M60A1 US Army Main Battle Tank
For first look review of this kit, see: http://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14599
On to the build:
Steps 1 - 6 (the undercarriage)
As with most tracked vehicle kits, initial assembly is of the suspension and road wheels. However, before any part is glued, the first thing needed is to fill in four slots in the hull tub. This tells you immediately that this kit is serious about details!
One of the fours slots filled.
Taking a closer look, prototypical casting numbers appear throughout the kit, even on the bottom of the hull.
Everything is straight forward adding all of the underside rings, and brackets in Steps 1 and 2 (right side) and Steps 3 and 4 (left side.) All of the suspension arms are added in Step 5. Make sure that you use the correct mounting rings (parts A19 and A20) on each arm. They are very similar looking, and the part number appears only once on the sprue. If not, you may end up with a wheel not aligned right.
Note bottom left road wheel not straight because part A19 was used instead of A20. It was not easy to fix this.
Step 6 covers the tedious wheel assemblies for fourteen road wheels as well as the sprocket wheels.
Steps 7 - 14 (upper hull and tracks)
Headlights, driver hatch and small details are added in step 7. I did not add the clear headlight lenses at this stage to avoid masking them when painting. Also, I generally dislike masking the vision ports, so I made all of them closed.
The barrel lock is added in Step 8. If you are going to model the tank in transportation mode, you will need to add the ring lock later once the turret is finished and attached.
The top of the hull is added in step nine.
Note - I recommend you NOT add parts G65 and G71 at this time to avoid misalignment later when the fenders are added in Step 13.
At this stage I painted the undercarriage before adding the tracks in Step 10. The tracks are the "rubber band" type, but uses a metal pin inserted through interconnecting joints to hold them together.
This is an easy and effective way to join them, and the tracks had enough flexibility to stretch over the wheels and sprocket for a nice tight fit.
The right and left side fenders with tool boxes and brackets are assembled in Steps 11 and 12.
Because of the small space between the top of the tracks and the bottom of the finders, I painted these parts before the fenders were attached in step 13.
Headlight guards are added in Step 14 to complete the hull assembly.
Steps 15 - 22 (turret assembly)
Initial work on the turret includes both drilling holes and sanding down assembly point markers for brackets that would be added if this was a M60A1 RISE. Vision ports, loader's hatch, and other details are added in Steps 15 and 16. Tow cables and photo etch brackets are added in step 17. The brackets are small straight strips without bending lines, so it was a small challenge for me to get all twelve bent correctly. I did not attach the tow cables at this stage for ease of painting.
The commander's cupola is assembled in Step 18. An option to have the machine gun with or without canvas cover is provided. The hatch may be open or closed, and the underside of the hatch has detail. But no interior is provided. Unless a figure is added, the hatch should be closed.
The turret rear stowage basket is assembled in Step 19. This is probably the most difficult assembly in any M60 kit, but Takom makes it relatively easy. Photo etch is provided for the wire basket instead of the usual mesh that needs to be cut to shape. A form is also provided to bend the vertical part of the basket to the correct shape.
The basket was then assembled with relative ease. Attaching to the turret was no more difficult than doing so in other M60 kits.
It should be noted that the holes drilled in Step 15 are for the attachment of jerry cans. Actual photos of the version I decided on did not have jerry cans attached on the turret, so I filled them with putty.
Steps 20 and 21 cover the assembly and attachment of the main gun barrel and mantlet. Some clean up is required on the barrel, but not enough to drive you to an aftermarket turned metal barrel.
Step 22 covers assembly of the light attached to the gun mantlet. The last diagram shows attachment of the light onto the mantlet and then attachment of the turret to the hull. Since this is attached at three points on delicate brackets, I waited until after base painting was finished before attaching it.
Painting and decals
Decals and painting instructions are provided for five different vehicles. The first is of a US tank stationed in Korea in 1971, three others are US tanks stationed in Germany in 1976, and the last is an Iranian Patton tank from 1980.
A while ago when searching the internet, I came across several sites about the US Army base in Schweinfurt, Germany that contained several color photos of vehicles used during the 1970's . A few sites had pictures of vehicles on display during the base open house in 1975. To my surprise, the M60A1 on display was the exact tank depicted as the second option by Takom; and several color photos from various angles were posted. The decision of which decal option to choose became a no brainer.
The painting guide in the instructions refer only to Ammo by MIG paints, a brand that I do not have a single bottle of. I therefore downloaded and printed photos of the real tank for reference to mix and match the various colors. Once the basic scheme was applied, I added the headlight lenses and attached the searchlight and tow cables. I then Future coated the areas where the decals would be and applied them using Micro Sol and Micro Set. They all lay flat with no silvering.
Since the tank will eventually be based as seen at the 1975 base open house, only a few light washes and pigments were applied to finish the weathering here.
I found this kit to be a bit more challenging than previous Takom kits I have built. The parts count seemed higher; and the instructions were at times a bit difficult to follow. Also, the version I built is supposed to have the bracket on the right rear corner of the turret and a placard on the back of the stowage basket. Although no placard is provided, Takom does provide the decal that goes on it! Both parts can easily be scratch built or sourced from the spares bin.
When all is done, the kit builds into a well detailed model of a M60A1 from the 1970's.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by James Spellmire
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