My models

M1A1 AIM Abrams – Part 5: Running gear

M1A1_IMG_8104res

During the break while I am waiting for the decals for Pershing to arrive I went back to other kits sitting on my shelf to get them bit closer to the finish.

Already some weeks ago I painted and weathered the wheels and portion of the hull behind the wheels, which will be mostly hidden by the side skirts. Given that most of this paintwork would not be seen I was quite happy with the final effect, partly because I was able to apply pigments in a way that did not result in all the previous weathering steps being covered by the pigments.

I was then struggling a bit with the tracks, I have used the kit’s single link tracks, which are quite easy to assemble, though sometimes (as was now the case) they shrink a bit after the glue sets, so that it takes a bit of an effort to fit them again to the wheels. Another problem with the tracks was that they have quite prominent ejection marks on the inside, these of course had to be cleaned, which is rather time-consuming effort.

Once ready, I have painted the tracks with Nato Black and then gave it a quick highlight with a mix of Nato Black and Medium Grey (also from Tamiya range).

I have studied the photographs from the Gulf war to get better idea how the tracks looked and my impression was that there were actually two different looks – 1. At the beginning of the campaign, when tanks just rolled out into the desert, the tracks were rather dark in appearance (almost black), with just the rubber pads that are in contact with the ground being covered by thin layer of dust and sand, which rubbed on from the ground. 2. As the campaign progressed and the vehicles have already covered some distances the effect seem to be actually the opposite – dust and sand have accumulated in all the crevices and the pads were actually looking cleaner than the rest of the tracks parts as these pads constanly rubbed the ground. This is just my impression, other opinions are welcome…

After some deliberating I concluded there is very little additional effect that could be achieved by further painting efforts or washes. So the next step was generous application of pigments – I have used primarily Gulf War Sand with just a bit of lighter dust shade. I have used fingers to remove the pigments from the inner and outer contact surfaces, sliding them along the length of the tracks.

There is now a bit of difference between the weathering of wheels and tracks, as I haven’t used so much pigments on the wheels as I had on the tracks, this will have to be blended later on.

At this time the tracks are painted, weathered and mounted and everything is ready to mount side skirts.

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