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AFV Club - M60A2 "Starship" Full Build

Kit Number:
AF35238
Scale:
1:35
Published:
Monday, October 29, 2018
Manufacturer:
AFV Club
Retail Price:
69.99
Reviewed By:
Henry Milton

Kit Name: M60A2 Main Battle Tank “Starship” Early

Kit Number: 35238

Scale: 1/35

Manufacturer: AFV Club

M60A2 Early rw a1.jpg

The Vehicle:

The M60A2 was developed during the mid-sixties. The vehicle was designed to fire anti-tank missiles and traditional rounds. The M60A2 was ordered by the Army while still in development in 1966 and was deployed to Europe in 1973. Nicknamed “Starship” due to the unique turret design, the M60A2 suffered from advanced technology that was not fully developed, undependable and difficult to maintain. The missile system was expensive and unreliable and the combustible casing of the shot ammo did not fully disintegrate causing issues when firing multiple rounds in a short period of time. Production ceased in 1975 and the M60A2 was fazed out of service by 1980. For those that want to know more about this interesting MBT, SABOT Publications have two excellent volumes on the Starship.

 

The Kit:

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The M60A2 Early version from AFV Club is their third release of an M60 variant, following on the heals of the highly regarded M60A1 (AF35060) and the M60A2 Late (AF35230) kits.

Upon opening the box I found 12 spures of styrene in green plastic,

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 The lower hull,

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And two sprues of clear parts.

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This new offering is made up of sprues from the first two kits. The only new items are the rubber band track, decals and turned aluminum barrel.

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The kit comes with a sprue of individual link track to make up the spare track,

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This sprue comes from AFV Clubs excellent T-142 track set (AF 35010).  The remaining items include the soft plastic mantlet covers, o-rings for the road wheels and idlers, tubing for the search light wire and thread for the tow cable.

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The high gloss black and white instruction book has 20 pages of directions. The instructions are good but a reference should be at hand to get several small items properly placed.

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The last page displays the markings and colors for two vehicles.  

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Last but not least is a print of the box art.

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An examination of the sprues reveals exceptional detail and a great many small detail parts. The sample I received had flash on numerous parts which surprised me given the molds are only a few years old.

 

 

 

The Build:

Steps 1-4

AFV Club starts us off by building up the lower hull and suspension detail in steps one through four.

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By the time you complete step four you will have a finished lower hull.

M60A2 Early rw 046.JPG

The detail, as you can see, is great and everything goes together well.

NOTE: Before attempting to insert the torsion bars you will need to sand out the holes. I did not glue the bars to the hull until I was near completion. I have found that the joints can break from handling when glued so I wait until the end.

Steps 5 & 6

Here you assemble road wheels/idlers/drive sprockets/return rollers. The road wheels/idlers utilize a small “O” ring instead of polycaps to achieve workable road wheels.

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This is helpful when I paint. Neither the drive sprockets nor the return rollers are workable.

In step six you attached the wheels/sprockets, rollers and idlers. I added the rubber band track as well. The pins provided to close the loop is a fine idea. This can be a bit finicky to get sorted but great when in place.

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Steps 7 through 9

Build up of the drivers station begins with step 7. Foot and hand controls, drivers seat, fire extinguisher and other small detail is added to the lower hull interior.

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 Next the driver detail on the inside upper hull is installed beginning with step 8 and closing out with step 9. The drivers hatch and the hatch actuating mechanism are added in step 8.

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Take care with the actuating mechanism, the fit is a bit tight and the rods can snap.

Step 9 has us install the view ports and drivers control panel and some external detail on the upper hull.

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At this point I stopped to paint the interior. I used acrylics from Vallejo, a general was and dry brush to finish. The visibility once the model is complete is very limited but I liked the outcome.

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Steps 10 & 11

10 is a quick step. Attach the rear access doors, engine deck and turret ring/upper glacis. I needed a bit of putty to fill a small gap but no problems otherwise.

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The vented access hatches go on in step 11. The fit is tight; you might need to do a bit of sanding to get a clean fit.

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The addition of grab handles along the engine deck and a few lifting hooks finish step 11. 

M60A2 Early rw 084.JPG

As I had added the track earlier I bypassed step 12.

Steps 13 thru 21

The fenders are built up over the next nine steps. The basic left fender incorporates three parts and the basic right fender has two parts. The instructions call for the attachment of the fenders at this point but I held off. Next we build up fender stowage boxes.

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The handle detail is great, but look very closely at your instructions, the handles do not all face in the same direction. The carpet monster got one of mine and I had to improvise.

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The boxes are attached to the fender in step fifteen, along with the fender mounting brackets. I placed the fenders in position to get alignment for the brackets correct.

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The fit is really spot on, the fenders stayed in place without tape or tac. The exhaust muffler boxes are assembled in step 16 and installed in the fallowing step.

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Step 18 adds a few more detail items to the fenders. In step 19 you have a choice of adding the deep water fording exhaust stack or the attachment point cover. I chose the latter option.

You move to the forward part of the vehicle to complete steps 20 and 21. Here is where I decided to attach the fenders. Integrating all of the fender support detail with the fenders detached was not an option.

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The forward running lights and adjacent lifting hooks are added and you need to make sure each has enough room. The fit will be tight.

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With the fenders and hull detail complete we move to the turret.

 

Steps 22 &23

The commanders copula will be built up here. There is a great deal of detail loaded into this little subassembly. After building up the machine gun and connection the lower and upper halves of the copula in step 22,

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 the forward view port, commanders hatch, lifting hooks and canvas cover are all added. The commander’s hatch and forward view port cover are both designed to be movable.  

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Steps 25 thru 36

The build up of the turret makes up the remainder of the build. Assemble the main gun and mount to include the IR kit and lift hooks.

M60A2 Early rw 125.JPG

Insert the mantlet and attached the turret halves. Putty and sanding will be needed to clear up the seams in the turret. 

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NOTE: The instructions have you adding two lifting hooks to the gun mantlet. Hold off on this until you add the canvas cover. Two reasons for this: One, the space is tight and the hooks can interfere with the fit of the cover. Second, the cover will need some putty to fill gaps around the seal of the cover and attempting to fill these gaps with the hooks in place is difficult.

Loaders and gunners hatches, view ports and other detail go on with steps 26 and 27. The carpet monster got one of the hatch stops but scrap styrene saved the day.

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Steps 28 through 36 deal antenna and smoke grenade detail but the big challenge are the turret baskets. The detail is wonderful but the bracket parts are fine and will break with little effort. I had to use rod styrene to replace some of the damaged brackets on the right side basket.

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It was a bit of a test but by the end of step 32 I had the right side of the turret done.

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NOTES: 1: You are directed to add the tow cable mounting brackets in step 30. Hold off until you are ready to add the cable. You will get a better placement this way.

2: Build up the Jerry can, mounting bracket and strap together before adding to the tank.

 

The left side basket went together with much greater ease thanks to the ass kicking the right side gave me.

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I added the tow cable, smoke grenade launcher and baskets to the left side and was done with step 36.

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Step 37

The search light is assembled here. This subassembly is very nice. After building it up I painted the interior of the light and added the glass face.

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The kit part cracked when I removed it from the sprue but some clear sheet styrene saved the day.

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Step 38 & 39

The build finishes up with the addition of the canvas mantlet cover. This will require a bit of patience. Once I had the cover in place I used CA to tack the cover down. The soft plastic will bow and bunch so after getting a decent seal I used putty to fill in the gaps.

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The search light and associated mounting detail went on next. Add the copula and turret and the build is done.

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Painting

I had three subassemblies when I completed the build, hull, turret and cupola.

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After taping off the search light and other glass, I primed everything in a Vallejo green primer, using a hair dryer to speed the process. I then used Vallejo Dark Green, OD and several other shades of green and added light coats of paint until I had the look I wanted. A coat of clear semi gloss was followed by detail painting and the markings. I used Alclad armor glass for the view ports, AK interactive track color for the track and grimy black for the road wheels. The canvas covers were painted buff and then drybrushed with various greens, browns and tans to achieve the look you see. I used model master enamels for this and the rest of the vehicle.

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 I did not add any weathering other than some general and pin washes. I will eventually,  when I decide how to display the “Starship” but for now she is clean.

 

Conclusion:

This was a fun and challenging build. The tiny detail parts and complex and delicate subassemblies will test the skills of beginners and intermediates and advanced modelers will really enjoy the level of and attention to detail AFV Club has put into this M60A2 “Starship”. While the actually vehicle was not considered a success, this kit is and the technology that was introduced in the M60A2 was greatly improved and integrated into following generations of US Tanks.

 

Pros: Detail

         Parts count

         Fit & engineering

 

Cons: Flash on many parts

          Small delicate parts are very fragile

         

Highly recommended

My sincere that’s to AFV CLUB for the review sample

Reviewed by Henry Milton

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