M1 A1 Abrams

Eduard reference 35510

This set for the Dragon kit 3531 USMC M1A1 Abrams Heavy Armor is very detailed and comprises about 150 parts to improve the exterior and the interior as well. To the 4 photoetched sheets, Eduard added 2 printed dashboards (one in paper, another in clear foil) and a mask sheet for the painting stage. The instructions come in 6 pages.

The interior

Eduard provide us with a driver station floor which does not correct the kit mistake. In real, the driver is nearly lying on his back.
The turret interior comes with a co-ax MG ammo rack, instrument panels for the TC and the gunner and the radio rack. Some intercom boxes are issued too. A good documentation is required to fit the parts at the right location. As far as the radio station is concerned, it appears that Eduard have based their set on both M1 and M1A1 versions. Parts 9, 11, 86 et 100 are unsuitable for an A1.

The exterior

Many parts are useless being too flat i.e. the rear deck grip handles, the TC cupola eyelets.

At the back, the engine grilles (47, 57, 83) are finely done but lack " depth ". The rear deck comprises all the grilles and the handles mentioned above. The right side sponson box gets its hinges and handles (even if too flat).
The front slope is detailed thanks to new mudguards, front fenders retaining system and driver hatch vision blocks. The latter may be replaced by plastic card ones.
The flanks get the bolted fittings on the skirts and 3 little chains.
The remaining parts are designed for the turret. The hatches interior is detailed. The smoke grenades boxes are detailed with their lid, hinges and their attachment to the turret system. Eduard forgot to mention the need of plastic rods between the parts and the turret.
The TC cupola is detailed with 3 flat eyelets not any better than the kit ones.
The large side stowage boxes get their locking handles, their fastenings to the turret (being wrong designed), the ammo boxes rack and their fastenings.
The towing cables supports are replaced. The last U-shaped one is incorrect being square instead of rounded.
The turret bustle has 4 new " rails " which will probably be hidden if the usual crew gear is installed. The mesh perfectly fits the kit bustle. The eyelets (103) are not used.
The smoke grenades supports are issued as well as the radio MG ring. As usual, the MG are detailed and the ammo boxes of the WW2 type.
The coax MG blast tube is really tricky to shape.

To end with, Eduard provide CIP and one blank firing Hoffman device as well.

As a conclusion, this is a useful set which may suit any Dragon M1 series kit as no USMC specific parts are inside.