The United States M1 Abrams entered service in 1980. It began stalking the modern battlefield as the M1A1 Abrams variant in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The M1A1 Abrams dominated combat operations and was undefeated when facing Iraqi T-55’s, T-62’s and T-72’s. In an effort to stay ahead of Russian armored development, the M1A1 was improved with the addition of internal GPS and a Commanders Independent Thermal Viewer amongst other improvements resulting in the M1A2. Additional improvements resulted in the M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP) and the M1A2 SEPv2.
The model kit market was devoid of an M1A2 SEP Abrams kit until Dragon added parts and re-boxed their original M1A2 kit in 2007 resulting in the Dragon M1A2 SEP kit #3536. The Dragon M1A2 SEP was the only kit on the market until Tamiya released their M1A2 SEP TUSK II kit #35326 in 2012. The release of this kit gave the model builder an economical option to build a TUSK variant Abrams at a reasonable price. Up to the time that the Tamiya M1A2 SEP TUSK II kit was released, theonly option for building a TUSK Abrams was purchasing one of the expensive Perfect Scale Modelbau or Legend TUSK conversions. In response to the Tamiya kit, Dragon upgraded their M1A2 SEP with new parts to represent the current M1A2 SEPv2 as kit #3556 in 2014. Tiger Model released kit #9601 which was a 1:72nd M1A2 SEP TUSK II in 2015.
As the M1A2 Abrams kit and accessory market continued to expand through 2015 and early 2016, the production of references has not kept up. Tankograd, as part of the their ‘American Special’ line released #3009 ‘M1A1/M1A2 SEP TUSK Abrams’ book in 2008. This book was 64 pages. In 2014, Tankograd published another book as part of their ‘Fast Track’ series. It was titled ‘M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams’ and was a limited edition. This book was only 40 pages and has been out of print for some time.
In 2016, after identifying a need in the hobby market, renowned model builders and authors Chris Mrosko and Brett Avants started SABOT Publications. SABOT Publications goal is to produce high quality photographic references for various combat systems. Just in time for the 2016 release of no fewer than three new M1A2 SEP TUSK model kits:
1. Meng 1:35th M1A2 TUSK I & TUSK II kit #TS-026 (March 2016)
2. Ryefield Models 1:35th M1A2 SEP TUSK I, TUSK II kit #RM 5004 (March 2016)
3. Academy M1A2 SEP TUSK I, TUSK II and SEPv2 kit #13298 (TBD 2016)
SABOT publications, in cooperation with MENG Models, released their first book titled “M1A2 SEP Abrams Main Battle Tank In Detail” on April 6th, 2016.
M1A2 SEP Abrams Main Battle Tank in Detail is a ‘must have’ reference for anybody interested in building a model of the M1A2 SEP Abrams and its TUSK variations. This book is also perfect to have sitting on your shelf if you just want a first class reference on the M1A2 SEP. To produce this book, SABOT Publications put together a rock star team of military veterans, subject matter experts, and hobby industry professionals. The book is in an 8-1/2” x 11” format, soft cover, 104 page color publication with nearly 300 photographs, color plates and line drawings.
The book starts out with two pages of history and technical data on the M1A2 SEP. SABOT Publications did a great job of maintaining balance with the history and technical data which gives the reader enough information to understand the system and its capabilities but doesn’t lose you in extensive technical discussion.
Twenty-eight pages of the publication are M1A2 SEP ‘In Action’ photographs. The photographs in this section captured operational images from places such as Iraq, South Korea, Germany and Bulgaria to name a few. These photographs are a great source for detailed views of crew field gear stowage, weathering effects and details of onboard equipment such as smoke grenade launchers, CROWS, and mine rollers.
The balance of the book is devoted to ‘Walkaround’ photographs. A majority of the pages in the ‘Walkaround’ section contain two large 4” x 8” color images. Each photograph has a detailed caption which informs the reader of the significant details shown in each photo. The amount of photos and details shown are staggering and unmatched in printed sources. The reader gets up close and personal with the M1A2 SEP, M1A2 SEP TUSK I and M1A2 TUSK II. You get VIP access to everything from the interior of the armored side skirts, detailed views of TUSK I reactive armor boxes and TUSK II armor tiles, tank interior details and the protective armored gun shield for the loaders M240 machine gun. You even get to see the inside of the smoke grenade storage boxes!! The number of photographs and details captured will keep the scratchbuilder and rivet counter busy for hours.
This first effort from SABOT Publications is an absolute success. You will not find a better, more detailed book on the M1A2 SEP and its TUSK variants. The quality, clarity and detail of the photographs is second to none. You need to find this book at your favorite hobby retailer right away and make your purchase as the production run was limited and available inventory is quickly selling out.
Highs: Excellent photograph quality and details, photos from various geographic areas, thorough mix of ‘In Action’ and ‘Walkaround’ photographs.
Lows: I would maybe add a few more pages of technical comments and data. It is difficult to call that a low since the book is intended primarily as a source of image reference.Verdict: Highly recommended.
About Brent Sauer (sgtsauer) FROM: MISSOURI, UNITED STATES
I began modelling around the age of 10. My first model kit was the U.S.S. Titanic. As I developed an interest in the military, I started building 1/72nd and 1/48th scale military aircraft. My interest then evolved into some 1/72nd scale armor. The first armor kits I built were 1/72nd scale Hasegawa ...