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A review of Tokyo Marui's 1/24 M1A2 Abrams : Part2

Transmitter- The transmitter is small, with push button controls, and a pistol grip.  The antenna extends, and the pistol grip houses a 9 Volt battery and removable 27mhz frequency crystal. A corresponding crystal is located under the tank's turret. 6 different crystals are available in the 27mhz band allowing up to 6 Tokyo Marui tanks to be used at the same time.  On the upper right of the transmitter is a red LED. It should normally be a bright red color. If it becomes a dull red glow, replace the 9 Volt battery. It is indicative of insufficient power to control all of the tanks functions.

Note the removeable transmitter crystal, and the tank's brass antenna insert collar

The reciever crystal is located under the right turret rear

The Abrams receives transmitter control data from the right antenna only, the side with the frequency crystal.  2 antennas are included, one for each side of the turret. The antennas are about 12 inch long each with a tightly wound base, and loop at the end. The antennas appear to be chromed steel items, and are fairly flexible. You can put a permanent bend in them if you are not careful. 

 Using the transmitter, the Abrams is able to operate on more then one channel. This means the tank can move, rotate its turret and shoot the main gun, all at the same time! The transmitter range for me is about 100 feet; at that distance the model is quite small indeed.


Push-button transmitter allows for one-handed operation




Operations-   Out of the box, the M1A2 Abrams is almost ready to run. Remove all the attached warning tags, insert antennas, and batteries, and the tank is ready for play. You can leave off the details parts for later. The tank on/off switch is found on the bottom of the hull.  The push button transmitter is quite intuitive to use:


To move forward, press button #1.  Both tracks will operate in unison. Pressing button #2 or button #3 will increase forward speeds.


To turn left, press button #L1. Button #L2 will increase left turn speeds. Turning right is accomplished with buttons # R1, and #R2.


The Abrams can drive backwards as well. Push button # BACK to move straight backwards. To turn left while moving backwards press button #LB , and to turn right while moving backwards press button #RB .

The model can also turn in place, just like a real tank. Press either a forward left and a rear right button or forward right and rear left button in unison. It's a little too quick to be realistic, but it's useful should you need to make a panic turn in the opposite direction. Unlike the larger and more sophisticated Tamiya tanks, none of the movement is proportional. The tank is either at a standstill or moves at any of three forward speeds. In most cases, the Abrams looks most realistic moving forward or turning at speed #1.


As with most R/C vehicles, it is a good idea to let the tank come to a complete stop when switching between forward and reverse gears.  This prevents the gears from stripping or wearing out prematurely. You can switch between the forward speeds, and left/right turn quickly with no worry of damaging the gearbox.



Turret rotation is accomplished by two left or right buttons. The turret turns about 320 degrees, when the main gun begins to pass over the rear engine deck, you should stop. Continuing to rotate the tank turret past this point will result in ugly gear clicking noises! Likewise, the main gun can be elevated or depressed with a single button. Pressing and holding down the button will move it on one direction. Releasing the button and pressing it again will cause the 120mm cannon to move in the opposite direction. Holding the button down continuously will result in the gun moving up and down in a continuous cycle.  


The Abrams with the separate link replacement tracks can drive over low shag carpets indoors, on hard tile, and concrete sidewalks. The Japanese instruction booklet has cute diagrams that illustrates you should not drive on grass, sand or water. I have driven the Abrams on grass and soil with no problems, but sand and water can be harmful since the hull is not weatherproof. 


Some of you may have read the somewhat disappointing review of the off-road capabilities of Tokyo Marui's previous tank, the Type 90. According to the reviewer of a popular Internet electronics site, the Marui Type 90 encountered alot of difficulties traveling on grass. This is not the case with the Marui Abrams. The drive motors are the same but geared differently. In addition the track segments have a longer center guide that fits deeply into the drive sprocket, giving better torque than the Type 90.


Tokyo Marui states in advertisements, that their tanks can climb 35 degree slopes. My Abrams can actually climb up to 50 degrees incline on a particle board surface!


The Abrams has enough power to climb over untrimmed lawns, and up grassy slopes with authority. A video of my Marui Abrams easily traversing grass is available for download at the Yahoo Marui Tank Group webpage (see the links section). A twig trapped in the drive sprocket will still require removal though (this can disable bigger Tamiya 1/16 scale tanks too)!  


If you take your Airsoft tank off-road, be sure to open the hull to inspect the spring suspension, electrical connections, and clean out debris inside the hull, and drive sprockets. This should be done about once a month or when necessary.

The Marui Abrams can climb 50 degree inclines and grass as well


Airsoft mechanism-  One of the biggest appeal of Tokyo Marui tanks is that it can shoot plastic BBs. The instruction booklet constantly reminds you to play safely with Airsoft tanks, and wear eye protection. The Airsoft mechanism is very powerful and should be treated with respect like an actual firearm. Always remember:


 Never shoot at people, small animals, glass or property with the tank's main cannon! 


Marui 6mm bbs

Internally, the gun barrel is metal, with a cosmetic plastic sheath resembling the M256 smoothbore cannon of the actual Abrams. A single 130 size Mabuchi motor is used to power the Airsoft mechanism, which works by pulling back a piston inside the tank. A single 6mm BB loads into the chamber, and the piston is pushed forward by a tight spring; the resulting increase in air pressure propelling the BB 50-75 feet away. About 45 BBs can be loaded into the tank by opening (appropriately enough) the loaders hatch on the turret. Push the gun firing safety switch to the ON position (located inside the loader's hatch).  On the transmitter press the two red "FIRE" buttons at the same time. One is on the transmitter front, the other is under, on the pistol grip.  You will then hear the piston pulling back, and a red LED warning light on the turret co-axial gun will glow bright red.  The main gun will then fire the 6mm BB ! You will probably not see the BB exiting the gun barrel, as it ricochets at high speed off walls! The continuous rate of fire is about 1 BB every 2 seconds.


The LED gives 2 seconds warning, before the main gun fires

The Airsoft gun's on/off switch is under the loader's hatch

Do not purchase low quality bulk packed BBs


Care should be taken with 6mm BBs. The correct ones are high grade plastic, 0.12 gram weight. You should check the BBs are perfectly round with no mold lines, scratches, or pitting. Using such faulty BBs can damage the Airsoft mechanism. Never use metal BBs or 6mm paint balls. The metal will damage the gun barrel, and the paint balls can break inside the main gun tube resulting in a very messy clean up!







Note the circular impact, and bruising underneath

Tokyo Marui has incorporated a "Hop-Up" system that produces a backspin to the BB; the increase in lift enables it to travel out to 75 feet. Due to its light weight, the 0.12 gram BB has a habit of rising up after leaving the gun barrel, before dropping back down. Tank to tank combat is difficult since the 0.12 gram BB travels 8-10 inches off the ground, well over an opponent's turret top. Members of the Yahoo Marui Tank Group (see link) have reported that heavier 0.20 gram BBs negate the effect of the "Hop-Up's" backspin, allowing it to travel straighter. The 0.20 gram BB travel about 4 inches off the ground, the perfect height to combat another Airsoft tank!

In case you are wondering, the BBs can shoot through thin cardboard, knock down empty beer cans, and at close range, painfully bruise skin. Average velocity is 200fps, approximately 0.2-0.8 joules of energy. So play safe!

In summary, the Tokyo Marui M1A2 Abrams is a wonderful pre-assembled and painted toy, with basic radio control function, impressive details and accuracy, combined with an internal Airsoft gun. It is a great introductory tank for those who are new to the hobby. If you are interested in what can be achieved with repainting and addition of some details, click on the other links on the menu bar located on the upper left of this page, or the one below:

Modifications: Repainting

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