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M4A1 Kit

Italeri 1/35 M60A3 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2020 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject M60A3 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6582 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $48.00

First Look

M4A1 Kit
M4A1 Kit
M4A1 Kit
M4A1 Kit
M4A1 Kit

The M60 series of main battle tanks began in the late 1950s based upon the lessons learned from the Korean war. Two of the key improvements over the (then) current tank, the M48 Patton, were the changeover to diesel power and upgunning the main turret with the 105mm cannon. Much has been written about the M60 series in US and Israeli service, so I'll keep this more personal. While I was stationed in Berlin in the late 1970s, the M60A3 was the front line tank for US Army Europe and the Berlin Brigade had M60A3s as well. While the armed forces of the US, UK, and France weren't going to deter the Russians or Warsaw Pact should the balloon go up, everyone there was going to make themselves known nonetheless. Mock battles between the British Chieftains and US M60s was the norm in all seasons and since I worked at a facility in the Grunewald Forest, we frequently encountered the combatants on their battlefield as our shuttle bus made its regular commute. One nasty winter, the roads had been plowed and there were six-foot berms on either side of the road as our bus slipped and slid on our way to work. We entered a fog bank and were surprised that the snow berms had grown significantly. Then we saw the 105mm barrels sticking out of the tall berms on either side of the road, and the fog was actually diesel exhaust keeping the infantry sitting in their snowsuits atop the engine decks warm. If that didn't wake us up from the long commute, the ambush further up the road did as a squad of British soldiers opened up on our bus with their heavy machine guns (firing blanks). I presume our sacrifice was helpful as the M60s came along after us and dispatched the muppets. Many of the streets in Berlin were cobblestone, and watching the M60 and M113 drivers move through those tight streets with cars parked on either side was amazing in itself. I'm sure there were a few mishaps, but I never saw one.

So here's a familiar sight for those of us who were modeling when Paul McCartney was in a band called Wings. ESCI/ERTL produced a new-tool 1/35 scale kits of the M60A1 and M60A3 in the early 1990s. Tamiya's 1/35 M60s had already been on the market for over a decade by this time and ESCI/ERTL's contributions to the subject were notable by the absence of holes in the lower hull for the power switch and motorization mounts as well as an alternative to the so-called 'rubberband track' common in those days. These kits brought the link and length type tracks which were plastic for easy painting and assembly, and were easily assembled. In addition, the surfaces of the hull and turret replicated the cast-metal look of the M60 series which really stood out with proper painting and weathering.

The kit is molded in olive green styrene and presented on three parts trees plus lower hull, one tree of gray styrene for the track, and a nylon mesh rectangle for use in the stoage basket. Unlike other armor kits of this generation, ESCI/ERTL spared us the molded-on outlines for pioneering tools, etc. This kit is a simple build that can be tweaked as much as you'd like should your inner Advanced Modeler's Syndrome (AMS) creep into the project. Given that there are a load of aftermarket products made for the various M60 kits 'out there', you have some options. The only thing I would consider is some tissue and white glue to create a cover for the Xenon light. The kit's light never looked right to me and the opaque plate where the clear lens and huge internal reflector would be visible is just not right.

All that said, here were are in 2020 and Italeri has reissued ths kit in their box. What's different (and nice) are the decals for the subjects included in their color profiles:

  • M60A3, C Co, 68th Armor Regt, 8th ID, U.S. Army, REFORGER '82, 'Carbine Fortress', (MERDC Camo)
  • M60A3, Italian Army (OD Green overall)
  • M60A3, Egyptian Army, 2011, (Sand overall)
  • M60A3, Royal Saudi Army, Northern Thunder 2016, (Sand overall)
  • M60A3, 66th Marine Bde, RoC Marine Corps, 2011

This is a good kit for the modeler coming back into the hobby and not quite ready for the hyper-detailed kits from other manufacturers that try to recreate intricate details and end up with a box of really tiny parts. This is also a nice option for a project you can actually complete in a weekend. The kit provides a nice selection of subjects and more can be found in the aftermarket.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!