M60A1 w/ERA – Full Build
This is a full build review. For the first look go here:
I started to build this model by assembling the large hull parts first. This is a variation from the kit instructions. My experience is that kit instruction basically assume that the fit of the major parts will be good enough to not require any putty and sanding. For the most part, this was true on this kit but there are always a couple areas where a little work is required so it’s best to build the big hull parts first.
With that done, I followed the kit instructions and assembled the suspension. It’s a pretty straight forward job but the nature of the suspension requires a lot of parts to get it right. Takom did a great job of capturing the look of the suspension and still having assembly be straight forward. I left the roadwheels off at this time because I’m going to be making the tank ‘Wicked Bitch’ which has a really cool MERDC paint scheme. So it’s much easier to paint without the road wheels in the way.
The next steps were to assemble the fenders. These can and should be built as separate assemblies. Doing this makes it possible to fill the holes on the bottom since they’ll be visible when mounted otherwise.
With the fenders done, I assembled the rest of the hull parts. Very straight forward. I left off the ERA since they are all tan in color and I thought it would be easier to paint the MERDC scheme on the hull and then mount the ERA after painting. Later in this article you’ll see that I will figure out this is a mistake and I glued them in place before painting.
Now I turned to the turret. Most of the assembly is straight forward. The barrel was easy to clean up so no aftermarket barrel is needed.
The only area that’s a bit complicated is the turret basket. Here you have to curve the photoetch screen around the jig provided in the kit. But all photoetch tends to have memory and not want to hold shape. So some manual manipulation is also required. If you’re planning to load up your model with lots of stowage, you can sacrifice a little perfection here since it won’t be seen. Otherwise, plan to send some time on this step.
Now I assembled the commander’s cupola. No issues here and the detail is really good.
The last step is to assemble the ERA. The frame details are really nice and the fit is great.
It was at this point that I realized I needed to glue the ERA in place even though it will add some hassles to the painting steps. Once in place, I was super excited to notice that you can still see a lot of the really nice frames for the ERA, giving the model a really detailed look.
One reason I decided to mount the ERA is that I’m going to add a ton of stowage. So it became immediately clear that I’d needed the model as complete as possible to get the stowage on and strapped down. I used a great set from Legend Productions. It came out for the old Academy kit but I found that with just a little trimming, the parts fit fine on the Takom model.
I started the painting process first by putting flat black on the road wheels and return rollers. Then I airbrushed the various colors of the stowage. After that, I gave the model a general base color of Tamiya Flat Earth. This was followed by a panel fade of Vallejo U.S. Desert Armor Tan and then a second panel fade using Model Master sand. I tried to do these panel faded only in the areas that will end up tan.
Once dry, I went back with Tamiya Flat Earth to tighten up the camo lines for the brown color. Then I used some thinned Tamiya Buff to add a fade to the brown. This was followed up by a drybrush using Model Master Afrika Dunkelgrau. The remaining MERDC colors were applied using Tamiya Dark Yellow and Flat Black.
Then I applied a gloss coat where the marking go and applied them. They laid down great. Then the model got an overall flat coat. Now it was time for the long process of touching up the overspray on the stowage, drybrushing it, and painting in the details. No way around this but the result is worth it.
Again, I applied a flat coat. Next, I used some thinned Raw Umber oil paint for a wash. Then I added some dry pigments to simulate dust build up. I noted in the photo references that the tanks weren’t too heavily covered in dust so I went a little easy on the pigments. Finally, I drybrushed the mole using flat black. This is to simulate the wear and scraping that typically occurs so I went heavier around the more heavily trafficked areas.
Finally, I turned to the tracks. Normally I address these earlier in this build but I tried something different this time. I didn’t paint them! I got to thinking that since the real ones are black and the kit gives you nice vinyl tracks in black, why bother. Instead I drybrushed the end connectors and guide horns in Model Master Raw Sienna and then in Model Master Metalizer Aluminum. Once dry I liberally applied some dry pigments and rubbed them off for the look you see in the photo.
Personally, I’m happy with the results. These tracks are a bit different than the typical flexible in that the attachment is done using a pin pushed through tiny holes in the ends of the last links. The look is perfect. Thankfully, the length is just right so you get a nice tension around the suspension. Well done Takom.
So that wrapped up the model build. I finished the project with a very simple base since the tank looks really cool and I saw no reason to do anything elaborate when I really wanted to show off the tank.
As tanks go, the M60A1 w/ERA is a relatively complex one due to the exposed suspension and the ERA. Thankfully, Takom has made it much easier to build by really doing a great job on the engineering of this kit.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by James Wechsler
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