Australian Abrams

I’ve got ‘permission’ to add to my stash!! Actually a Christmas present. I would like something modern for a change and think I would like to take on an Australian Abrams. Now I need advice cos all I know about them is that they are big and heavy!!

What versions are available in kit form. 1/35 scale. Which is the ‘best’ kit? I’m ok if it’s not a true nut and bolt replica and I’m happy to do some kit bashing.

So what 1/35 kit for an Australian Abrams?


There is no kit that makes an Aussie Abrams out of the box. The newer Meng and Rye Field M1A1/A2 kits will work, as will the older (newish) Dragon M1A1 AIM.

Here was a list when the Dragon M1A1 AIM first came out.

Aussie M1A1 AIM Changes

For those wanting to build an Australian M1A1 AIM tank from Dragon’s new M1A1 AIM kit, here are the specific parts required for hull number 6 (ARN unknown), the most photographed Aussie M1A1 AIM to date.


· N13 - loader’s hatch with rim
· R1 - MCD adaptor
· R2-4 - BFT/FBC2B2 box and associated bracket for GPS doghouse
· Either wind sensor, both have been spotted
· Q11 - armored conduit cover
· Q2 - EAPU conduit
· Q3 - loader’s hatch latch
· Q12 & 13 – “smooth” blow off panel covers
· N37/38 - EPLRS antennae
· N1, N43, N44, 53, N54, N55, MA8, MA9 - EAPU


· U32 - driver’s hatch with rim
· T5 + MA10 + MA11 - engine intake (?)
· U37 (USMC wading trunk adaptor)
· f1 (x2), f2 (x2). f3 (x2) – Engine exhaust deflector
· U36 – heater plug
· V19 – “fancy” sprocket ring

You will have to add:

· USMC-style bustle rack extension (BRE: Eduard ED35598 or “borrowed” from the Academy “Iraq 2003” boxing of their M1A1 kit #13202, or the Dragon M1A2 SEP kit.)
· Refrigerator and bracket to turret bustle (to the right of the EAPU)
· Refrigerator power connection – replaces kit part O5 on rear of upper turret (#M1)
· Turret umbrella mount – a pipe mounted vertically on the turret roof adjacent to rear of the commander’s cupola (when looking from the top, the mount is in front of the right “blow off” compartment, near the centerline of the turret. It is slightly shorter than the loader’s hatch catch [Q3] on the left panel)
· External slave receptacle; located on the right, rear hull plate, next to the rear taillight. (In DML M1A2 SEP kit.)
· Tank/infantry telephone; it is located below the external slave receptacle. (Also present in the Academy kit and DML’s M1A2 SEP kit)
· Red Kangaroo, Hawkeye Models is coming out with a decal sheet

The only outstanding build information now is whether our 50 cal MG will be QCB - pretty sure yes, but not definite, and if the MAG-58 (M-240 in US service) will be fitted with its stock. The timeline for barracuda MCS is also yet to be confirmed. Finally, the M250 US Army style smoke dischargers (MBSGD) will be fitted.

They use the T158LL (hollow guide horns), same as what’s in the Dragon M1A2 SEP kit.

  • The Fridge (dimensions below)

  • Fridge power adaptor box (in lieu of the PLGR antennae). The fridge adaptor is how they get power out of the tank and into the fridge. It is a small box mounted centrally to the rear of the “blow off” panels and replaces part “O5” in the kit.

  • Wind sensor retainer bracket (re-located because of the fridge). The wind sensor folds laterally to the right side of the tank when looking toward the front of the vehicle. Part “O12” in the kit is the bracket that holds the wind sensor when folded, but is not used when fridge is installed (it is actually removed on Australian tanks). A new bracket, mounted centrally, immediately forward of the fridge on the turret roof, replaces this part, dimensions below.

  • Umbrella mount (aft of the Crew Cmd’s cupola). The umbrella mount comprises a mount that is attached using holes/bolts that are already present on the turret roof and a vertical tube. It is used for range flags (red/green/blue etc) and for the umbrella, similar to that used on the Leopard AS1 when it was in service. Dimensions are below.

Fridge dimensions (overall):

  • 750mm long

  • 425mm wide

  • 495mm high

  • Lid height/depth (included in the 495mm above) 55mm high

Fridge Power Adaptor/Connector box (replaces kit part O5)

  • 175mm long, 105mm wide (widest points on top), 85mm wide (narrowest points on top), 90mm high

Flag/umbrella holder: 45mm dia 160mm high

Markings: ARNs (Army Registered Numbers, lower glacis plate, front right side, rear left on the upper engine grill), TAC symbols (<, >, etc, on the ballistic skirts) and names are applied to 1st Armoured Regiment’s tanks. Names are painted in black on the flanks of the vehicles, above the skirts to the rear of the hull. Callsigns are painted on boards places on the turret sides and the bustle rack extension.

There were two conversion sets, one from Arms Corps Models and one from Mouse House Enterprises, both out of Australia, but unfortunately that are both out of business.

Mouse House still has up a good Aussie M1A1SA walk-around page that shows the Aussie-specific pieces well.


Thanks HeavyArty. Great information. I found this site.

I’ve never built a Meng kits my question is. Should I?


Good info and website. The build at Missing-Lynx is really a good reference.

As to Meng kits, I highly recommend them. They are very nice and go together well.

Highly recommend using a Meng kit as the base kit to start from.

Did a Build blog on the Aussie M1a1 Abrams over at the old Armorama site.

Check with John at Mouse House to see if you can get the Fridge and accessories if you want to go full on build.

The Meng kit is a beautiful kit to work from.


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Michael, sadly Mouse House is long gone. I believe he retired, which of course, he’s perfectly entitled to do. Shame though - his stuff was pretty good.

More walkarounds (if needed…)

Another build log :


There’s a show on TV here in Australia. Mega Mechanics. In one of the shows they show the guys lifting out the engine of an Abrams. Now that would make a diorama! (An internet search couldn’t find a link. So maybe! Just maybe the Chinese stole it! :shushing_face: ).


Found this image. Can anyone tell me more about it. It would be a challenge to paint.


Looks hand/brush painted. Maybe mud?