Aurora was one of the pioneers of plastic modeling. Their large series of standardized 1/48 scale models of aircraft and armor evolved from toy models into models as miniature prototypes that we expect today. However, Auroraís star dimmed and some of their models were issued under the K&B logo. Eventually Aurora died. Some of their molds were acquired and reissued by other companies. Monogramís 1/48 F-111, A-7, Fokker D.VII, Sopwith Camel and Se-5a are Aurora models. It was reported that Monogram bought the lionís share of the Aurora tooling but that most molds were destroyed in a train wreck in the late 1970s. Aurora has never been considered in the same league as Tamiya, but some of their 1/48 armor produced in the 1960s is as good, if not better, than what Tamiya released at that time . Their PzKfw V Panther, PzKfw VI Tiger II, IS-3 (or T-10 ?) Stalin, and M-46 Patton are considered toys in need of complete rebuilding. Auroraís MBT-70 will never be acclaimed as a benchmark of accuracy nor one of the better kits. But it is considered one of the cooler tanks Aurora gave the modeling world! Your reviewer offers mainly photographs and defers to you, as to whether that still holds true.
The MBT-70 / KPz 70 - Kampfpanzer 70 was a 1960s joint German - U.S.project to develop a new main battle tank using a number of advanced design features. It used a kneeling suspension, housed the entire crew in the turret, and the American version incorporated a gun-fired missile, the American XM-150 auto-loading stabilized 152 mm gun/launcher system. Germany favored their Rheinmetall 120 mm L/44 gun, then under development. Secondary armament for both consisted of a remote-controlled 20 mm cannon that popped up from a hatch behind the driver's cupola for anti-aircraft use, and a 7.62 mm machine gun mounted coaxial alongside the main gun. The use of an auto-loader for both versions allowed the crew to be reduced to three: commander, gunner and driver.
By the late 1960s the project was well over budget and the Germans withdrew from the effort, developing their Leopard 2 instead. Development continued in the US, but the per-unit cost had risen five times, and in 1971 Congress overrode the Army's objections and the MBT-70's funding was redirected to develop M1 Abrams.
Aurora issued this model in two phases: the sturdy square box with dramatic box art, and the 1970's small box featuring a photo of the built model. The kit consists of 92 parts of hard dark olive styrene (including four figures), and a pair of vinyl rubber band tracks. The parts vary between sharp and soft molding. Many suffer from molding and ejector marks, some sinkholes, and minor flash. There is no texture on the armor plating. No attempt to simulate any weld seams. Fine grab handles are molded on the turret sides. The tools and other storage are also molded on. There is some hinge detail for access hatches but none for the turret hatches; they open and close via hideous snap-tight fittings. Aurora supplied the both the main armament for both MBT-70 / KPz 70, the American XM-150, and the future German Rheinmetall 120 mm gun. Both are too puny, and both need the muzzle hollowed out. The radio aerial is horribly over sized, as is the bustle rack. The remote-controlled 20 mm cannon is just awful. An interesting feature is that Aurora made the advanced hydropneumatic suspension system to be raised or lowered. The figures are inconsistently scaled and are marred with mold marks. Their detail quality is pictured for you to judge. Donít look to closely. The late 1960's square-box release of Auroraís kits were so shaped to accommodate a vacuform terrain display base.
Decals and painting
Aurora included markings for two tanks, one for the U.S. Army, one for the Bundeswehr. Oddly, some decals are out of registry (the ď50" in the yellow circle) while others are not. One camouflage choice is described: overall olive. No paint brands are referenced.
Four easy-to-follow illustrated steps, with one sub-assembly, leads the modeler through construction, and to the painting and decal phase.
These models show up for sale online and at shows from time to time. Depending on the issue and box, prices vary dramatically. For those with a critical eye, detail references, and patience, this model can be improved. Otherwise, this MBT-70 / KPz 70 is not worth having except for nostalgia and fun.
Highs: Intangible nostalgic and fun factor. Model suspension system can be raised or lowered.Lows: Lack of detail, detail is molded on when present, out-of-scale parts, inconsistent molding quality. Verdict: For those with a critical eye, detail references, and patience, this model can be improved. Otherwise, Aurora's MBT-70 / KPz 70 is not worth having except for nostalgia and fun.
About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR) FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES
I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art.
My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling!
My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...