Australian M1A1 from Dragon 3535?

I have the Dragon M1A1 AIM 3535 kit and was wondering if it would be suitable for an Australian Army build. And if it is does anyone know where I could source decals here in the UK, or have a sheet they would be willing to sell on? I have searched and no luck so far, everywhere seems to be sold out. It’s one of those itches that need scratched, I just love that three tone camo!..

I used this pic in a Zoom quiz and I really want to build one

Cheers, Jim.


short answer not really, the best kit is Meng TS-032 - USMC M1A1 AIM for the life of me I can’t find where I recently answered a similar question.

decals difficult but i found one place here in Aust.

paint there is no alternative for the green best is Humbrol French Art. Green

found it on Britmodeller

i wrote:

the link below gives you all the info needed to build (almost) an Oz M1A1

1/35 Meng kit TS-032 - USMC M1A1 AIM / US Army TUSK main battle tank

Build and Australian Abrams AIM tank by M.Hoyne (and Jason Miller)

we have a fridge in the rear turret basket and this link shows a 1/16 one

you would be best served purchasing SMS supplies paints especially for the green, the only major commercial colour that was close was Humbrol’s French Art. Green

and the light sand colour which isn’t sand but a brown and depending on the age of the paint sometimes had a pinkish tinge

and in the U.S. of A. are the following stockist has the combined set for $36.99

decals - all i could find even Echelon are out of stock

followed up with:

while it is forty bucks for the paint it is quite accurate as SMS is an Australian company, i have the green and brown for my M113AS4 and I am happy with the match but otherwise good luck with the Aust colours 20 years in the Aust military and vehicles up the ying yang but it was still difficult to match, for the brown do not use Vallejo Iraqi Sand to light and to yellow try model masters 1742 dark tan with about 10-15% 1735 wood worked well to my eye, but for the green first off do not use FS34102 this is not even close, you could try mixing Tamiya XF-62:3 + XF-52:3 + XF-2:1 or maybe Vallejo 70.968-83

there is an AK interactive set but I have been advised it is poo-poo so avoid

just found this… get it, it is a fantastic match and a whole $1.99 from Florida

[this link is no more all gone]


if you’re still interested found the echelon decals for tri-colour M1A1

scroll down about ten and you should see it on the left side

[tri colour set and still in stock how to order is on the site]

Link to the thread:

hope this helps


Will be tagging along once you start the build Jim. I have to have to say, I am thoroughly loving the M1 I am doing for the Desert Storm build. I also have the RFM SEPv2 to do as well…

1 Like

Here is an article I did a while ago, when Dragon’s M1A1 AIM kit first came out. It describes how to build an Aussie M1A1 SA from it.

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.

Since I originally wrote this, the Mouse Armour/Mouse House Aussie M1A1 SA Conversion kit came out. I believe it is out of production though now. If you can get one, it has all you need.


Thanks guys, great answers and info as always. Looks like I will be slowly putting together everything I need for this little project for quite a while.

Thanks @dmiles, I think I may have to source one of the meng kits and keep the dragon one for a standard US finish, which I need on the shelf too. It’s a shame the AK colours aren’t good, as I’d spotted a Real Color set and nearly bought it. And well done finding somewhere with the echelon decals in stock!

Thanks Gino @HeavyArty, I really should have done a search on here using your name first! It does look like using the newer Meng kit as a starter would be easier as finding that mouse house conversion set is going to be nigh on impossible methinks.

Thanks John @Johnnych01, your M1 is coming along nicely in the DS campaign. That’s the same kit as my faithful Abrams paint practice piece, you have made it look great!

Thanks again for such amazing answers guys. I seem to be leaning heavily towards modern armour builds these days, I’ve got my eye on the Meng Leopard A7+ too…

Cheers, J.

1 Like

Fox Model also makes an Aussie Abrams Detail Up set that includes decals, PE and other parts. Can’t vouch for the accuracy, but their stuff for the JGSDF is well done. HLJ and Hobby Search carry the line.

1 Like

Tough to find the Mouse Armour/Mouse House conversion Gino. As always, it’s gonna cost ya a fortune as well. I think that a conversion/update is sorely needed for us yanks. Also, a question for you Gino: The Aussie M1A1 SA does not have the depleted uranium mesh, correct?

1 Like

Thanks Jon. I did not know about that set. It seems to be specific for the Tamiya M1A2 kit but I’m sure it would be usable on others. Typically it’s out of stock at HLJ, and ebayuk has it at about three times the price!

Thanks again, J.

Yeah, with all these iterations of the M1, why doesn’t one of the manufacturers come out with an Australian version. We have the Aussie Centurion so a precedent is there. I think it would be a good seller, and is more mileage for the moulds…

Thanks, J.

1 Like

Correct, no DU armor. I don’t believe any export Abrams have DU armor.

Ha ha. I remember when AFV Club released the Aussie Cent, a lot of people complained that it was an Aussie one. Later when they released Israeli version the statement going around then was 'they must have done the Aussie one first as they knew it would not sell well"… :roll_eyes:

I think a lot of modellers want something a little off mainstream these days. Look at the interest in Angel’s Bulgarian vehicle build here on Armorama and the positive waves for Amusing Hobby’s Swedish Strv-104 Cent. Everyone has a favourite Genre and time period; the trick is don’t expect everyone to like what you do…

Personally, I am a bit tired of seeing moulds reissued to the nth degree - this exciting new release is 'built on the Sunday morning with a hangover after the Saturday night Octoberfest bier binge Panzer 4" - especially with so many of that vehicle type available from so many manufacturers, but maybe that is just me. However; true variety on a theme, such as you suggest, is always welcome. There are options out there that really do have a significant number of changes, sufficient to warrant a desire to buy the new release.

Maybe one day (yes I dream) manufacturers will wise up and read the modelling forums for ideas what to issue, and then, just maybe, they will work out where the gold will really be…


It’s part of the Panther/Tiger/Bf109 syndrome.

1 Like