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Academy 1/35 M1A2 Abrams SEP TUSK II/V2

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

KIT HIGHLIGHTS

The kit contains parts to build any one of three versions, M1A2 SEP V2 with options for CROWS II, TUSK I and TUSK II and three marking options. You’ll find realistic armored gun shield parts for all three versions. M2 and M249 machine guns are precisely recreated, spotlight for gun included. Other kit features include flexible track and Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS), tile-like reactive armor as well as photo-etched and clear parts.

    • 100% New tooling – Current U.S. Army version
    • Parts for building either V2, TUSK I, TUSK II (Tank Urban Survival Kits)
    • Four marking options*
    • Includes CROWS (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station)
    • Photo-etched parts, including one for the netting on the rear stowage basket
    • Rear turret generator
    • Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS)
    • Flexible tracks
    • Clear parts for the bullet-proof glass for turret shield, periscope, front and rear light lenses
    • Spotlights for 12.7 mm machine guns
    • Spot-on machine gun turrets for TUSK I, TUSK II, V2 CROWS
    • Molded-in anti-skid coating
    • Carefully reproduced Abrams Reactive Armor Tiles (ARAT) for TUSK II
    • Block-shaped reactive armor for TUSK I
    • MSRP: $59.99 (USD)
    • Street Price: $44.99 (approx)
      *Marking Options:

      1. 4th Infantry Division 1-68 Armored Regiment M1A2 SEP TUSK I, Iraq 2008.
      2. 1st Combined Arms Battalion 1-68 Armored Regiment M1A2 SEP TUSK I, Iraq 2008
      3. 1st Cavalry Division 2-7 Cavalry Regiment TUSK I – Iraq 2011
      4. U.S Army Task Force 2-7 Infantry NATO Joint Training M1A2 SEP V2 – Poland, Estonia 2015

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.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

If you wanted plenty of details starting from the lower hull up, let me tell you no matter which version you decide to build out of this kit, you are in for a fantastic treat. The humble yet welcomed photo etch set is a plus and for the price of this model kit considering its a complete new tooling, you won’t be disappointed.
Highly Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Model Rectifier for this review sample.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.

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