with Super Decals for 5 versions
For first look review of this kit, see: http://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14599
Since this kit is a re-issue of several prior offerings, this build may be a trip down memory lane for anyone who built an M60A1 or M60A3 from Esci, Revell or Italeri over the last thirty years.
On to the build:
Steps 1 - 6 (the undercarriage)
As with most tracked vehicle kits, initial assembly is of the suspension and road wheels. Unlike recent offerings from other manufacturers, the rocker arms are single piece parts inserted with a slot ensuring all the wheels are level.
The tedious task of wheel assembly occurs here. .
Sanding the seam lines on each wheel was time consuming. In fact, it seemed like every part needed seam line clean-up.
In step 4, the rear plate is assembled and attached to the hull. Since the upper 2 hinges (Part 57B) attach to the top part, I left these off until the top was attached. Assembly and attachment of the link and length tracks went relatively smoothly.
Steps 7 - 10 (the upper hull)
These steps highlight the evolution of Patton tank kits issued from the 1970's to the kits being manufactured now. The early kits generally have all of the storage lockers and braces molded into the top hull piece. Current production have each storage locker assembled as a mini component before attaching and the braces attached separately some requiring assembly of a few small detail parts. Being a re-issue of a kit from the 1990's, the storage lockers without lids are molded onto the hull top, but the lids are attached separately. The handles are also separate parts.
The braces are separate. This saves the modeller the task of removing bulky ones from the hull if an after market photo etch set is used.
Following what prior manufacturers have done, the bottom part of both M60A1 kits and M60A3 kits are identical. This means that the air filters are missing on the exhaust tanks. This may not be a problem if you are using an after market detail set. (Note - I found these as extra parts in the Takom M60A1 kit I reviewed, which is a good reminder not to throw away unused parts from your builds.)
Another drawback with this kit is the driver hatch molded closed and all vision periscopes are molded open and solid. Adding a driver will require major surgery with an expected expletive deleted or two along the way.
Steps 11 - 16 (the turret)
Step 11 covers the dreadful turret rear basket assembly. I completed steps 12 and 13 so that the top and bottom of the turret were together before starting on the basket. I did not do this in an earlier Patton tank build which resulted in the brackets not fitting correctly into the four slots. Using patience and care, the basket can be assembled without much frustration. Although not noted in the instructions, I added the vertical mesh first and then placed the bottom piece onto the frame. I find this sequence provides better alignment.
The barrel is of two piece construction consisting of a right and left half. Properly glued and sanded, it depicts a clean but rudimentary rendition of M68E1 105mm rifled barrel. Detailed metal after market barrels are available, or you could dress it up a bit using scratch bits from spare photo etch sheets from the spares box.
The commander's hatch and the loader's hatch can be modeled open or closed, which allows for the addition of after market figures (none are included in the kit.)
Smoke dischargers and the smoke canister storage boxes are included. As mentioned in the first look review, the Spanish M60A3 tanks had different smoke dischargers, so the kit provided ones should not be used if you build this version. The storage boxes were retained. Again, check your references to determine if your build will have jerry cans, spare tracks, searchlight, or the optional deep-wading exhaust, which are all included. My build is the Spanish version, so no kit supplied smoke dischargers were built and attached here. I left off the jerry cans for ease of painting since they will be a different color than the turret. I also delayed attaching the tow cables for the same reason.
Painting and decals :
Painting and application of decals are well detailed in the instructions. Italeri paint numbers as well as FS numbers are provided for color matching. The "Super Decals" supplied are printed by Zanchetti Buccinasco of Milan, Italy for Italeri. They have good registry and do not have much excess around the markings. Silvering is not present if the decals are applied on gloss finish with a decent decal setting solution. They lie flat well.
After painting and decaling the tank for this review, I added a wash and minimal weathering. Before taking it to a show, I still need to add the proper smoke discharges and a figure.
Although a re-issue of a kit from 30 years ago, it still holds up today. I prefer the simpler suspension on this kit over the extremely detailed and high part count suspensions of current kits. Unless you pick the model up and scrutinize the underbelly, this kit is just fine. There is enough detail on the upper hull (separate storage locker handles, braces, etc.) to satisfy most modelers. The molded shut driver's hatch is a detraction, but only if you want to add a driver figure. The one issue, and it is more of an annoyance than a flaw, is the presence of visible seam lines on almost every part. I spent half of my time sanding and filing these away. Most of them were easy, but even the turret handrails had them on both sides, and were very evident if not removed.
In spite of the age of the plastic injection molds used here and the necessary part clean-up, this kit builds into an excellent representation of a M60A3 Patton tank and is Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to MRC for this review kit.
Reviewed by James Spellmire, SoCal AMPS member
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