Takom M60A1 with ERA and M9 Bulldozer
Left hand kit is the M60A3 with M9 Bulldozer, and on the right is the review kit - size matters!
What's in the box?
The kit box is large - and it needs to be, to hold the individually bagged and nicely molded bathtub-style lower hull, the 15 sprues, two rubber band tracks and two steel pins, photo-etch sheet, decal sheet, copper wire for tow cables, and 24 page instruction manual. The lower hull and 13 of the sprues are molded in a medium gray plastic, while one sprue for periscopes and headlights is clear. Four of the sprues are two sets of two kinds of road wheels, but no information on the difference, so some research will be needed to figure out which is correct.
Previous reviews and builds of related kits:
James Wechsler did a very detailed and excellent First Look Review, with a lot of input from a USMC tanker who served on the M60A1 with ERA, and then a Full Build back in November 2018. The First Look can be found here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?ID=14245 and the Full Build here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?ID=14282
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to build the M60A3 with M9 Bulldozer in April/May 2021. The First Look is here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14741 and the Full Build here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14765
I highly recommend you look at James' reviews for some great photos of the real thing, as well as his comments on the kit parts and the build, as I certainly will before starting my build.
Takom provides a brief history of the M60A1 development on the instruction manual's front cover, most of which mirrored what I wrote in the M60A3 First Look. New information for this kit addresses the RISE (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment), which were rebuilt M60A1's with added passive "starlight" scopes for the driver, gunner, and commander, eliminating the need for the bulky infrared projector above the main gun. Other improvements included the Continental AVDS-1790-2C engine, which helped to boost engine power. A battery of smoke dischargers was also added to either side of the turret, like the setup on the Chieftain tank. These vehicles were quickly supplied to frontline units overseas, such as in Germany, by early 1979.
Deployed to Operation Desert Shield in 1990, the United States Marine Corps' main battle tank was retrofitted with explosive reactive armor (ERA) tiles to further increase crew protection. During Operation Desert Storm, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force fielded 210 M60A1s to support the liberation of Kuwait, destroying over 100 Iraqi T-55/62/72 and Type 69-II tanks (and losing only one to anti-tank mines).
The Instruction Booklet and sample pages
The first step is (almost) always the suspension
Keep on plowin'
ERA saves lives
The sprues and separate parts
Nicely molded lower hull
Side view of the lower hull
Slide molded main gun barrel, mantlet with canvas cover, jig for turret stowage rack mesh
Sprue J with the ERA sections and attachment parts - all very small and fragile
Sprue N - turret stowage rack rails and frame, commander's cupola and machine gun, fuel cans
Sprue F - upper hull, tool and storage boxes for fenders
Sprue M - upper and lower turret halves, commander's cupola and hatch, loader's hatch, optional fording snorkel
Sprue R x 2 - one of the options for road wheels and return rollers
Sprue A x 2 - the other option for road wheels and return rollers, as well as suspension arms, sprockets, final drives
Sprue W - bulldozer blade and hydraulic system parts
Sprue U - bulldozer blade sections and more hydraulic system parts
Sprue G - left and right fenders, driver's hatch, rear engine doors, more bulldozer blade parts
Sprue K - small ERA plates and attachment points, tow cable heads, hose
Small Sprue R - ERA plate and attachment points
Sprue H - clear parts for periscopes and headlights
Nicely molded rubber band tracks
PE mesh for stowage rack, wire for tow cables, and steel pins to join the tracks
Decal sheet with markings for four USMC M60A1 during Operation Desert Storm
Painting and decal placement guides for four USMC M60A1 tanks
This is another excellent kit from Takom. The instructions are clear and well illustrated. Parts are crisply molded with a minimum of knockout holes, mostly where they won't be seen or need to be filled. The tracks are a joy to work with, since there is no need for heated flat blades, CA, staples, or multiple parts - just one steel pin per track! There are no figures or interior detail included, even though hatches can be posed open, but there are several aftermarket kits available for anyone who desires either.
Based on my experience with the M60A3 with the M9 Bulldozer blade, the only difficulty I had in that build was mounting the bulldozer blade to the many attachment points on the hydraulic lifting arms, so I hope to avoid those problems in this build.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS