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M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams

DML 1/35 M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2015 Manufacturer DML
Subject M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams Scale 1/35
Kit Number 3556 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $79.95

First Look

M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams
M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams
M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams
M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams
M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams

The M1 Abrams entered service in 1980 as the US Army's new main battle tank to replace the M60 series. Over time, the M1 evolved from its original 105mm M68 L/52 main gun in common with the earlier M60A1/A3 to the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore M256A1 L/44 gun also used by the Leopard 2 tank. In addition to its advanced armor protection and fire control system, the Abrams was the first to employ a gas turbine engine for propulsion in place of the conventional diesel engines used by nearly all other modern tanks. This combination made the Abrams a very agile and formidable weapon system on the battlefield. Since its introduction, the Abrams has been remanufactured into newer and more capable configurations including the M1A1 which introduced the 120mm gun and the M1A1 AIM (Abrams Integrated Management) which modernizes the tank with improved sensors and digital situational awareness. The M1A1 continues as the main battle tank of the US Marine Corps.

The M1A2 added a second thermal sight and improved armor and the M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package) also introduced improved sensors and digital situational awareness. One of the more recent configurations is the M1A2 SEP V2 (version two) which again updated its mission systems. Another set of updates independent of the Abrams' mission systems include the TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit) which introduced supplemental explosive reactive armor blocks to the side skirts and turret, slat armor on the rear, and armored gun shields for the loader and tank commander. On some installations, the commander's shield is replaced with the remotely operated Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) mounted ahead of the commander's hatch. TUSK I armor are the flat-blocked tiles while the TUSK II armor consists of curved tiles in place of the flat tiles.

Many model companies have released kits of the Abrams in 1/35 scale, and while most looked good to the untrained eye, armor guru Cookie Sewell concluded that DML's M1A1 AIM and M1A2 SEP kits were the best, most accurate kits of the subject on the market. I was very interested to see this new release from DML which updates the original M1A2 SEP kit into the V2 configuration. The kit also provides some of the TUSK updates including the loader's gun shield and the CROWS II though none of the ERA blocks nor the rear slat armor are included. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 14 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, two runs of rubber (vinyl) track molded in tan, one fret of photo-etched parts, and a set of pre-formed wire parts.

Some key features of the kit are:

  • Detailed lower hull including drive sprocket mud scrapers
  • Detailed suspension and road wheels
  • Positionable driver's hatch
  • Nicely detailed rear engine grilles and exhaust
  • New exhaust shield for infantry protection
  • New rear telephone box
  • Detailed side skirts
  • Detailed main gun
  • Positionable loader's hatch
  • Positionable commander's hatch
  • New CROWS II system
  • Loader's gun shield and gun
  • Positionable wind sensor mast
  • Choice of wind sensor mast types
  • New tow bars can be positioned in stowed or ready-to-tow
  • New detailed armored conduit under turret rear for APU power cables
  • Thermal IFF panels included
  • Rear bustle rack extention included

Markings are provided for to examples stationed in South Korea and one stationed in Germany.

This release provides the most modern version of the Abrams in kit form to date and provides the details and options to render the M1A2 of your choice in most any current theater of operations. There are also many aftermarket products out there for the DML Abrams series which can enhance this kit even further including TUSK I and TUSK II sets. Whatever your choice, DML has added some nice new options to the M1A2 SEP kit and you'll want to get at least one for your scale garrison.