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Book Review
M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service
Warmachines - M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Originally published on:

Warmachines 04 Series
By SABOT Publication
ISBN 978-1-947552-01-2
MSRP - $25.00

SABOT Publications has been providing the modeling community with highly detailed and visually informative reference publications for a few years now. As part of an acquisition of thousands of photographs not too long ago, Sabot Publications is continuing the iconic Warmachines series referencing books created originally by Verlinden Publications. The fourth issue of Warmachines from Sabot Publications is M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service. As the title suggests, this book is a photo book with its entire focus on the M1A1 SA Abrams Main Battle Tank while in service with the Iraqi Forces.

M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service

M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service is a sixty-five page book presented in a soft-cover, full color A4 format. As the title states, this book is all about the current M1A1 SA Main Battle Tank as seen being used by the current Iraqi military. With this book, SABOT Publications has also provided a set of 1/35 scale decals for modelers looking to create a scale version of these Iraqi Abrams.

As the introduction explains, the United States provided the Iraqi military with 140 refurbished M1A1 between 2010 and 2012. The United States has provided personnel to train trainers so the Iraqis can train their own soldiers on the Abrams platform. Since then as a result of the fighting against radical-based religious terrorism, the Iraqi forces have had numerous Abrams knocked out, depleting the number of tank down to approximately forty. Currently, the Iraqi government is in the process of purchasing another 175 of these tanks to replenish their ranks.


• Training
• Color Profiles
• M1A1 SA Markings
• Walk Around – Weathering and Battle Damage

As with previous release of Warmachines with Verlinden and now Sabot Publications, we’re provided with a full-color and highly detailed pictographic referencing book. This time we get up close and personal with the M1A1 SA MBT as seen in service with the Iraqi forces. While not formally defined in a Table of Contents, the book breaks down into five chapters. Including the Introduction, the first twenty-seven pages of the book shows us a comprehensive view of these early Abrams along with the soldiers of the Iraqi Forces being schooled in operating and maintaining these MBT’s by US military officials.

The Training part of this book is followed closely by an eight-page section containing beautifully created Color Profiles by Thierry Vallet. These color profiles show us the general layout of these M1A1 SA’s as well as the base coloring of the tanks and associated markings as seen in service with the 9th Division, 34th Brigade, 1t & 4th Regiments as well as the Special Division. These color profiles are followed up with a nine-page photographic presentation of the actual tactical markings in a section titled, Iraqi M1A1 SA Markings.

The culmination of this book comes in a twenty-nine page layout titled Iraqi M1A1 SA Walkaround – Weathering and Battle Damage. Page after page in this section is an in depth look at the chipping, rusting, dirty, dusty, mismatched coloring and battle damaged Abrams. As part of the refurbishing of these MBT’s for sale to the Iraqi Forces as well as modifications after the fact, there is often a mismatching of sand and green colored parts which we can see clearly by the provided photographs in the book. Adding to the splendor of weathering, we are treated to up close and personal shots of typical damage these Abrams endure throughout their not-so-well-maintained service. There is particular focus at the end of this section to the add-on mesh armor specific to the Iraqi version of the M1A1 SA.


As an added bonus there is a set of waterslide decals attached to the last page that SABOT Publications has provided. The decal set contains all of the markings used on the M1A1 SA tanks as seen while in service with the Iraqi Forces. These decal were beautifully designed by Federico Collata and printing was supplied by Cartograf. There are enough included decals to effective create five different Iraqi M1A1 SA tanks. The decals include the markings for:

Special Division – Tank Regiment Iraq 2017 (Two Versions)
• 9th Division, 34th Brigade, 4th Regiment – Iraq 2017
• 9th Division, 34th Brigade, 1st Regiment – Iraq 2015-2017
• 9th Division, 34th Brigade, 4th Regiment – Iraq 2015-2017


Well, I have reached that point of the review where I can give my synopsis and opinion about the M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service from SABOT Publications. In short, I love it! How could you not? Whether you are interested in the M1A1 SA specifically or its use in the Iraqi Army, this publication is sure to please. These books have been created with the model enthusiast in mind. The book is filled end to end with brilliantly colored photographs and pay particular attention to areas that many modelers are focused on such as added parts and equipment, markings and of course weathering. What it comes down to for me, is that photographic referencing materials such as this one are extremely difficult, if not damn near impossible to get it wrong...and SABOT Publications has gotten it so RIGHT!

I was as amazed, as probably most were, to see Sabot Publications inclusion of the Iraqi Abrams decal sheet; however, I will assume no one will disagree with me when I say this is outstanding move and makes perfect sense given the overall interest in the subject and anyone picking up a copy of this book would possibly be interested in modeling this variant... basically, after thumbing through the pages for only a few minutes, my personal inspirational juices begin to flow and the feeling to run out and purchase an Abrams model and slap it around the bench came over me right away!

I am able to sum this up quickly by simply stating that I “highly recommend” M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service to anyone interested in the subject matter. Of course, with a book like M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service, as they say, “the proof is in the pudding”. The book is filled with a tremendous amount of highly detailed photographs showing the M1A1 SA in training and service. The walk around photos that focus on the specific look and modifications is a must have for anyone interested in creating an Iraqi version of these Abrams tanks; and if for nothing else, the book is a treasure-trove of weathering references which is a must-have for any modeler who is a weathering enthusiast. So, I am most confident in making a claim that SABOT Publications M1A1 SA in Iraqi Service is a book that comes Highly Recommended!

I would like to SABOT Publications for providing a copy of Warmachines No.4 - M1A1 SA In Iraqi Service for this review. You can find this book and many more at the SABOT Publications' website - www.sabotpub.com
Highs: Perfect reference for the Iraqi M1A1 SA Beautifully illustrated profiles and photographs throughout. The added decal set is a HUGE Bonus!
Lows: None
Verdict: An outstanding referencing photo book for the M1A1 SA MBT as seen in service with the Iraqi Forces. Plenty of highly detailed pictures showing specific markings, Added on sheilding and of course amazing weathering!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-947552-
  Suggested Retail: $25.00 US
  Related Link: Sabot Publications
  PUBLISHED: Sep 19, 2017

Our Thanks to SABOT Publications!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2020 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Very good review Todd...it reinforces the high quality that could be seen simply from preview images posted on social media. A fresh approach to a book on the Abrams. The inclusion of the decals is stellar! Hopefully Sabot Publications continues that trend with future books...like a Sheridan book...I need some Operation Just Cause M551A1 decals!
SEP 19, 2017 - 04:14 AM
Thank Jason! To be honest, it is almost impossible to give a "picture book" a poor rating. These books are pure inspiration for me! The decals are simply awesome! Especially since I have to probably buy and Abrams kit at the next show this week now! LOL I am sure SABOT will delve into the Sheridan world at some point, I know there are too many fans out there not too. And it would be outstanding to provide makings in the future as well!
SEP 19, 2017 - 04:30 AM
The Iraqis lost a hundred Abrams over that period? Ouch. Nice shots of the AFVs in-country though.
SEP 20, 2017 - 07:49 AM

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