This I will be honest was a bit of a "risky buy" for me. I have recently started buying model making tools/equipment from Ali Express and have so far been really impressed with the price and quality of the things that I have bought. One evening whilst browsing the app I noticed a 1/35 scale Abrams for less than £20 delivered to UK. I am normally an advocate for "if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is"; but based on my experiences so far I thought why not give it a go? Around 3 weeks later the parcel turned up on my door and although the box stated the model was made by a company called WSN; I was surprised to see that the tank mould was stamped with Trumpeter as the manufacturer. I also have a large collection of resin stowage for this tank in my stash (an E-bay purchase) so the plan is to build this tank almost directly out of the box and add the stowage with lots of weathering to complete the model. I am also toying with the idea of displaying the mine rollers that come with the tank as being destroyed by an IED; saving the tank from destruction; but we will see as this already seems like a monster of kit compared to what I usually build.
Painting the tank
While the model hardened I then grabbed a large selection of colours from the inventory and started to paint the various stowage that I had and once dried assembled them on the turret in a rough order of where I'd like them on the finished model:
I like to do this at the earliest opportunity as I can adjust how I'd like each item placed and then alter/move them as I go along. Once I am happy with the placement I then take a few detailed shots (above) and when it comes time to place them and glue them down I have reference images that I can copy from.
Once the paint was fully hardened (24 hrs) I then lightly sanded over it for it to match the rest of the wear and tear on the tank surface and then I added the stowage on the rear of the turret permanently. The finishing touches for the build were filling in the windows with some UV curing resin instead of the clear plastic insert sheets provided with the kit and then coating the entire model with some airbrushed matt varnish:
While the tank was allowed to dry for at least 24 hours I began on the base. Normally I use one of the many picture frames I buy from Ikea on clearance however I didn't have one that matched the footprint of the Abrams. I decided on a simplistic base for this model so opted for a piece of MDF cut to size with some wood trim glued around its edges. Once painted and gloss varnished I then liberally applied some Mod Podge to the base and to that I sprinkled liberally the same "sand" as I had used on the tank body. To fix the tank to the base I then drilled through the floor of the tank and the base where I then fitted an extra long M2 bolt.
Finishing the model and final thoughts.
This pin badge was mounted to the descriptive plate and then that in turn mounted onto the front of the display base. The completed figures were also added to the tank; staring off into the distance and that's another completed model! I have to be honest here and say that when I initially ordered this model I had expected the same troubles that I experienced with the Airfix Challenger (link here in case you didn't click on the link above above). In reality I didn't face any issues at all. This was a superb kit and one that I thoroughly enjoyed making. I have a Trumpeter AS90 1/35 kit in the stash that I have been putting off building for almost 8 years. Its a thumping huge model but if the quality of that is the same as this Abrams I might dig it out in the very near future! The name plate is a simplistic printed design that's glued onto some black painted balsa sheet. To this I added the pin badge: