This excellent set from Mouse House Enterprises of Australia gives you the additional parts and a full set of directions allowing you to backdate Dragons M1A2 SEP kit (#3536) into an Aussie M1A1 AIM as used by the Australian 1 Armoured Regiment and the Australian Armour School.
Australia recently decided to replace its aging fleet of Leopard tanks with current US M1A1 AIM tanks. They requested a few different items be added to their tanks as opposed to what the US uses to meet the unique needs of operating in Australia. They have bought 1 battalion's worth (54) M1A1 AIM tanks so far, and support equipment to go with them. There may be further purchases in the future.
No kit on the market now will build directly into an Aussie M1A1 AIM. This excellent set from Mouse House Enterprises out of Australia gives you the additional parts and a full set of directions on how to backdate Dragons M1A2 SEP kit (#3536) into an Aussie M1A1 AIM as used by the Australian 1 Armoured Regiment and the Australian Armour School.
The set includes 8 resin pieces and 1 coil of thin fuse wire. The pieces supply all the additional pieces that are on an Aussie M1A1 AIM Abrams and not the M1A2 SEP. Some of these are items only used by Australia, such as the fridge and its connection parts and the umbrella and its strand. Others are parts not found on US M1A2 SEPs, but are on M1A1 AIMs. The reason to uses the Dragon M1A2 SEP kit is that there are specific parts found in that kit that the Aussie version has. These include the folding rear turret extended bustle rack, rear slave cable receptacle, tank-infantry phone box, and open guide horned T-158LL tracks. Most of these are not included in Dragon's, or anyone else's, M1A1 AIM kits. The tracks are not available in any other Abrams kit.
The resin pieces in the set are very nicely cast with no flash and excellent surface details.
The 8 parts included are:
Rear Left Engine Deck Panel
Center Engine Deck Panel
Fridge Power Unit
BFT and GPS
.50 Cal QCB Handle
Armored Electrical Cover
The instructions not only show you where and how to add the included resin pieces, but also tell you what specific parts from the Dragon kit to use for an Aussie Abrams. There are also very clear and concise pictures to reference while building for placement and clarification. The instructions guide you through the process and make the backdate a simple affair. Lastly, there is information on vehicle markings and painting. There is also a link to an Aussie M1A1 AIM Walk Around on the Mouse House website.
Highs: A great set that shows in concise detail how to backdate the Dragon M1A2 SEP kit into an Aussie M1A1 AIM. The resin parts are finely cast with excellent details. Lows: A few drawings or pictures of the markings would have been helpful as well. No major issue with the set though.Verdict: A excellent set that will easily allow the Aussie conversion. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Abrams or Aussie armor.
About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty) FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 40+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 35 or so.