When it comes to post war armour the M60A1 Patton released by AFV Club
is perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited by modellers. It is worth mentioning that a number of members here on the site are credited by AFV Club
, Brent Sauer, Chris, Hughes, Kurt Laughlin, Jonathan Bernstein and Robert Skipper. The M60 saw three and half decades of service with the US military and in that time took part in many conflict zones, and even saw service in Iraq during Desert Storm.
This release from AFV Club
is packaged in one of their standard sized boxes of a card tray and lid. The contents break down as follows;
10 green sprues
1 clear sprue
2 vinyl rubber tracks
4 vinyl rubber parts
A turned aluminium barrel
2 photo etched sprues
Rubber rings to be used in the wheels
A length of cord
A decal sheet
A box top artwork
An instruction booklet
An examination of the parts that make up this model gives me a very positive impression of the quality of this model by AFV Club
. I have not found any serious issues or for that matter issues that need more than the very basic of modelling skills to overcome. One thing a look over of the parts clearly tells me is that this is not a one off production of the M60 and we can expect many more to come; at least that is my opinion.
My limited knowledge of the M60A1 indicates that the lower hull is accurate in all details. The subtle casting texture is very well represented and while it is obviously over emphasized to make it work in this scale it is a very nice touch of which I approve. A closer look also shows nicely represented casting numbers where needed and that will be greeted with cheer by even the most discerning modeller and their desire to build the most accurate model they can manage. Something that I found of interest is the area where the upper and lower hull meet, it is the first time I can recall ever seeing this area moulded as a single piece with the rest of the lower hull, this aspect really shows how far injection moulded plastic technology has come in a short amount of time.
The amount of work AFV Club
has put into this area of the model looks to easily be a match for some of the detail that Dragon Models put into their models at their height. The parts are numerous and very well moulded, it is the high quality of these moulding that will provide the modeller with the possibility of building the most detailed M60 MBT at this time. The high part count in this area will require that modellers check twice and glue once or mistakes could be made; I will provide a link to a build taking place in the forums by Donald R. Wolozanski where through his abilities and input from members he is building a very good looking model, it is that build which will also help anyone tackling this model to avoid major issues instruction errors.
The suspension units in the form of torsion bars has been well replicated, but I do not believe all of these can be retained as workable units due to the shock absorbers on stations 1, 2 and 6, with that said a little forward thinking by the modeller should allow the model to be accurately displayed on an uneven surface. The wheels supplied with the model include the aluminium ones designed for this offering and the steel ones for later models (another indication of future releases), it is worth noting that the small rubber rings are depicted in the instructions, but that part number is not displayed during assembly. Interestingly the rubber rings do not appear to have been used as poly caps have been in the past, instead they look to lock into a recessed groove where the wheels attach to the suspension arms.
Inside the lower hull is quite a lot of interior detail when it comes to the drivers position and while by no means a full interior it should be good enough for most who wish to show the hatch open, this detail will also be a great starting point for those modellers who want to go further with the interior detail. This all adds up to a very impressive effort by AFV Club
in my books.
The upper hull is very much a multi part affair of 12 main pieces; I again suspect that this has been done to allow for alternate future releases. AFV Club
has again supplied that nice casting texture throughout where needed. The engine deck being tackled in the way it has will allow for some interesting models in the near future as I suspect an engine pack will be released for this model soon and that will provide the ability to show a pack being applied, removed or worked on. There are some holes that need to be drilled in the upper deck, but AFV Club
has not supplied any details on what sized drill bit is needed and the command guide does not show the symbol for drilling. AFV Club
have supplied the option of building the model with a snorkel in place, perhaps a diorama of the tank driving out of the sea onto a beach will appeal?
The tracks for the model are made from vinyl rubber and I can hear the groaning of some modellers already; however it should be remembered that we all have our favourite when it comes to tracks. These tracks are very good as the detail is well represented and there are no ejector marks present, there is a pin that will need to be cut off every so often and totalling 8 pins on a full track run. For those that really cannot accept vinyl rubber tracks there are a number of companies that have released workable injection moulded tracks suitable for this model and possibley a few white metal offerings as well.
The track guards are well designed, but do have a few ejector pin marks that would benefit from being filled even though not easily seen with the tracks in place. The boxes on the track guards have been supplied with separate handles and lids and so could be shown open I believe, but being plastic they will be on the thick side if viewed in an open position; I am sure that the after market manufacturers will address this fairly quickly if they feel there is a market for it.
has again supplied that nice cast detail on the turret and replicated this detail on the undersides of the turret as well. The shape looks good to me, but there are a number of circles on the turret sides, I am lead to believe that these are for a likely future release and represent mounting points for ERA mounting plates; these marks would ideally be removed during the build of this model. The gun mantlet has two options which are the canvas covered one or not, if I say they always had the canvas cover in place I know someone will produce a photograph to prove me wrong, but I believe I am safe to say the canvas cover was in place most of the time. the canvas cover has been supplied in vinyl rubber and will be familiar to any modeller who has tackled one of the AFV Club
The main gun having been supplied as a turned aluminium offering is a big plus in my books as there will be no seam line or mating face to hide. The canvas recoil collar where the barrel meets the mantlet has also been supplied in vinyl rubber and again I approve of this. That barrel has been supplied with the ability to recoil the gun, I have never seen this aspect replicated on any model that has this gimmick but kids will love it. The breach of the gun has a reasonable to good level of detail and the breach block can be depicted open or closed.
The commanders turret is equally as well replicated as the main turret and AFV Club
have tackled this in an unusual way of providing the upper half of the turret in clear plastic and so doing away with the need to add clear parts. This approach will mean that the modeller will have to do some masking of the area both when painting the interior and exterior of this part. The machine gun for the commanderís turret looks good and is also lifted by the addition of a vinyl rubber cover to replicate the canvas waterproofing cover. The photo etch cooling sleeve is supplied as a flat piece of photo etch and I feel it would have been nice to see this supplied as a pre-shaped piece, my reason for this is purely down to its small size that will test many modellers I suspect; however if you get this right it will be a nice touch. The interior of the commanderís turret does have some nice detail present for the breach of the MG. Both of the crew hatches can be displayed open or closed depending on the modellers requirements, but a figure will be required to fill either of these hatches if open due to the lack of interior detail.
The bustle rack at the rear of the turret has been supplied in the form of a plastic frame with photo etch mesh. The result of this should look quite good, but again with the mesh at the rear and sides having to be shaped into a curve it again has the possibility to cause many modellers to swear. This is especially true as I cannot see any marks that clearly identify where exactly these curves need to be replicated; still at this point and only having two pieces of photo etch to complain about indicates just how good this model appears to be.
The searchlight has been very well replicated and if I am honest I think it gives the M60 a purposeful look, I can't explain why I feel that, but it just looks better with it than without. The design of the searchlight looks to have been especially well done, the detail does appear to be a very good match for the reference pictures I have of a version stored at Bovington Tank museum. Another nice inclusion in the area is the power lead from the rear of the light to the roof of the turret.
The instruction booklet is well laid out and follows a logical building process, however some of the stages are a little on the busy side and will require careful observation to avoid issues. I like that AFV Club
has supplied painting instructions during the building process where required as this saves a lot of back and forth by the modeller and removes the need to check colour reference numbers.
has supplied five finishing options for this model, however I cannot vouch for the accuracy of any of them, but they have supplied a little more detail on what they represent in most cases. The finishing options are;
IDF, Sinai, Oct 1973
3rd Battalion, 3rd Armoured Division, 1977
69th Armoured Regiment
United States Marine Corps
The decals themselves do feel to be of a reasonable thickness, but there is quite a lot of excess film present, this film will require the modeller to trim close to the needed part or rely on their chosen application chemicals to hide the film. I suspect there will be a lot of decals released for this model soon as I can see it proving very popular.
This looks to me to be the most complete and best model that AFV Club
has released to date and that is despite how impressed I was with their M109 range. Sure there are a few issues such as the ejector pin marks under the track guards and what I believe will be the difficulty of shaping some of the photo etch; however none of these issues should deter you from purchasing this model as it is very impressive when looked at as a whole. Built from the box or decked out with after market tracks, MG barrel and maybe finishing options this model will give you the possibility of building a stunning model.
Donald R. Wolozanskiís M60A1