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AFV Club M60A1 Patton


The M60A1 was the first major revision to the M60 Patton, with a new turret design that created a different profile for the tank. The M60A1 was used extensively by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps after 1963, as well as the Israeli army during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The tank remains in wide use around the world.

AFV Club's new-tool M60A1 is welcome and long overdue, as the other available kits date to the 1970s. Cleanly molded in dark olive plastic, this deluxe kit includes a turned-metal gun barrel, detailed driver's compartment, fording trunk, vinyl mantlet covers, searchlight, and photoetched-metal detail parts (from Voyager). Numerous unused parts may foretell future versions.

I started construction with the suspension. The suspension arms are molded with full-length torsion bars, some of which needed a bit of sanding. The two-part hull mountings create a tight fit. Make sure you install them correctly by aligning the key ends in their locating holes. You will find the assembled arms are a bit movable.

The bogie wheels assemble with a front and back wheel sandwiching a vinyl washer. The bogies used for this kit are the aluminum version, but there is a second set included that represents the succeeding steel version. The latter goes unused and may be another sign of future releases. Take care when installing the wheels — they are a tight fit, and the axles are very flexible and fragile.

AFV Club includes a gimmicky recoiling-gun option, and this complicates assembly. The instructions are not clear regarding the main gun's breech. I was stumped until I figured out parts E43/44 need to be assembled around the barrel, not separately as the instructions show.

The main turret parts went together without a problem. You have a choice for the main gun and machine gun mantlets. Parts are provided in plastic for the uncovered version, and vinyl parts are included for canvas dust covers. Using the vinyl covers will prevent movement of the mantlets.

The turret basket is built up from plastic and photoetched-metal parts. I found it challenging, as the plastic parts are thin and fragile. I could have used an extra set of hands to help get everything aligned!

Be prepared to spend some time building the engine deck: All of the hatches and grab handles are separate parts! There are a few errors in the instructions in this area, too. The vertical engine door hinges are not numbered; they are D22/D23. Locations are reversed for parts C91 and C92.

The plastic surface is textured rather heavily, particularly on the hatches and hull front, but it looks OK under a coat of paint.

I painted my Patton with Ammo of Mig Jimenez 1973 Sinai gray. The decals performed very well.

The kit scales out right on the money according to published dimensions. My primary reference was Patton: A History of the American Main Battle Tank, by R.P. Hunnicutt (Presidio, ISBN 978-0-89141-230-4).

I completed my Patton in 40 hours and was pleased with the finished model. While the high parts count might be beyond beginners, experienced modelers will be able to knock out an impressive model. I highly recommend AFV Club’s new Patton, especially if you like modern tanks.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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