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In-Box Review
Aussie M1A1 AIM Conversion
Arms Corps Models Aussie M1A1 AIM Conversion Option 1
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by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

History

Australia recently decided to replace its ageing 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.

The Kit

No available kit on the market at this time will build directly into an Aussie M1A1 AIM. This excellent set from Arms Corps Models (ACM) out of Australia gives you the additional parts and a full set of directions on how to backdate Dragons M1A2 SEP/SEP v2 kits (#3536/3556) into an Aussie M1A1 AIM as used by the Australian 1st Armoured Regiment and the Australian Armour School. Additionally, the set includes a CD which has a very nice PDF instruction sheet and four separate walk-around files included which provide a total of 406 very clear reference images. You can also purchase Echelon decals for either sand (356041) or 3-tone camo (356176) as part of the set for a complete package to build your Aussie M1A1 AIM. ACM also offers two other Aussie M1A1 AIM conversion sets; Option 2 which is also for the Dragon M1A2 SEP/SEP V2 and includes the Loaders Armored Gun Shields (LAGS), and Option 3 which converts the Dragon M1A1 AIM kit (3535).

The set includes 33 resin pieces, 1 coil of thin fuse wire, and a piece of PE mesh packaged in a small blister pack. The pieces supply all the additional pieces that are on an Aussie M1A1 AIM Abrams and not in the Dragon M1A2 SEP/SEP v2 kit. 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 Bustle Rack Extension (BRE) on the rear of the turret 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, but are now available as a separate set by Bronco Models (3522). The set is complete enough that you could really use it with just about any Abrams kit and add the Bronco tracks and a PE folding BRE to get an Aussie M1A1 AIM.

The resin pieces in the set are very nicely cast with no flash and excellent surface details. The 30 resin parts include the following pieces:

  • Rear Left Engine Deck / Hull Panel
  • Center Rear Engine Deck Panel
  • Fridge Power Unit
  • BFT
  • GPS
  • Fridge
  • Umbrella Stand/Mount
  • Umbrella Bag
  • .50 Cal QCB Handle
  • Armored Electrical Cover
  • T/I Phone box
  • Slave Cable Receptacle box with separate handle
  • Two Aussie water cans
  • Two Aussie fuel cans w/separate handles
  • Two empty ,50 cal ammo cans w/separate tops and locking mechanisms
  • Loaded ammo cans for the .50 cal and M240 w/ separate tops and locking mechanisms
  • Mount for M240
  • 2 straight Headlight Guards

Instructions

The instructions are clearly written using the Dragon instructions with red Xs for what not to use and green number to show ACMs new pieces to add. Additionally, the new pieces are shown in a sand color to identify them more clearly. 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 parts placement and clarification. The instructions guide you through the process and make the backdate a simple affair.
SUMMARY
Highs: Very nicely cast resin and excellent instructions. The walk-arounds are a nice touch as well.
Lows: None noted.
Verdict: This set is definitely a hit for Arms Corps Models. With the package deal of the decals and reference photos, it is a complete package that will allow you to easily build your Aussie M1A1 AIM. I highly recommend it.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 35853
  Suggested Retail: $26.95, $34.85 w/decals
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 11, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Australia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.82%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 92.50%

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 35+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 30 or so.

Copyright 2019 text by Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks for editing and posting this Brian. This is a great set.
AUG 11, 2015 - 09:09 PM
I have to get me one of those conversion kits. The Ausie camo is wonderful and a must build. Thank you for this review, very informative, did not even know that this product was available.
AUG 12, 2015 - 02:17 AM
It is really a great set, with much attention in details, instructions etc. It can be also offered with the Aussie decals and one thing for sure: Jason is a great seller to deal with!! Jason keep up the good work!
AUG 12, 2015 - 10:39 AM
Thanks for the kind review Gino and to you too Aristeidis. In the next couple of weeks (we have our annual show here in a week or so) there will be an another part added to all three kits. This part is not required for a normal AIM SA build, but as there are photo's of the item attached, it has to be added. Thanks again. Jason
AUG 13, 2015 - 04:20 AM
   

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