During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the U.S. deployed its latest M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and these continued to be used in Iraq during the subsequent occupation period. Due to the threats posed by RPGs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the urban environments, the tanks were upgraded with more protection in the form of Tank Urban Survival Kits (TUSK I) in 2004.
The upgrade included features such as reactive armor on the hull sides, hull underside armor to protect against land mines, an M2 machine gun mounted above the main gun barrel, infrared cameras for the crew, and an external telephone for communication with accompanying infantry.
A further development called TUSK II added features such as tile-shaped reactive armor to the turret and hull sides, armored shield for the commander, and a rear-view camera. The TUSK kits could be installed in field depots in about 12 hours and different tanks had different features equipped. TUSK kits could only be installed in theatre due to the reactive armor.
Academy 1/35 M1A2 Abrams SEP TUSK II/V2
Dear fellow modelers, we just received a production sample of the newly tooled Academy 1/35 M1A2 Abrams SEP TUSK II/V2. The parts are crisply molded in tan and the clear parts are molded with great detail and transparency. The clear parts are reminiscent to those from MENG accessories. I love the fact that Academy is including a nice photo etched set with the basket mesh and CIP’s.
Unlike Tamiya and Trumpeter, Academy molded the the cannon barrel in three parts but not in halves which means no nasty line to deal with.
The lower hull unlike the competition as well as the old Abrams tooling which is a a single piece ”tub”, is molded in 3 parts and an extra armor plate. The suspension on this kit is very well represented. All the detail on the rollers are exquisite. The details on the turret is impressive.
Which Abrams TUSK version can you build out of this model kit?
Once you pick the box of this model kit, you’ll immediately notice that is a bit heavy. You’ll be addressed as to which steps you’ll need to take should you decide to build a TUSK II, TUSK or an Abrams V2 tank. Be ready to get a small binder for the instructions. They are divided in four small manuals and the parts breakdown per version is very comprehensive.