AFV Club NATO M68/L7 105MM Tank Ammunition
AFV Club's NATO M68/L7 105MM Tank Ammunition set is a real gem and should enhance any kit using it. The set consists of 12 brass cartridges, 12 projectiles comprised of six different ammunition types, a small PE fret with 12 bases and a ring, and decals for the color bands and markings on the projectiles, with small bags and foam padding protecting the different parts from damage. The cardboard backing depicts color drawings of the ammunition above an M60A3 105MM gun tank.
The back side of the package contains the simple instructions, depicting the projectile mated to the cartridge, calling out the projectile colors, base, color band, and markings. Please note that there is no apparent difference between the M728 and the M392; the only difference according to the references I used are the markings on the projectiles, which in kit form are too small for me to read, even with Optivisors.
The ammunition consists of 2 x M416, WP-T (White Phosphorous-Tracer)
2 x M494, APERS-T (Anti-personnel-Tracer)
2 x M728 APDS-T (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot-Tracer)
1 x M774 APFSDS-T (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer)
3 x M456A2 HEAT-T (High Explosive Anti-Tank-Tracer)
According to the directions, there are three different types of cartridges - A (7), B (3), and C (2). The A and C cartridges (below) look exactly alike to me, even through Optivisors, but the three B cartridges (for the M456A2 above) had larger openings for the projectile and a narrower neck.
I do not have a great many references on modern U.S. Army ammunition or tanks, but in R.P. Hunnicutt's PATTON: A History of the American Main Battle Tank, Volume 1, copyright 1984 and 2015, on page 453 "105mm Guns T254, M68(T254E2), and M68E1", all but the M774 and M728 are listed as used by 105mm Gun Tank T95E5(T254 Gun), 105mm Gun Tanks M60, M60A1, and M60A3 in Mounts M116 and M140(M68 and M68E1 guns), 105mm Gun Tanks M48A1E1 and M48A5 in modified M87 Mounts (M68 Gun). A note at the bottom of that page explains that the M68 is based on the British 105mm X15E8 or L7 cannon.
The bases have lettering on them, but it is too small for me to read, even with an Optivisor. However, there is a source ...
The more observant among you will notice a thirteenth disk in the lower right corner - that is actually a ring that goes around the M774 projectile, just below the tip. Its base is immediately to the left.
While working on this review, I found the web site bulletpicker.com, which has an extensive library list of sources, although some listed sites are apparently no longer available, such as Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The web site covers fillers, ordnance, and fuzes, and on some pages there are links to other sources, such as TM 43-0001-28, Army Ammunition Data Sheets, from which extracts are derived. The TM provides black and white line drawings of the projectile, the entire round, to include easy-to-read markings on the base plate and projectile, and in most cases, a cut-away drawing of the round. Using the lengths given in the TM and dividing by 35, the kit rounds are all well within an acceptable margin of error.
The AFV Club instructions call for Flat Black, Olive Drab, and Pale Green for the projectiles, and lists four major brands: GSI Creos (Hobby Color, Mr. Color, or Mr. Color Spray); Humbrol; Revell; and Lifecolor. I primed all the projectiles with Vallejo Primer Black, followed by Tamiya Flat Black XF-1 for the M728, M774, M456A2, and M392; Lifecolor UA 223 OD Faded Type 1 for the M416's pale green; and Lifecolor UA 219 Olive Drab for the M494's Olive Drab.
After allowing the paint to dry overnight, I used CA glue to attach the projectiles and bases to their respective cartridges. After that had dried, I applied the decal bands and markings to the projectiles.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photos; my point and shoot camera's macro setting is not good enough to actually make out the markings, and even the bands are difficult to make out. I used Micro-Set and Micro-Sol to apply the decals. The most difficult part of that was applying the bands around the projectiles, and involved some harsh language, such as fiddlesticks and golly gee whiz. In the end, I prevailed, and set them aside to dry.
I enjoyed building this set of 105mm Tank Ammunition, especially since it forced me to look elsewhere, in this case, the Internet, to find useful and accurate references, especially the line drawings. The only real challenge was applying the small decals, especially the color bands around the projectiles. If you are looking for an accurate set of 105mm ammunition, this is a very well done kit. Now, if I can just figure out how to get an M60A3 kit into the house without SWMBO spotting it ....
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to AFV Club for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
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