1/35 Meng Models USMC M1A1 Abrams

Just thought I’d post that my last needed item, the Italeri decal sheet, just arrived from Italy today! Yahoo…so, nothing in my way to beginning my most weathered Marine M1A1 tank whenever I have the inspiration! When I started this idea of one day building this tank, I had no idea how much of an effort it would be to find all the little details necessary to make it a successful reproduction of the photos I’ve been looking at for years! But I can’t be more grateful to all of you folks who gave me the information necessary to find all these details, and so a huge thanks again, to all of you! I hope that all this effort to get these pieces/parts will result in a spectacular tank in the end!! But it’s going to be far more due to my skill in building and weathering that due to parts. I don’t know if I’m capable, but I will certainly do my best!!

Sounds great Curt , can’t wait to see this build. I have that Meng kit in my stash too !

Well as we’re all pretty excited to follow along: Just start building it, will you? :innocent:

1 Like

I agree…start building.

Okay, how about this, guys… I am working on my RFM Challenger 2, which is going to be in the Berlin camo scheme. When that one gets done, I will make this M1A1 my next project…promise! I won’t even try to slip in an airplane in between!!! :crazy_face:

If anyone wants to help me and give me more confidence than I have in making the white/light colored scrapes on the surface (primarily on the side skirts), I’d be truly grateful! twelve gave me some ideas, and I’ll try his method…unless anyone else has some other great ideas! The weathering on this tank is going to be, BY FAR, the most aggressive and difficult weathering I’ve ever done or even tried. So any help anyone can pass my way can’t hurt!!!


I’m wanting to follow along as well.

Hi Guys,

I obviously don’t know if any of you are still hanging around here, but thought I’d mention that I have FINALLY begun my own build of this Meng USMC M1A1 tank. I’ve been on modeling hiatus, the actually building and painting aspect of it, probably since March, due to a variety of reasons, and it’s been a long time even before then that I actually completed a model. Thus, I have well over a dozen kits that I’ve started and are in various stages of completion. But to get myself back into the swing, I wanted to begin a kit from start to finish, and I decided that this was going to be it. Maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can handle, but we will see. So, I’ve started with the road wheels, which, if trying to duplicate as close to the photo as possible, have taken me some time. I’m using the TRex road wheels, and the TRex sprockets. Very expensive, but I wanted to go pretty much all out on this. By tomorrow, I should have the wheels (but not the sprockets, yet) done and ready to set aside in prep for the rest of the build. Once I’ve completed the drive sprockets, I’ll take pictures of all the wheels and see what you think. I have to say that twelvebirds’ build has been a real inspiration for me to want to do this tank!


Still interested in the project and I agree twelvebirds’ build is an inspiration.

1 Like

Does anybody have a clue as to what paint/color twelvebirds used on his build? I am satisfied that I’m able to reproduce the normal CARC tan/sand color with a Tamiya mixture that matches Gino’s Model Master recommended color, but I have been stymied in trying to come up with a color to match the very weathered USMC tank that is the subject of twelvebirds build, and the build I’ve begun. I believe that the definite yellow cast to the paint is probably the result of real world weathering, combined with the vagaries of digital imaging and posting of photos on the internet, but the color is so uniform, and frankly, twelvebirds came pretty close to nailing the photo color in his build, and I’d like to do something similar. I started with the standard CARC color, then mixed in various tints of yellows, dark and light, orangish peach tones, and everything similar, trying to get close to what I would describe as a ‘mustard yellow’ tone to the tank color, and I have not been able to even come close. Any ideas anyone might have, I would be tremendously grateful for, ideally if it’s a Tamiya mix, but if you know of an ‘out of the bottle’ color from any of the hobby paint manufacturers, I’ll buy it. Thanks for any help!!

1 Like

Hi Curt. Wow - so you’re still on it, then? That’s great! Even though it’s been two years since I’ve built this and I’d do a lot different now that I’ve learned more about scale modeling I still quite like the model. Unfortunately I can’t give you a specific answer to your question. But I’m pretty sure that I started out by painting the model with a mixture of Tamiya German Grey and Earth. I then used hairspray, and then used different shades of XF-60 and XF-78 for the base color before chipping it. As you can imagine, the oil paints used after that for the rust effects and the pin wash added another filter over the colors and will have changed the base paint substantially. All the best for your build!


Hey twelve!! Yes, sir, still trying to actually build this tank!! I’ve made pretty decent progress, but I’m the kind of modeler that likes to paint various parts before assembly, to make sure that everything gets an appropriate coat of color. So, before proceeding TOO far, I wanted to have the final color at least available. I ended up painting the hull bottom and sides in my regular Tamiya CARC Sand mix, and painted a few of the turret parts, too, which I feel need to be done to avoid the need to mask clear parts. So that’s kind of where I am, on hold until I figure out a ‘close to final’ color. Thanks a million for responding to my request! I honestly didn’t figure you’d remember what color(s) and brand of paints you used, being this long since your build, but what you’ve provided is super useful! Many, many thanks!

I’ve found the build to be simple and straightforward. I still think the ‘old’ Dragon 3535 kit has better details than any of these newer generation M1 tank kits (e.g., the front fender ‘hold down’ spring being made of metal) but the Meng does have some of the USMC parts that are needed for this specific tank. I’ll do some experimenting with the colors you provided, and then start moving forward again, and will try to shoot some photos to post, but frankly, I expect my effort will pale in comparison to what you built! In the interim, I’ve been working on the new 1/48 Arma Hobby Hurricane Mk. IIc, which is as great as all the reviews have been saying.

Thanks again, and happy holidays!



Hey twelve…thought I’d give you an update one my paint color situation. Since i was waiting to get a ‘final’ color from your recommendations, I start to build, and now, want to complete, as I mentioned in my last post, the Arma Hobby 1/48 Hawker Hurricane Mk. Iic, which has become a paint project unto itself. I’m doing a night fighter version, which means, basically, an all black airplane. I’ve done one other all black plane, a 1/48 Bf-109G, which turned out, I think, half-way okay, given that I didn’t know what I was doing. With this Hurricane, I’m trying some new techniques to not only make the plane more realistic, but to make the all black scheme interesting to look at. It’s been an experience thus far, but I’m finishing it before I go back to the tank.

But…the good news is, with your input, I was able to FINALLY come up with a mix for the incredibly weathered USMC M1A1 that you did, that comes pretty close, if I do say so myself, to the color of your tank and the photos of the real one. I’m anxious to get back to it now, but I’m also waiting on the arrival of a new computer. My current MacBook Pro laptop is over 7 years old, and I’ve run out of hard drive space, and don’t have enough spare space to even run Photoshop on it anymore. Once I get the new computer, I’ll post some picture of where I’m at with the tank. Thanks, again!

1 Like

Hello, modelers.

First, off, I want to say that is an excellent build.

Now for the interesting part. I was the commander of that tank. It was Bravo 32 (B3-2). 579767. The picture was actually taken in UAE in December, after we had left Iraq. Top Mummy was incorrect -we did see combat, but we were dismounted as provisional infantry while in Iraq, in support of a British Artillery unit in Al Faw, as part of Operation Sweeney, OIF I.

The tank was involved in a fatal accident during washdowns in Guam in Feb 2004 prior to returning stateside. The tank rolled off the back end of the LCAC it was on while being transported to the ship (USS Germantown, LSD 42) in Apra Harbor. My gunner, Cpl Adam Lipford, was riding in the driver’s station and lost his life. He was recovered 3 hours later.

The tank was recovered a month or so later from 94 feet of water.

The sorry state of the tank was due to the inability to get SaltEx (a chemical we sprayed vehicles with prior to deployment on ships to prevent corrosion) because of the rushed nature of our deployment as part of the 13th MEU(SOC), Expeditionary Strike Group 1. All 4 of our tanks looked like that.

Several members of that platoon (myself included) deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in April of 2004 with Bravo Co, 1st Tank Bn 34 days after returning stateside from that deployment.

One of the things you are missing is the upside -downJolly Roger I always flew on my EPLRS antenna.


If anyone has any questions about the tank or what something is, just hit me up.


Welcome aboard shower shoes. :saluting_face:


That tank is often part of discussions on weathering. Your explanation about Saltex explains a lot. The discussion is about how we often overweather a tank and that often someone puts 30 years of no maintenance weathering on a 2 year old vehicle. Someone will pull up this photo and that will be the evidence to support extensive weathering.


Lol. I was also “Top Smith”.


Welcome aboard. Always good to have the actual crewmen of a vehicle to give advice and comments on how it really was.

I linked to an article about the accident further up this chain.

1/35 Meng Models USMC M1A1 Abrams - Armor/AFV / Modern - KitMaker Network

1 Like

I was with 8th tanks in ODS on M60A1’s


Welcome USMCtnkldr, and many thanks for more details on the history of this tank. I was, and am, so sorry for the loss of the crewman in the accident involving this tank. All the more reason to memorialize this tank in model builds. My build has remained stalled since my last post in December '23. I happen to have what I believe are all the details ready for when I continue the build, including the Jolly Roger flag.

Since you are here, perhaps you can answer one question. in addition to the standard ‘cages’ around the sides and rears of the turret, the famous photo also shows what appears to be two additional metal ‘arms’ for holding equipment. Because of all the stowage in place, the photo doesn’t show what those pieces really are or where they were mounted. I’ve assumed that they were metal pieces that were welded to the turret to hold additional equipment, but that’s just a guess. If you have any knowledge about these things, I’d love to know the true story. Thank you!