If someone still has not found OIF markings for his favorite 3rd Infantry Division Abrams tank on any of two previously released Echelon decal sets, then maybe they will find it now on this third set. After T35014, this is the second set with markings for 1-64 Armor Regiment M1A1s. Once again seven tanks are featured, five form C Company and two from HQ Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment of 3rd Infantry Division. We get markings for all four tanks from 2nd Platoon, C Company plus markings for one C Company commander's tank and HQ23 & HQ56 HQ Company tanks. All seven tanks were painted in overall desert tan, one of them shown in instructions with last side skirt replaced with forest green part.
Decals are packed in plastic zip-bag with one main decal sheet (approx. 120mm x 190mm) and one tiny supplement sheet with uniform markings inside. Two-sided full color A4 size instruction sheet folded in half is the bag. They include photos of each of featured tanks and very clear decal placement diagrams. In instructions we get useful information about some special external fittings unique to 1-64 and 4-64 Armor tanks: exhaust deflector and various storage racks. Dimensions of storage racks are given for anyone wishing to scratchbuild them.
Decals are printed by the Microscale Industries and print quality is up to the highest standards. Fine stencils and all uniform name tapes are legible. On main decal sheets most markings are black with only a few white stripes added and white background on some shipping labels. Two color markings on uniform patches are printed in perfect register.
Seven tanks featured on decal sheet are:
1. "CALIFORNIA DREAMING"
- 1st gun tank, 2nd Platoon, C Company
2. "COLUMBIA 2"
- 2nd gun tank, 2nd Platoon, C Company
- 3rd gun tank, 2nd Platoon, C Company
4. "COMBAT TESTED"
- 4th gun tank, 2nd Platoon, C Company
- HQ 56, HQ gun tank, HQ Company
6. "ROGUE WARRIOR"
- HQ 23, HQ gun tank, HQ Company
7. "CRUSADER II"
- C65, Company commander's tank, C Company
- this is the only tank in the set that had the EAPU installed.
We get markings for seven complete models with all common markings repeated at least seven times on the sheet. Provided are 8 uniform badges of 3rd ID, four US Army tapes and four tapes with tank crew names (but these are the same names as in T35014 set, so they are actually for a crew of A24 tank from A company). Just as in the set T35014 also here we get four bonus unit badges of 1st Cavalry Division.
Additionally we get a few extra platoon chevrons, which can be used to make markings for 1st and 3rd platoon tanks, not featured in the set otherwise.
The assortment of generic stencils and labels provided on the sheet is similar to one provided in other Echelon M1A1 sets. Included are two sets of stencils External Auxiliary Power Units (EAPU), although only one of featured tanks carried it. We get Combat Identification Panel frames stencils for all tanks and a set of ten "THIS SIDE OFF" markings and stencils for deactivated CIPs. There is a number of shipping labels provided, plus barrel exercised date stencils and "lift here" markers.
I compared marking on the sheet with available photos and have not found any errors. Someone could say that inclusion of names of A Company crew members on uniform name tapes is an inaccuracy, but that would be just madness.
This is another excellent value decal set from Echelon and for standard price of $14.50 we get nice supplement in the form of uniform markings. Combined with the previous two releases of 3rd ID tank markings, all these Echelon sets now give us decals for 20 M1A1HC tanks from this unit! I wonder if there is any modeler out there who would build models of them all... That would be an impressive, if slightly monotonous, collection!
Many thanks to Lawrence Goh of Echelon Fine Details for the review sample.