1:35 Tamiya Verlinden VP


When a model that I recognised from my youth turned up as scrap, I had no option but to restore it to its former glory...

 I decided instead to hold onto it and one day restore it back to the way it looked in 1986 when the model was first completed. 


Ten years ago, during a conversation with Francois Verlinden, I mentioned that I was looking for an early Tamiya M1 Abrams with a 105 mm gun. “I have one of those that you can have”, he announced, “I’ll send it to you…”.

A few weeks passed by and a parcel arrived contained a few bits and pieces and the M1 that he had promised to send me. The thing was, it wasn’t just any old M1; it was the model that he had used in the Verlinden Way Vol. VI as part of a diorama entitled ‘Abrams Exercise”! Though very badly damaged, the model was still recognisable and although I toyed with simply stripping it and repainting the results (yeah, I know, right?!) I decided instead to hold onto it and one day restore it back to the way it looked in 1986 when the model was first completed. 


Two weeks ago, I began that work. All of the broken parts were replaced with parts from a spare M1A1; areas that were damaged, fixed up and then all new parts were VERY carefully painted to match as closely as possible the finish that he had applied.

Happy with that, all of the stowage was replicated with exact parts that matched the images. These were taken from Tamiya, Italeri and VP sets, with tissue paper bedrolls through in for good measure. The blue/white ’74’ panels on the turret were then designed and printed out to match the images, as was the exercise panel on the rear turret. The completed model is not a perfect match for the original, but I think it’s around 95% of the way there and though I still have a few parts to recreate (including a missing two cable), I’m pretty happy to have brought this classic build back to life, and the way it looks so far.


Now that it’s done, my next job is to replicate the figures and then the diorama, both of which will be done later this year.

I hope you enjoy seeing this restoration as much as I enjoyed carrying it out! And thank you to Francois for sending the model in the first place! 🙂


If you would like to see more of Francois’ original model and the diorama in which it features, can I suggest that you track down a copy of Verlinden Way Vol. VI? Though out of print, the book is still available Online, with copies sometimes appearing on sales sites such as eBay.

I'm formerly the editor in charge of Military In Scale magazine and latterly, Model Airplane International. Editing duties to one side, I'm now a full-time modelmaker with Doolittle Media, working to supply modelling articles and material for a number of their group titles, including MAI and Tamiya Model Magazine International. I'm also an avid fan of Assassin's creed, Coventry City FC and when the mood takes me, a drummer of only passing skill. Here though, you'll find what I do best: build models and occassionally, write about them!


  1. Harold Cline

    Spencer: I have a buddy who is a retired LTC. As a CPT he ran an Army Ordinance depot that’s repaired and serviced first gen M1’s at Fulda. He told me that the original Abrams, as you’ve depicted here, was capable of speeds of almost 100k. This was when it weighed “only” 55 tons before the 120mm gun, upgraded armor etc. The M1’s I saw while in Iraq were over 70 tons.


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