United States Marine Corps
M1A1HA (Heavy Common) ABRAMS (PART2)
"Lethal Spearhead in Baghdad"

Echelon Fine Details T35006

    Echelon Fine Details from Singapore released a second set of decals for US Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams tanks participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Once again we get markings for six vehicles, but in Echelon's T35004 set all of them were painted in desert sand color and now decals are provided for four 3-color NATO camouflaged tanks and two overall forest green ones.

Click on picture to enlarge it.

    In a resealable plastic bag we get a single decal sheet (approx. 125mm x 195mm) and A4 size instructions folded in half. Instructions are printed in full color and include photos of one of featured forest green tanks. Decal placement diagrams are very clear and detailed. Besides decal placement there is also some useful info added about details of USMC tanks, like placement of troops telephone and EPLRS antenna. Decals themselves are flawlessly printed. Very fine stencils are legible and all colors are in perfect register.

On one side of the instructions sheet
are photos of one of featured tanks.
Click on picture to enlarge it.
Instructions are very clear and accurate.
Click on picture to enlarge it.

Six tanks featured on decal sheet are:
1. "Hermes"
        - 2nd Platoon, C Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division
        - forest green tank

2. "Valhalla"
        - 1st Platoon, D Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division
        - 3-color NATO camouflage

3. "Angry American"
        - 1st Platoon, A Company, Regimental Combat Team 1
        - 3-color NATO camouflage

4. "Kuler Blynd"
        - 2nd Platoon, B Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division
        - 3-color NATO camouflage

5. "Protest This"
        - 1st Platoon, D Company, from unidentified USMC unit, Task Force Tarawa
        - 3-color NATO camouflage

6. "Nightmares Witness"
        - 2nd Platoon, B Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division
        - forest green tank with track width mine plow attached.

    Markings for first five of those tanks are not complete, what is clearly indicated in instructions. Missing are vehicle registration numbers, which were impossible to read on reference photos used by Echelon. The only information available is that they were in "USMC 57xxxx" range.  On the decal sheet we get a set of generic numbers, but there is only 10 "USMC" stencils and 10 sets of digits from 0 to 9 (with only digit "4" repeated twice in each set). Four sets are printed green and four sets are black. Green stencils are used on black background on NATO camouflaged tanks. Limited number of stencils can cause a small problem, but only if you plan to build five Abrams models and use first five marking options provided on the sheet. The last marking option, "Nightmares Witness" tank didn't have registration numbers on it. For each of the first five tanks you need two numbers, so the amount of provided sets is just enough. All other markings are available in enough copies for all tanks, but you may not be able to make some combinations of registration numbers for all vehicles from provided decals. 

    Just as on the first Abrams decals set released by Echelon, here we also get a lot of generic stencils and labels, typical to Abrams tanks. Once again included are warning markings for Missile Countermeasures Devices (MCD) and stencils for External Auxiliary Power Units (EAPU). Stencils are also included for Combat Identification Panel frames. There is a number of shipping and GCE (Ground Combat Element) labels included, plus barrel inspection date stencils and "lift here" markers (white and black).

Markings printed in perfect register.
Click on picture to enlarge it.

    I managed to find photos of three of featured tanks and it seems that marking on decal sheet are accurate. There may be one error in markings of "Hermes" tank, as on the photo I have chevron markings seem to be sand colored, not white. But it is really hard to be sure, as this may just be result of desert dust changing the color of paint.

    Just as their previous sets, also these Echelon decals were printed by Microscale and I'm sure they will work just as well as those reviewed earlier. To see results of my decal application tests, check my review of Echelon T35004 set.

    Reviewed decal sheet is another very high quality product from Echelon. It is a little less complete than their older Abrams decals set, but this is just due to limited reference material. Just as the previous set, this one also is highly recommend both to modelers building OIF Marine tanks, and to those building other M1 tanks, thanks to many  generic marking included.

Many thanks to Lawrence Goh of Echelon Fine Details for the review sample.

Echelon Fine Details decals are available in USA among others from Mission Models. For other resellers and distributors list, visit Echelon web site.


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