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1 15135 22/5/08
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100% of reviewers £60.00 9.0
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Description: 1/24 Scale M1A2 replica. Shoots airsoft BBs with hop up, has fully function turret, suspension and treads. Made by VsTank, Marui's OEM tank manufacture. 2007 brings a new controller and greatly enhanced functionality to an already impressive product
Keywords: VsTank Tank Abrams M1 M1A2 hen long
Homepage/URL: www.vstank.com
BearenPanzer
 
Posts: 1
Registered: December 2004
Location: Framingham, MA



Glenn

BearenPanzer

Registered: December 2004
Location: Framingham, MA
Posts: 1,507
Review Date: 22/5/08 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: £60.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Positive aspects of the product (pros): Highly detailed, lots of functions, well painted
Cons: Too fast for scale, no headlights/tailights

VsTank 2007 Desert M1A2 Abrams


See my 2005 Leopard review here: http://www.arniesairsoft.co.uk/reviewpost/showproduct.php/product/261/cat/20/page/


VsTank
VsTank is partnered with the OEM producer of Marui tanks, which Marui no longer has a hand in. Theyíre making the molds, doing the packaging, and nowadays testing and engineering theyíre own tanks. They grew from an alternative source for Marui tanks to an innovative and unique tank supplier.
VsTank stands behind theyíre products, offering spare parts, a warranty, and good service. They're also well on their way to really expanding the line, with at least 5 new models in the pipe.


VsTank Global home.


The Basics
The Abrams is an Airsoft tank, just like the Leopard 2A5 I reviewed. Much as an airsoft M4 and an airsoft G36 are essentially the same thing, the Abrams and the Leopard are close cousins, on the inside.
Theyíre actually even more closely related than the M4 and G36 in the analogy. The guns use different gearboxes, the tanks are 95% the same internally. They use different final drives, but the differences are in form alone, providing the same gear ratios and using the same motors. Ditto for airsoft and turret parts.
The Leopard review has more info.


2007 vs. 2005
What I love about VsTank is that they innovate. While Marui still offers their tanks with the original electronics packaged found on the Type 90 nearly a decade ago, and still uses the V2 pistol grip controller, VsTank has updated their tanks with functionally better parts.
The 2005 line used the pistol grip controller. Designed for one handed use, it made for jerky control, and not overly realistic movement. The 2007 uses the V3 controller, a big 2 handed affair not unlike an XBOX controller in some respects. It allows for Ďcontinuous movement,í meaning you can turn and roll forward simultaneously. 3 forward speeds and one reverse are the norm, with 4 neutral turn buttons (two speeds, two directions), and more buttons to turn the tank left or right when running forward or backward. On the controller shoulders are left and right turret rotate, main gun up/down buttons, and the two buttons required to fire the tank.
The Abrams also has a new circuit board lurking inside, printed on a shiny blue card. Its bigger, designed to cope with the heat generated by the new controller, and protected by a nice dustcover. The 2007 Abrams also comes with a softer spring set for the suspension system, making it ride well and perform better than older, stiffer tanks.
The tanks are essentially the same, though. The old controller works with the new tank and vice versa, so Iíve enjoyed 2007 performance from my Leopard just by swapping crystals. The load placed on the board is different, thoughÖit gets hot. I donít use the new controller with the old tank very often, or for very long, simply because I donít want to do any hard. On that note, though, replacement boards are easy to get. A 2007 Leopard board would work just fine, and be a drop and solder in replacement job. They go for all of $22.
Also new for 2007 is weathering. The cannon muzzle, stock tracks, wheels and side skirts all have nice, tasteful weathering, and the rest of the tank as a subtle, dust covered look. Black at the muzzle, and a desert brown everywhere else. It looks nice.


Abrams vs. Leopard
Both tanks are big and bulky, and both run off the same goods inside. As you may expect, performance is similar. The Abrams can outrun the Leopard by just a bit, probably because the German tank is 2 and a half years old, and the Abrams is just turning 1. Both shoot great. Both climb well and attack obstacles with a will. The pure performance winner of the two is the Abrams, but only because Iíve modified it more.
The Abrams, out of the box, has pleasantly soft suspension, much softer than the Leopards stock setup. I lightened it further, but even stock, it was nice. A huge improvement over the stiffer, older tanks.
That said though, the Abrams mold followed the Type 90 in TMís lineup, before VsTank existed, indeed, before HL or other OEM (legit or not) suppliers existed. It is accurate, and detailed, but the Leopard is better. The Leopard reproduces finer lines with more crispness, and has more surface features. The M1 is no slouch, it looks great, but compared head to head with newer molds like the Leo, it comes out on the bottom.
If performance is your motivator, youíre in trouble. New tanks will perform identically. The Leopards (A5 and A6) have better detail, but the M1 comes in more colors (desert, woodland and NTC vs. woodland and winter) and has more accessories available for it (both tanks have tracks and [identical] bag kits, but the M1 has a kit containing APU, gas tanks, ammo cans, etc).


Modifications and Extras
Iíve added all the goodies you can get to my M1. The bags and second accessory kit give it a working tank look, nicer and less naked than stock. I suppose youíre supposed to glue these parts on, but I tack them in place, so I can move them around from time to time. Iíve also added the plastic tread set.
Initially, I was disappointed with this item. It allows the tank to run a bit more freely, but seemed either too tight or too loose, a half link of in either direction. Worse yet, traction was awful. On hard surfaces, it was a disaster. In the dirt, it was better, but still nothing compared to the rubber tracks. Good looks yes, performance no. I was bummed, and figured Iíd be putting the rubber tracks back on whenever I wanted to really run the tank.
Not so. I made pads for the tracks much like the famed Miniature Art tanker did, except I made mine out of rubber and did an abominable job cutting them. With these pads glued in place, traction became better than the original tracks. The tightness/looseness fixed itself. Running the tank hard for a couple days seemed to stretch the tracks a bit, leaving them appropriately tensioned.
To further enhance realism and traction, I softened the already soft suspension. This lets the tank really get on top of things as it climbs, and hug the ground admirably. It changes the behavior of the tank for the better, making it look more likely a little behemoth in action and opening up the range or terrains it can attack.
I added some more goodies to the turret and bustle, disconnected the speaker wire, and called it done. Its been running as shown for almost a year. The speaker wire unclips from the board, and shuts up the too loud and rather lame engine/cannon sounds all the tanks make.


Durability
The aging Leopard still runs hard and strong, if not quite as well as it did when new. Performance of the newer M1 has not degraded at all in the year Iíve been beating on it. And beating on it I have been. I like the 2007 upgrades quite a bit, and I think I prefer M1s to Leos anyway, so I run the crap out of this thing, and Iím not gentle. Its rolled, jumped and slogged through tons of stuff. Its been wet, and its been heaved off of high enough obstacles.
The only real damage it has sustained comes in the form of some crazing on the stops on the suspension arms. These parts are supported in double shear, and are still mostly solid, so Iím not worried. This is a side effect of jumping, methinks. If the parts ever actually fail, replacements, complete with wheel and suspension arm, come in pairs for $4.50. I might grab some anyway, so I can add some OD wheels to my desert tank, as often seen in the sandbox. Most Abrams replacement parts are Cold War stock, so theyíre still painted for European forests, hence any Abrams that has put in long service recently has green parts among itís desert hues. I also snapped off the tow hook on the back early on, by banging it against rough terrain. I still have it, but as soon as I glue it on...it'll snap back off. I don't care.


Summation
I love these things. Fair price, reliable, good performance, great detail. There isnít much not to love. If you donít want an airsoft tank, grab an IR model (see my forthcoming T-72M1 review, or a sparkling model. If you donít need it to run at all, you can get collector tanks at half the cost, electronics free. Start ordering.


The Future?
2008 is thoroughly here, but VsTank seems focused on its new Tiger (mid), the totally new T-72M1 and the overdue new Type 90. VsTank is great, and free with their information. They tell me a recoiling barrel upgrade is instore for the older tanks, and a totally new electronics package is in the works, with real proportional control and lots of light/sound options. Furthermore, upgrade kits will be available to take your older tanks up to the next performance level. Good news all around.

------------------------------
Tanks: Leopard 2A5 M1A2 Abrams T-72M1 2008 Leopard 2A6 Prototype Laser Version
PM me your VsTank related questions.

WTB: Broken KSC Mk23, any version
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