by: Darren Baker [ ]
AFV Club went to town on the Centurion and then the Churchill tank got their attention, now AFV Club is at it again and continuing to tackle their new tank of choice the M60, this this time around it is the A3 configuration with training add onís. The M60 family of tanks is classed as one of the most successful main battle tanks to have gone in production with over 15,000 tanks having served with the armed forces of 22 countries worldwide. The M60 may have lost its place in the field in the west, but it is still in service with the Turkish and Egyptians to name just two, Greece offered some M60A3 tanks to Afghanistan only 9 years ago.
This offering from AFV Club is packed in the usual manner of separate plastic bags for each sprue, except where they have been duplicated. The box is a card tray with a separate card lid. Inside you will find:
10 green sprues
2 clear sprue
3 vinyl rubber parts
A turned aluminium part
9 metal pins
14 poly caps
2 vinyl rubber tracks
2 photo etched frets
A decal sheet
A length of twine
Box top artwork
I will start by saying that anyone who purchased any of the previous M60ís released by AFV Club will recognise many of the sprues in this box. An examination of the contents reviews very little in the way of issues that the modeller will have to tackle. Yes there are some ejector pin marks present, but the only area that will require attention that I can see so far is under the tracks guards.
The lower hull and running gear on this offering is I believe exactly the same as previous releases. The lower hull is an exceptional example of what is possible as regards injection moulded plastic abilities. The plastic has a nice cast texture present that I like, but I know others are not as keen on it. The torsion bars are workable using the method of securing the end of the torsion bar inside the hull and the entry point free. The first and last wheel stations on both sides are assembled in the same manner as the rest, but I do not believe these are workable and will instead need to be set during assembly: please correct me if I am wrong in that belief.
AFV Club has provided the modeller with both the steel and aluminium pattern road wheels and these can be mixed as wished by the modeller according to the instructions. I have no idea on how accurate the wheel mix is, but I have seen it on many other vehicles and so I accept the concept of mixed wheel types. All of the road wheels can be rotated after being added to the model, but unlike poly caps that are usually used these rubber rings trapped inside the wheels travel up a cone on the axle and lock into a recessed indentation.
Moving onto the interior of the hull AFV Club has provided a partial drivers interior. The level of detail is fair allowing the seat to be in the raised or lowered position, and so if you want the drivers hatch open there is a reasonable amount of detail present in there. If you are placing a figure it will not make too much difference. I really like what AFV Club has done with the drivers hatch, it has been provided opening backwards a little and then sliding to the right just as occurs in the real vehicle.
The tracks supplied with this offering are the vinyl rubber offerings, but unlike the usual tracks offered in this format they have a different connection method. The usual method of pins on one end protruding through holes on the other end of the tracks is not used here; instead a metal pin is pushed through pre-formed holes in the tracks. I have got to say I am really impressed with this method.
Moving along to the upper hull and AFV Club has continued to add some nice detail around the driversí position, and while the view of this detail is limited I do like that it is there. Moving towards the rear of the upper hull and all of the panels are individually provided, this is a real plus for any modeller contemplating investing in the M60 engine kit coming from Legend Productions. The detail in this area is really nice in my opinion, and while I cannot guarantee accuracy of the area it does appear to be correct.
The mudguards are nicely thin and I believe of a good scale in that respect. There are the ejector pin marks on the underside which while difficult to see should ideally be filled and sanded. The tool boxes can be displayed open or closed depending on the modellerís requirements, but the sides may be a very little on the thick side. If displayed in the open position there are a few ejector pin marks that will need attention. The exhaust boxes another area that has been well done and this is again a plus with the Legend Productions set due for release. You are provided with a couple of options in the form of a snorkel for the engine and an infantry communication phone on the rear right mudguard.
With this offering you are provided with two barrel options, these are the M68A1 early or late barrel. I will be honest and say this is one area of the model that I am not impressed with due to the barrels both being split length ways with a metal tip to the barrel, I feel that this method has no place in a model of what is otherwise a very impressive kit. There is some breach detail present with the barrel and the ranging machine gun is nice, regardless the view of this area is very limited. The gun barrel has a spring mounted at the rear to replicate a recoil action, but I consider this to be a pointless feature of the model.
The turret continues with the casting texture of which I approve. There is also some nice casting number detail present. The shape and form of the turret looks a good reference for online images and so unless someone knows differently I am happy to say accurate. The commandersí turret also appears to be a good replication of the real vehicle. I do like the vinyl rubber used to replicate the canvas covers on the main gun and commandersí machine gun, the ribbed recoil sleeve is also nice in this respect.
The stowage basket at the rear of the turret has been well replicated in resin and plastic parts, I am glad about this as I always hated the mesh netting that use to be supplied for the purpose. Items such as the smoke grenade launchers I also well done features of the model. All of the hatches on the tank can be displayed opened or closed, but with detail present only under the driversí hatch the holes will need to be carefully filled to maintain the appearance of reality. The hawsers are a weak area of the model as they are represented with twine and plastic eye detail, however if replaced with a suitable wire this will look a lot better.
The searchlight is a very nicely replicated piece on this offering, but be careful when attaching it to the model as it should align with the gun barrel as I have seen a few builds where the light is too low at the front. AFV Club has provided vinyl tubing to replicate the power leads from the light to the turret and I like this area has been covered in the model.
This offering from AFV Club provides a few training pieces of equipment. You are provided with a Hoffman device that is mounted on the barrel of the tank and replicates the main gun firing at targets and that is registered on the other vehicle. There is a blank suppressor on the barrel of the commandersí MG, I am not familiar with this device as the ones I have seen are just secured to the muzzle of the MG, but this offering adds an interesting look to the MG. the last additional part reference the training aid is what they have identified as a kill indicator, but to me it looks just like a convoy light. I do not pretend to know everything about war games devices, but it is my understanding that there are other devices that should be present. The Hoffman device basically makes a bang and smoke, a laser tells the target it has been hit and where and I am unsure where that is located on the vehicle.
AFV Club has provided a nice mix of finishing options for this offering of the M60A3 TTS and the five offerings are:
Egyptian Army, Cairo, Jan 2011
4th Battalion, 69th Armour Regiment, Hesse, Germany, Jan 1985 (Reforger 85)
5th Battalion, 68th Armour Regiment, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, Sep 1988 (Reforger 88)
Republic of China (Taiwan) Army
3rd Battalion, 32nd Armour Regiment, Germany, Jan 1985 (Reforger 85)
This is another impressive model from AFV Club covering the M60A3 with very little to get upset about. I do not like the gun barrel being split lengthways as it is a very old method of doing things; this approach also does not match with how AFV Club seems to have taken on the very best practices of injection moulded plastic such as indicated by the lower hull. The tracks are a new connection method that I believe will soon be copied by many other manufacturers. More on the high side of this model is the good mix of finishing options and that incredibly well replicated suspension system and wheels.