by: Bill Cross [ ]
Soldiers are nothing if not resourceful.
Give them equipment, and if it doesn't do the job completely, they'll find a way to make it work better.
As terrific as the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank is, it's not perfect. And when the Marines found themselves fighting inside Iraq's cramped cities with their narrow streets and an intractable local populace armed with nasty things like IEDs, they modified the Abrams to meet the new conditions. One of the worst of those operations was in Al-Anbar Province in the city of Fallujah in 2004 as part of Operation Al-Fajr. Fallujah is now synonymous with house-by-house fighting under extremely trying conditions not envisioned by the Abrams' designers (see photo at right taken by Lance Corporal James J. Vooris, (USMC) but in the public domain).
The most noticeable modification was when the Marines put a "Fallujah bumper" on the front, shifting the towing arm to the side turret rails. The bumper could help when cars needed to be pushed aside or compound walls breached. No point in denting the front end, and getting the Old Gunny mad, right?
Perfect Scale Modelbau has released a set of resin accessories to compliment a build of a Fallujah Abrams, though in fact some of the pieces can be found on almost all M1A1s in Iraq and even Afghanistan, especially the extra track pieces.
Inside PSM's usual white cardboard box are:
1 Ziploc baggie with 14 pour plugs with 44 light grey resin pieces
1 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of instructions
This set is helpful not only if you're planning on doing a Second Battle of Fallujah USMC M1A1, but is great for other OIF USMC tanks or even current Afghanistan ones, especially the extra track links. These are challenging to scratch from existing track sets, which don't easily hang on the turret side rails. You see them a lot in photos, so this is just the sort of little addition that makes a great kit better.
There are also spools of wire, ammo cans and some stowage, though this set isn't meant to compete with the resin stowage boxed sets on the after-market (the Legend M1A1 set is my favorite).
The casting is the usual PSM sharp and detailed, though a few of the tiny parts broke off during shipment, including the handles for the tension belt clamps. This is probably inevitable, given just how small and to-scale they are. Still, it sucks to try and reunite a resin handle with its base.
Unlike PSM's other offerings, this one seems a bit thin on information. Most of the smaller pieces aren't identified, so if you aren't an "Abrams Geek," you'll struggle to know what you're stacking up on your tank. The instructions are minimal at best, another thing that could be better.
The set isn't a "must have" for most builders, but has some features not found in any other AM upgrade, so I recommend it. As usual, the Army gets all the attention, and as the son of a Marine, I'm always glad to see models devoted to the Corps. Oorah!
Thanks to Perfect Scale Modelbau for providing this review sample. Please be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.