M88A2 HERCULES Recovery Tank Model 1:16

In 2006 we were asked to produce two 1:16 sale models for GDLS-A. One was an M1A1AIM(SA) ABRAMS Main Battle Tank that had been selected to replace the 30 year old LEOPARD AS1 tank. To support the ABRAMS in the field the Australian Army also purchased seven M88A2 HERCULES Recovery Tanks. These huge vehicles have the ability to tow and with its large derrick and winches can also lift the 68 ton ABRAMS.

The ABRAMS model was completed first and handed over in early 2007. The HERCULES was going to take some time to complete as the model had to be entirely scratch built. Using an AFV Kit of the M88, plans were drawn up for the components of the tank and work began. Scratch building each part and then moulding them. This included road wheels, torsion bars, drive sprockets, axles, weapons and many components of the hull. The lower hull was built using Evergreen styrene and all the parts that had been cast, fitted.

With the lower hull completed it was time to get stuck into the large oddly shaped upper hull. The rear of the vehicle is covered in vents for the main engine and winches etc. The large forward section contains the driver and commanders cupola with viewing periscopes. Sighted in between them is the large towing and lifting winch for the derrick above. Along the sides of the vehicle are large skirts covering the upper track and top of the road wheels. This was done separately and added once the model had been painted and track fitted. The tracks used for this for the model were left over sections from the ABRAMS model.

The upper hull was now finished apart from a few details and weapons. The derrick arms where also built from styrene tube. Inserted up the length of the arms was heavy brass rod to make sure the arms stayed straight. The entire model was then painted in the standard "Sand" colour paint scheme, side skirts fitted and the derrick arms screwed into place. Highlighted details were painted and the derrick rigged with its heavy blocks and hooks. The final detail to be added was the .5 inch Machine Gun and the red Roos on the sides of the hull.

The model was delivered to GDLS-A in 2008, who in turn passed the model to BAE Systems who presented the model to the Armoured Engineering Regiment in Wodonga, VIC not far from the DMG workshops.