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My Heng Long Abrams Build

Old 01-29-2024, 09:56 PM
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So I bought the "upgrade version" of Heng Long's M1A2 Abrams to complete my collection of their American tanks, and while I thoroughly enjoy the look once the detail parts were installed there were issues inside, the way the controller was mounted is a joke, jammed into the slot in the side and held in place by cramming all the motor and battery wires against it and the gearbox housing to wedge it in. Apparently while running the tank, the plastic tab the other end was jammed up against broke off the controller came out of the slot enough to pull wires into the turret gear and jam it. It needs to be side mounted so the turret wiring doesn't snag on it, or some means of extending the wiring to the front where's a ton of room, so while I'm looking options there, I have a drive axle support bearing, full bearing gear box and some other stuff coming in prep for going metal tracks.





Old 01-29-2024, 09:56 PM
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ps. I'd post photos but ti keeps telling I ha e to have 10 points to post a URL...
Old 01-30-2024, 12:11 AM
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Hi, Every Tank I have I have glued a sheet of "Velcro" to the hull base and sides and on the control board, smoker and battery,
This retains everything in place yet allows you to move/remove whatever needs servicing,
The battery usually goes on the side of the hull the controller opposite but there are no hard and fast rules,
Put what you want where you want and if the wires are not long enough longer one are readily available on e-bay.
Old 01-30-2024, 02:25 AM
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Welcome to the dark side of RC. You're gonna love it.

A few years ago I did an Abrams and got rather extensive with it. I did quite a few videos on that project so if you'd like to see them I can probably dig them up after work and post a link.
Old 01-30-2024, 01:46 PM
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I typically do the velcro thing also. I also make sure all cables are routed well and/or bound together with others so they don't get sucked into the gears of stuff. I've built some pseudo firewalls between the gearboxes and the tank with styrene that can protect the wiring and stop oil from flinging everywhere.
Old 01-30-2024, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jarndice
Hi, Every Tank I have I have glued a sheet of "Velcro" to the hull base and sides and on the control board, smoker and battery,
This retains everything in place yet allows you to move/remove whatever needs servicing,
The battery usually goes on the side of the hull the controller opposite but there are no hard and fast rules,
Put what you want where you want and if the wires are not long enough longer one are readily available on e-bay.
There's battery box built in and it's in about the perfect spot, only thing I'm thinking of moving is the controller
Old 02-04-2024, 12:26 PM
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Well ended up leaving the controller where it was with servo tape and rerouted the wiring, also installed drive axle bearings and a metal idler with bearings, the gearbox is slowly winding it's way from China, next order of business is metal road wheels, then tracks.
Old 02-05-2024, 12:51 PM
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Old 02-05-2024, 02:00 PM
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Old 02-06-2024, 04:57 AM
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Looking good. The Abrams is a nice tank, lots of room inside for upgrades. I added metal tracks to mine a while back but it was too much weight for the motors so the tank could hardly move. I did not upgrade the motors, so it's back to the plastic tracks for now.
As you have learned, the Abrams does well in snow, just let the tracks cool down before driving and they will ice up less. Sand and mud are no problem too, just don't let the drive sprocket get packed up or you will throw or break a track. My tank webpage has movies of my Abrams in action, just click the Western Slope Division link below.
You have your.50 cal machine gun mounted upside down. The Heng Long instructions show it upside down, so most people mount it wrong. here are some pix to reference.
What part of the planet are you located in?





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Old 02-06-2024, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Pah co chu puk
You have your.50 cal machine gun mounted upside down. The Heng Long instructions show it upside down, so most people mount it wrong. here are some pix to reference.
What part of the planet are you located in?
They shoot further if you mount them upside down. The bullets think gravity is going in the other direction. Bwahahahaha
Old 02-07-2024, 09:23 AM
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There are no machine guns on the Abrams at the museum I'm using for reference, I'll make a note of it once the final assembly is done. Never had an issue with the tracks loading up with snow unless it's really wet snow, at which point it clogs everything anyway, but I found out yesterday it absolutely hates loose sand, inevitably sand or even a small rock get's lodged in the sprockets center guide and throws the track to the side of it. Until that point it does well though, and it hasn't been an issue with the idler or the road wheels, but the slot in those is even bigger than the slot on the sprocket and seems to eject most of what they pick up without causing issues.

The good news is my gearbox cleared customs today, so it might get here sooner than the expected 2/20
Old 02-07-2024, 09:37 AM
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Not sure what gearboxes you ordered, but for my Abrams I got them from Imex in Florida and I used the 3:1 High/Low, black steel, ball bearing, $69.99 (currently out of stock) and they gave me a scale speed of just over 45 mph. I believe the Abrams is governed for just that speed.
Old 02-07-2024, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by skyowa
I found out yesterday it absolutely hates loose sand, inevitably sand or even a small rock get's lodged in the sprockets center guide and throws the track to the side of it. Until that point it does well though, and it hasn't been an issue with the idler or the road wheels, but the slot in those is even bigger than the slot on the sprocket and seems to eject most of what they pick up without causing issues.
I have a metal drive sprockets without that center guide. I had to drill out the holes in the sides to look correct, but otherwise they work great in sand, mud, and snow.
Keep us posted as you upgrade your Abrams. Here is mine playing in sand.

Last edited by Pah co chu puk; 02-07-2024 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 02-07-2024, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Max-U52
Not sure what gearboxes you ordered, but for my Abrams I got them from Imex in Florida and I used the 3:1 High/Low, black steel, ball bearing, $69.99 (currently out of stock) and they gave me a scale speed of just over 45 mph. I believe the Abrams is governed for just that speed.
I got mine from Toucan, I believe it's basically the stock steel gearbox with ball bearings and blue motors installed, don't know what the gear ratio is but the blue motor should offer around 20% higher RPM over the stock so a speed and power increase is expected.

IIRC, 45mph at 1/16th scale is roughly 4'/sc, that would look pretty cool if you could get the suspension to float a bit for realism
Old 02-13-2024, 09:24 PM
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Got the gearboxes today, got them installed, they were wired backwards so I just flipped the connectors for now, there was a clearance issue with the power switch, just moved it over for now, I just wanted to see how it ran, a definite increase in power and speed was noticed, enough that I need to get the metal tracks ordered, don't see the plastic tracks holding up very long.

Old 02-14-2024, 10:27 AM
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speed comparison


Old 02-14-2024, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by skyowa
Switch to the "red" 390 motors if you want to see a real speed difference.

Last edited by Fsttanks; 02-14-2024 at 09:46 PM.
Old 02-14-2024, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Fsttanks
Swith to the "red" 390 motors if you want to see a real speed difference.
Probably will once I get the rest of the drive train upgrade, red is a waste with plastic tracks.
Old 03-12-2024, 02:30 PM
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saw a video on this suspension mod, drill a new index hole at the 12 o'clock position to decrease the preload, pretty pleased with the results, a bit of tweaking to the rear is still needed but overall it's exactly what I wanted.




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Old 04-19-2024, 01:00 PM
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Finally got new shoes for the Abrams, once I got everything tweaked, we threw everything we could at it to try and get them to slip off the sprocket and they stayed put. so we ordered a set of metal roads wheels to complete the conversion.




Old 05-15-2024, 10:42 AM
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Finally got the road wheels, so I removed the tires and disassembled the rims, then I soaked the rims in hot (180F) degreaser, scrubbed and rinsed with 90% iso alcohol, applied 2 coats Tamiya gray primer and 3 coats Tamiya Light Sand lacquer (rattle can).





Old 05-15-2024, 11:34 AM
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On a side note, having bashed my Abrams around, there were already some cosmetic issues, namely one of the "mud flaps" was broken off as was one of the smoke grenade launchers, and when I got the wheel set, I installed it to see how things would run, during those trials, the tank exceeded it's rollover angle, fell off a curb and landed squarely on the turret, busting a number of detail parts and jamming the barrel elevation. After pricing replacement parts, including a new lower hull, I decided to make Toucan an offer on a new plastic version M1A2 which they for once accepted without back and forth, so that will arrive tomorrow, I've decided to just repaint the tank Light Sand as well, seems to be the closest to the Desert Storm version Abrams they have on display in Johnston, by the time it's weathered, it won't really matter.

I have been spending some time with the turret assembly in terms of improving it's movement. After removing the paint from the surfaces involved, I polished the plastic and gave it a coat of turtle wax, the results were significant, I'm sure temporary as dirt gets in and wax wears off though. However I ordered some slick tape for drawer runners etc to play with too. I'm going to install a slip ring in the new tank, already modified the old ring for 360.
Old 05-17-2024, 11:11 PM
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Got the new tank and got it tore down, lower and upper hull are painted, started getting the details on the turret as far as I can until the slip ring arrives Monday, I also ordered a static Heng long weapon station and metal "security fence" to add to the mix, get those installed and I can finish the paint and start weathering etc. I'm debating on how to treat the swing arms, paint or blackened.





Old 05-18-2024, 08:33 AM
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I love some of the terms HL uses. Calling the turret basket a "security fence"...
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