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Takom 1/72 scale M60A1 w/ERA and M60A3 1+1 plastic model kit review

A nicely detailed tank for experienced modelers
Kit:5022 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$39.99
Takom (Sample courtesy of manufacturer)
Highly detailed; link-and-length tracks
Lack of painting instructions; location marks for the turret sides are hard to see
Injection-molded plastic (gray); 476 parts (1 wire, 41 photo-etched metal); decals
The M60 tank first went into service in 1960 and became the U.S. Marines’ main battle tank in 1963. Over 15,000 were built. The first combat use of the M60 tank designated the Magach 6, was by the Israelis in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. The US retired the M60 from mainline service after Operation Desert Storm, but the National Guard continued use until 1997. The M60 was also sold to many foreign countries.

Well represented by ESCI in the late 1980s and Italeri in the 2000s, Takom is taking a swing at this subject with its brand new 1/72 scale M60A1 with ERA and M60A3 1+1 double kit. Taking advantage of modern molding techniques, it features excellent surface detail and delicately molded parts. Tracks are styrene link-and-length, and a small photo-etched metal (PE) fret provides mesh for the turret baskets as well as several small details for the hulls and turrets.

Despite the small instruction booklet, it has good clear assembly diagrams. The kit provides two marking options for each tank: an M60A1 in overall desert tan of the 3rd Platoon Alpha Co. 8th Tank Battalion, and a two-color camouflaged vehicle of the 1st Platoon, Charlie Co., 3rd Tank Battalion. For the M60A3s, one is in overall Forest Green, with the other one in four-color NATO camouflage. Neither unit is named, and sadly, the painting guides are very small. Also, no paint colors or brands are called out anywhere in the instructions.

I built the kits in four main subassemblies. The lower hull (leaving off the running gear until the main painting was complete), the upper hull, the main turret, and the commander’s turret. While building the lower hull, I left all of the suspension arms loose so I could adjust them later when adding the tracks.

Next, I added the upper-hull details. With both assembly diagrams for the two vehicles next to each other, I often found myself looking at the wrong diagram. While there aren’t many large differences, there are some smaller ones, and you need to pay close attention to what you are doing. I added the rear inner fender sides (parts A28 and A29) to the upper hull, which made installing the upper hull later a bit tricky, but it can be done.

Perhaps the most challenging builds are the turrets. You are instructed to remove some lightly raised locators to help add the parts to the turret, depending on which version you are building. My 72-year-old eyes found it very difficult to see these and to distinguish between the ones that were to be removed and those to be kept. This also becomes an issue when adding the details to the turret, as there is no definitive location for many of the parts. Maybe I am just getting too old to build 1/72 armor (nah!).

Building the turret basket was a bit fiddly, especially when my parts-eating carpet swallowed one of the end pieces. I wound up scratchbuilding a replacement from thin styrene strip and stretched sprue formed around a piece of brass tubing of the appropriate size. I especially liked the moldings of the mantlet covers for the main and commander’s turrets.

I added the running gear and tracks, which fit excellently. Also, note that you get plenty of extra single links. After painting, it was time for the extremely thin decals; a couple of them fractured while moving them into place. The decals responded well to Micro Set and Sol. Finally, I attached the upper and lower hulls, and small details, like the lights and antennas, were painted with a fine brush.

Overall, the Takom 1/72 scale M60A1 with ERA and M60A3 1+1 plastic model kit is nicely detailed and both tanks went together well. The large parts count makes it more suited for a modeler with experience. If you’re looking for your next tank build and like tiny armor, I recommend checking out this kit!
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