Published on
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Academy Models - Website: Visit Site
Box Top


I rarely build 1/72 armor now, but this is a kit of the M60A1, which I commanded while serving in the US Army. I never operated this version, but it will add another variant to my collection. Academy has produced a 1/72 version of their previous 1/35 USMC M60A1 MBT as deployed by the USMC in DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM in 1990/91. The sprues are arranged differently than their 1/35 version of the same vehicle. It is very nicely detailed, there was no flash, mold seams were minimal and easily removed as the plastic is easy to sand. Parts fit, with a few exceptions, such as the road wheel arms to the underside of the hull, is excellent and very little filling was required. Filling large gaps in the lower hull above the final drives and the underside of the fender mounted sponson boxes (see photo #15) was necessary. After completing the build I determined I could have skipped filling the underside of the sponson boxes as the gap above the tracks, in this scale, hides the holes when viewed without a flashlight and magnifying glass!


Fine detail, minimum of tiny parts, good fit.


It’s 1/72! If you like building 1/72 armor, this is an excellent kit, but the small parts, such as the lifting rings, were difficult for me to handle. The lifting point at the front left of the upper hull left my tweezers and I haven’t yet located it. Decal sheet provides only one set of “USMC/Vehicle Serial #” for side of sponson boxes (See photo #19). Two are required for relevant version.

The Build

I generally followed the steps listed in the instructions with pauses to paint the completed lower hull before adding the wheels and tracks, and for painting the completed basic turret before adding the reactive armor sections. This process did require some paint removal from gluing surfaces. I painted the road wheels and support rollers on the sprue then touched them up after removal and cleanup. I used a black Gundam Marker to color the sidewalls on the road wheels and support rollers, and I also later used the same paint marker for the vision blocks on the commander’s cupola and for the IR headlights. The Gundam Markers have a fine tip and the paint flows smoothly. The reactive armor sections were also painted on the sprue with NATO green to give some “color” and interest to the rather bland camouflage. Academy requires that you drill through several holes in the turret and hull from the inside specific to this version of the M60A1. I missed at least one hole for the reactive armor on the upper glacis. Additionally, there are several dimples on the outside of the turret I missed that you may want to fill (see photo #16). These dimples are for mounting the infantry rails and other items located on an M60A1 without the reactive armor.

I constructed the lower hull per the instructions. Filler putty and some sanding were required where the read plate joined the lower hull (see photo #12). A light sanding took care of the joint between the upper and lower hull sides. The road wheel axle housings are horizontally split and keyed making for a solid connection, but there are gaps at the joints. The joints are not easily viewed if you do not pick up the kit, so I did not fill them. Academy added bolt heads to the driver’s escape hatch on the bottom of the hull. I removed them with a light sanding. They have added strap loops on the two rear fenders which are not present on later M60-series vehicles. I just left them. After painting the lower hull, I added the painted road wheels, idler, return rollers and sprockets. I found the axles for the support rollers to be too long, so I drilled the holes in the hull mounts all the way through the hull side. I used Testors Liquid Cement, in the black squeeze bottle, to allow time to adjust the support rollers so that they were in-line with the idler wheel and the sprocket. I hand painted the tracks on the sprue using Mission Model “Cold Rolled Steel”, MMM-002, for the metal parts and “Tire Black”, MMP-040, for the rubber portions. I had to sand off the paint from the gluing surfaces as I assembled the tracks. I was lucky since the Testors Liquid Glue in the black squeeze bottle I used to secure the sprockets in place was not fully cured there was enough “play” to allow me to fit the link-and-length track sections. I then touched up the paint where the track wrapped around the idler and sprocket. The lower hull was now complete except for mounting the towing pintle until final assembly.

After drilling the appropriate holes in the upper turret part I glued on the lower turret section and the gun manlet. The manlet includes the cover molded in place. A nice touch from Academy. Minimal filling and sanded was required at the join between the turret halves. I added the bustle rack and the three-part gun tube. I then painted the turret. After the paint had cured I added remaining items to the turret. These parts had been painted on the sprue. The final parts for the turret were the reactive armor plates. These parts were a bit tedious to line up the pins with the holes previously drilled through the turret sides. The loader’s hatch can be poised open or closed. I glued it closed. I regret that I do not recall if there is detail on the inside of the hatch. The cupola was assembled per instructions, leaving off the machinegun barrel until final construction.

Final construction consisted of installing the cupola onto the turret then the turret was installed on the hull. I had to fill the notches in the hull opening for the turret to easily add the turret. The fit was very tight and to avoid knocking off the reactive armor I left the turret rotated over the side. I then added the Cal. 50 barrel and the towing pintle.

Final detail painting consisted of painting the headlights, silver for the service drive lights and black for the IR drive lights; black for the cupola vision blocks, cupola sight glass and the gunners primary sight glass. The headlight and taillight structures were painted NATO Green. I did not try to paint the lenses on the taillights. The mantlet covers for the main gun and the commander’s machinegun could be painted a different shade of sand per reference photos. I decided to use a wash to achieve the difference. I use Vallejo Model Wash for Yellow Vehicles, Dark Yellow #76-500 for a pin wash on both the sand yellow and the NATO Green. On the sand yellow paint the wash represented shadows and made details more visible. Over the NATO Green on the reactive armor, it represents the dust that gathers in the crevices and around the bolt heads. Vallejo Pigments #73103, Dark Yellow was used on the lower hull and suspension and on the tracks to represent dust. It is hard to see against the sand yellow paint, but when viewed up close it adds some texture like a layer of dust. Lifecolor Tensocrom #TSC 207, Oil was used to represent diesel fuel split around the fuel filler caps. Finally, black pastel powder was added to the rear grill doors to represent the diesel engine exhaust stains so typical on the M60A1.


Highly recommend this kit for anyone wanting a 1/72 version of the USMC M60A1 as used during DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.