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M1A2 SEP v3 - Australia’s new Abrams (1/16)


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Happy 2024, folks. 

2024 will see the first deliveries to Australia of M1A2 SEP v3, 75 of which will replace 59 M1A1 AIM SA, in service since 2006. 



Having reverted Tamiya’s 1/16 M1A2 to an Australian M1A1, time to update another one, this time from plain Jane M1A2 to SEP v3.


Having learned CAD in meantime, I’ve started on the things I can update with relative ease. 

With no public domain pics of Australian v3s out & about, the precise configuration is as yet unknown. 


Firstly, the bustle rack, bustle rack extension, & “VCSU” - essentially an aircon unit that replaces the auxiliary power unit of the earlier models. 





A few iterations got me to this. 





The v3 bustle has some additions, so they’re on the agenda. 

Next is the exhaust & heat exchanger grills on the rear. 


The commanders cupola has also been started, removing the traverse mechanism for the machine gun.



The largest modifications will be a new hull front, new turret front/profile, & low-profile remote weapon station mounted atop the gunner’s primary sight. 

Thanks for stopping by. 


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The Tamiya kit has a few shortcomings, among them the older hubs for the road wheels. The easiest way to update these is to re-do the entirety of the outer roadwheel, while making it compatible with the kit rubber tyre, inboard roadwheel, & suspension. 

The outer (helpfully omitting the new hub):


Inboard view w/screw holes:


With the turret-mounted spare wheel:


The spare is mounted adjacent the Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer. 

One of the big changes with the SEP v3 is the thicker hull front & greatly reinforced tow points. 

I’ve guessed a notional thickness & modelled both the old & new lower tow points. 



I’ll refine these as I research them further. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

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On 1/6/2024 at 8:08 AM, LSP_Ray said:


Thanks, Ray. 

20 hours ago, Uncarina said:

Great start! Only you could do this next level work, which will be another great build to watch.


Cheers, Tom

Thanks, Tom. High praise indeed. 

Today’s work was confined to the reverse camera housing on the rear right light housing. 



Lots of work for a tiny component. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

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10 minutes ago, JeepsGunsTanks said:

Looks like this is going to be pretty sweet. Will this be an RC or just static?


I only build static, RC is not my thing.

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18 hours ago, Alex said:

Amazing work!  This really is next level modeling.

Thanks, Alex. Started assembling the base kit this morning. 

11 hours ago, CODY said:

Could you share this here? These guys would love this...


Cheers, Cody. As mine is a purely static build, I’m not sure it’d be welcome over there. 

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Posted (edited)

With the resin printer back up & running, time to test & adjust some of the parts before putting them into production. 

The kit rubber “tyres” fit the replacement outer wheels. 


Will have to tweak the design further, but it’s looking okay. 

Fit check/test prints also done for the check 6 & cover, as well as the spare wheel & bracket. Wasn’t too careful removing supports as they weren’t part of the test. 


Tail light:



As the SEP v3 is significantly heavier than the legacy models, the lifting eyes & tow points have been beefed up. 

Here’s my first attempts:





Lots to do, but it’s a start. 

Thanks for looking in. 

Edited by GMK
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Fit checks with test prints. Tedious, but necessary. 

The commander’s cupola with the traverse gear for the 50 cal is removed as there’s a low profile remote weapon station fitted atop the gunner’s primary sight housing. 



Fits the kit hatch cover, hinges, & hinge mount well - that’s a relief. Kit transparencies are being replaced with mirrored inserts, so that’s okay. 

I’ve now updated the model to include the coaming & the rear quarter periscopes/episcopes. 






Spare wheel & mounting plate have been tweaked to give further clearance to fit the kit tyre. One more iteration, I reckon. 



The SEP v3 has a fitting on the left side of the hull back plate. The precise shape is tricky to pin down, so I’m getting the basics right before moving onto detailing. 




Another distinctive feature of the SEP v3 is the thickening of armour on the turret front. Working my way from the centreline outward, this is where I am. 



Old school modelling, in this case cutting some 2mm black styrene to size to blank out the intakes on the engine deck. 

Thanks for looking in. 

Edited by GMK
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Thanks to an influx of references, I’ve been able to update some of the parts I’ve been working on. 

That said, I thought this would’ve been the final print for the cupola - no such luck!




Fit check of the rear hull fittings before detailing. 



Would like to add the GPS puck to the back of the commander’s independent thermal viewer: a bit of work, but should be okay. 



Thanks for looking in. 

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More work!


Plastruct has a violet mirror finish styrene which I use as inserts for the episcopes to emulate the laser reflective finish. Here’s the test fit with the now-superseded cupola. 



In place on the turret shell, with a sneak preview of the new turret fascia test fit. 


Next on the printer is the GPS puck mounted adjacent the Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer. This is a bit involved. 




Thanks for looking in. 

Edited by GMK
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