After having successfully recovered from the mini-disaster, I have proceeded with my original intention to prime the turret and wheels. This time without any mishaps.
I have decided to do painting in few steps as it is bit more complicated due to the side skirts. The turret is easy, it can be painted in the same process as usual. For the hull I have decided to paint the area around and behind the wheels so that the whole running gear, including tracks, is going to be painted and weathered before the side skirts are mounted. The painted area will then be masked off and the rest of the tank will be painted and weathered in the usual way.
I have skipped the primer for the lower area of the hull and directly painted it with the mix of Tamiya Flat Black and Flat Brown, which will act as primer and preshading.
On the turret and wheels I have first applied the primer (Tamiya can) and then the Black/Brown mix. The turret got covered completely, it was rather time-consuming job as with preshading you have to make sure all of the surface is covered. As the Abrams’ turret has a lot of surface details – baskets, stowage boxes, etc. it take some time and painting from all of the angles to make sure, there are no hidden spots shining through in the original plastic.
For the wheels I only painted the front and rear. The circumference (rubber) was painted later with the new Tamiya Rubber Black (XF-85) paint, as it will essentially be used as the main coat.