A variant of the M60 main battle tank featuring a low-profile turret, a 152mm main gun capable of firing conventional rounds, and the MGM-51 Shillelagh anti-tank missile system, the M60A2 was queued up as an interim solution while the MBT-70 was under development. Despite its advanced technology, the “Starship” did not live up to expectations and was eventually phased out of active duty units by 1981.
Molded in olive green plastic with no clear parts, the kit features crisp detail throughout, although some deep scratches or imperfections were found on front fenders and sponsons. No interior detail is provided, although options for posing hatches in the open position allows for addition of aftermarket or scratchbuilt detail. Absence of clear parts is disappointing – periscope lenses, sight lenses, cupola windows, and headlights had to be painted to simulate glass. A length of braided thread is provided to replicate the tow cables. Link and length tracks are provided, a nice relief from the typical “rubber band” tracks found in many earlier kits. A single fret of PE detail is provided for bustle rack mesh and small turret hardware. A small decal sheet for a tank from an unspecified unit is also provided.
Seams required fill between upper and lower sections of lower hull. Also, a resulting gap in the aft section of the lower hull between drive sprockets needed to be filled. There was no mention in the instructions of placement for parts H3 and H4 adjacent to the transmission covers, so I needed to reference a finished M48A3 kit and personal reference photos of an M60 standing watch over a local VFW post. Lack of precision in locating mating features between hull parts was also surprising, resulting in extra care and alignment of other adjacent parts before committing to cement. The upper hull had some unused raised locating marks and unexplained abrasions that had to be removed, filled and smoothed.
Engineering and fit of road wheel arms and axles make it very difficult to establish proper alignment of road wheels – some cock inwards at the front. Road wheel suspension struts do not span the full distance from hull to attach points on road wheel axle housings. Link and length tracks fit pretty well with minimal fuss or adjustment.
Turret basic assembly was pretty clean. The searchlight had ejector pin marks and seam to fill, and the finished light cocked inward toward turret. The bustle rack PE fit fairly well and should be put in as the rack is assembled to avoid the need to trim the parts to fit – this was not clear in the instructions. PE application is a separate page from the main instruction folio and is not referenced at the assembly point of the racks.
Painting and Finishing
Instructions feature a MERDC Winter Verdant camouflage scheme, but some of the color callouts appear to be inaccurate when compared with online references. During research of colors and available paints, the more eye-catching Desert Red MERDC scheme was discovered and substituted.
Gray primer was applied to the completed hull and turret to provide tooth for the acrylics and to highlight any surface finish flaws. It was followed by Tamiya Flat Brown base/preshade. Tamiya Desert Yellow was then airbrushed over the Brown preshade. Camo demarcation lines were then drawn with colored pencil. Tamiya NATO Brown, Buff and Vallejo Model Air NATO Black elements were brush painted. Widows and lenses were built up of layers of Gunship Gray, Clear Blue, thinned Clear Yellow and Future. Tracks were painted NATO Black, and then track links were drybrushed with Tamiya Metallic Grey and Life Color Dark Rust.
Conclusion and Recommendation
This was certainly a big project from both an assembly and finishing perspective, with a number of inherent challenges, but yielding eye-catching results. Based on the overall part count and challenges posed by the engineering and instructions, as well as the complex color scheme, this kit is RECOMMENDED for experienced armor modelers or intermediate modelers looking to stretch their skills.
Thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for the review sample and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to provide this review.