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AFV Club M60A2 Starship

After a long wait for a new M60A2, we now have three kits. AFV Club kit adds new parts to its previous M60A1, so there are a lot of extra parts left over.

Molded in olive green, the kit includes clear plastic for vision blocks, light lenses, optics, and the commander’s cupola, two photo-etched frets, a metal gun barrel, string for the tow cables, and flexible vinyl dust covers for the main gun and commander’s machine gun. The tracks are one-piece vinyl runs.

Among the sharply molded parts are a lot of small items. I had to remove a fair amount of flash, but there were only a few ejector-pin marks and they were invisible on the finished model.

Critics complained that the cast texture of AFV Club’s M60A1 hull was too pronounced, but it’s subdued on the new M60A2 turret.

The instructions include detailed color callouts, but many part numbers are wrong or not present at all. Fortunately, most were easily figured out. Also, the instructions are a bit vague in spots, so references were a huge help, especially for determining which parts are appropriate for which marking option. Decals for two MERDC camouflage tanks are provided.

Construction starts with the lower hull; clean out the flash that covers the openings for the torsion bars. A new part is provided to model the M60A2’s extended hull. I hid the join with Mr. Surfacer 500.

The kit provided both aluminum and steel road wheels. The instructions call for only one type, but period photos show both being used. Small vinyl O rings sandwiched between the halves anchor them to the suspension arms.

Flash and minor imperfections on the inner surfaces mar the vinyl tracks. Aftermarket replacements are available. I painted the tracks separately, so I attached the inner halves of the return rollers only to  facilitate track installation.

The kit provides a partial driver’s compartment. Step 8 tells you to drill a hole next to the driver’s hatch; don’t, it is not needed. However, do drill out the four holes for the light brackets.

Step 16 gives two options for fender supports, depending on the infantry phone box used; part C72 is for the phone mounted above the fender, L40 is for the phone on the fender. Photos will help decide which air cleaner to use, the aluminum or armored housing unit. You also have the option of fitting a wading trunk. There are no marks for the bends on PE brackets GA2 and GA3.

Two mantlets — one with heavy cast texture, the other smooth — are included in the kit, but only one is shown in the directions. I used the latter because I could not find photos with texture. A bit of filler eliminated a gap between the turret halves.
The most complicated assembly was the turret stowage racks. I found it easier to glue the PE floor to the bottom sections before adding them to the frames. The end bracket (L46) for the right basket suddenly appears in Step 31. I glued it on the turret first, along with L45 for the left basket. Then I attached the rest of the baskets and added the PE sides; they aren’t scored, so you’ll need to bend them by trial and error.

I chose the summer MERDC scheme; there are pictures of these markings on the Littlefield Collection’s Starship in my primary references, M60A2 Main Battle Tank in Detail, Volume 1 (Sabot, 978-0-9973774-2-2) and Volume 2 (Sabot, ISBN 978-0-9973774-3-9). The scheme was sprayed with Vallejo Model Air colors: interior green (71.010), U.S. dark green (71.016), sand (71.075) and NATO black (71.251).
The well-printed decals went on without silvering, even over the cast texture. However, the underlying colors bled through the decal of the cards on the turret.
I spent 57 hours on AFV Club’s Starship. I recommend it for experienced modelers due to the numerous small parts and the complex turret baskets. It’s a fine model needing only a little stowage and mud to finish it off.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2017 issue.

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