Monday, May 15, 2017

M1A2 Abrams "Giraffe", a Twilight 2000 tank

In the mid to late 'eighties Games Designer Workshop released a role playing game based on a Third World War scenario. The forces on both sides started out equipped with current and bleeding edge (Ultra-Modern) military hardware.

Many of the designs were based on experimental vehicles and test beds, others on "to be delivered soon" equipment. As the present steamrollered over the "future" many of them fell by the wayside.

A revised version was released with a revised "future" after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

One of the vehicles was the M1A2 "Giraffe", a slightly futuristic design based on the current M1 tank.

One of the continuing thoughts on tank design is how to reduce the width of the turret to reduce weight but still provide protection to the crew. One way of doing that would be to move the crew into the hull and operate the turret and gun remotely. There were a number of designs before the M1 Tank Test Bed (including a Cromwell with a remote turret).

The Giraffe was based on this concept. History (in the form of the US Army) moved on and the M1A2 became an enhanced M1A1.

So I built a number of vehicles to represent Twilight 2000 vehicles. This is the Giraffe.

It was built more than 25 years ago, so I cannot remember the origin of the Abrams kit.

The hull was built according to the instructions. The turret ring was plated over  leaving a hole to take the Meccano bearing.
A Modelscenes Sewer Pipe  was used to raise the turret above the hull..
The basic turret was constructed according to the instructions to make a suitably robust structure, it was then cut with a razor saw to remove the gun mount. The new turret was then cut from plastic card. The armoured box that contains the sight, the commander's hatch and the wind speed detector were added to the basic turret box. Milliput was used to smooth the transitions.
The plastic sewer pipe was attached to the turret box and a Meccano bolt was milliputed in place for the pivot.

Various items of stowage were added to the hull.

 The loader's hatch was added to the revised deck of the tank.
The camouflage was taken from an example in the US Army vehicle guide published by GDW.

This model has been in storage for more than twenty years, only being brought out in response to a posting on a forum.

References for the M1 TTB (normal warnings about external internet sites apply)