015 - 06:04 AM
Thanks Gary! I'll look into those kit's.
JUN 23, 2015 - 07:09 AM
No M1A2 has the UAAPU any longer. The UAAPU was dithced a few years ago and the Hawker Battery Systems installed in all A2s. The UAAPUs were found to be unreliable and not effective.[/quote] Thank you Gino. Gee wish I'd read this before that step LOL Oh well, now I will always know what under armor auxiliary power unit is all about. Live and learn. Can you share any details about what the field issues were with the APU? Overheating? Dust ingestion? just curious. - Thanks- Stuart
DEC 10, 2015 - 12:38 PM
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