M1 Abrams kit recommendations

Hi there guys.
Has anybody any pointers for making the original M1 Abrams?.Ive seen reviews of Panda m1s and wondering if Trumpeters tracks T156 would fit?.I seem to recall reading that Dragons m1 panther mine clearer hull is a good start?,
Has anybody built one.
Any help would be great.
Many thanks.

1 Like

Yes, the Trumpeter T156 tracks fit the Panda sprockets just fine. The Panda kit is the best starting point.

It is a pretty good kit, but has a few issues. Here is a rundown of its issues and potential fixes.

The biggest is the tracks. The outer part has the correct chevron pattern of T156 tracks, however, Panda molded the inner side of the tracks as T158 tracks. It can’t be both and should be the T156 tracks. Trumpeter made/makes a set of indi-link T156 tracks to replace them with.

Next, the barrel is too short by about 2mm forward of the bore evacuator. Right now there is no AM replacement barrel for it, but you can take the Def Model late M68 barrel (35015) for an M60A3 and cut it off behind the bore evac and swap out the forward sections. You will also have to add the muzzle reference sensor on the new barrel.

Also, the road wheels are a little off in that they are M1A1 wheels that have thinner rubber parts. Vodnik has done 3D roadwheels of the correct type that are available on Shapeways. This is a minor issue though as most can’t tell the difference between them. I don’t plan on replacing them on mine.

Lastly, the left rear fuel filler cap is molded 90 degrees off from where it should be. This can be shaved off and repositioned (if done carefully) or replaced by an AM one.


Thanks very much Gino.Appreciate your response and help on the Abrams.
All the best from Richsrd

I used to have a few images on our p.c.Sadly it crashed and burned before we backed stuff up.I recall the Initial M1 Abrams had a different way to fire the .50 cal?

The M1 commander’s cupola and .50 cal firing mechanism was/is the same as in the Panda kit and did not change until the M1A2. It was fired and aimed remotely from inside the cupola.

M1 / M1A1 commander’s cupola

The M1A2 went back to a hand-held and fired .50 cal mount.

For Abrams types and changes, this old article may help. Most of the pics are gone, but it is still helpful.

Thanks a lot Gino.I think i shall get a Panda M1 and IPm1 kit as well.I like these two from the Abrams lineage.
Appreciate your help.

1 Like

Has anyone ever done a comparison of the Panda kit vs the old Tamiya kit?

1 Like

Good idea

I thought someone did. Gino maybe? Vodnik?

Vodnik did a comparison of M1 kits from Tamiya, Academy, Italeri, trumpeter and Revell.

Vodnik’s M1 kit comparison

He also did a comparison with the M1A2 TUSK kits from Tamiya, Academy, RFM, Meng and Dragon.

Vodnik’s M1A2 kit comparison

1 Like

Sort of. He never looked at the original M1 kits.

His first link compared M1A1 and M1A2 kits.

Tamiya M1A2
Italeri M1A2
Dragon / Revell M1A1
Trumpeter M1A1
Academy M1A1

His second link is all M1A2 kits w/ and w/out SEP and/or TUSK I and II.

Academy 13298 - M1A2 TUSK II
Meng TS-026 - M1A2 SEP Abrams TUSK I / TUSK II
Rye Field Model RM-5004 - M1A2 SEP TUSK I / II
Tamiya 35326 M1A2 SEP Abrams TUSK II
Dragon 3536 - M1A2 SEP
Legend LF1177 M1A2(A1) Abrams TUSK upgrade set for Dragon
Legend LF12A5 M1A2 Abrams TUSK II upgrade set for Dragon
Dragon 3535 - M1A1 AIM (to compare with M1A1 parts in RFM kit)
Dragon 3556 - M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams (to compare with V2 parts in the Academy kit)

Not that I know of. The Panda kit is much better detailed and engineered than the Tamaiya kit from my experience. I don’t think the Tamiya kit even compares anymore. It is really soft on details and had lots of areas simplified for motorization and just because it was an early '80s kit. I would stick with Panda to get a much more up to today’s standards kit.

1 Like

Yea, I am mostly wondering how the Tamiya main gun measures up, since the Panda one is too short?

I wonder if the M68 main gun that Aber offers (typically for the Tamiya and Takom M60A1/A3) would fit the M1?


1 Like

It shouldn’t as the thermal shroud is different.

1 Like

The late M68 barrel by Def Model looks close enough to me. As I said, you need to add the MRS at the tip.



I see what you’re saying. The M60A1 didn’t have a thermal shroud. I also did not take into consideration the sensor at the muzzle end of the M1’s main gun.


M60A1 - no thermal shroud/No Collimatorr.

M1 Abrams - Does have a thermal shroud and Collimator.

1 Like

The thermal shroud is not the same on the 60 and M1 IPs. The thermal shroud also changed during it’s life on the M60A3.
That’s not a sensor on the end of the M1s guntube but a collimeter.