with Super Decals for 5 versions
Much has been already written on the M60 Patton tanks, and I choose not to reiterate that. Suffice it to say, the M60A3 was the last of the Patton tank family produced before being replaced by the M1 Abrams. In addition to being used by the United States, the M60A3 was used in service by somewhere between fifteen to twenty other countries, depending on whose list you look at. Four of those other countries are represented on the decal sheet in this kit.
This kit has roots tracing back to 1990 when it was originally marketed and sold by Esci/Ertl as a M60A3 TTS Improved MBT (No. 5040) along with the earlier newly tooled M60A1 Patton tank (No. 5039.) It should be noted that in the 1970's, Italeri (known then as Italerei ) created molds and produced kits for Esci which were boxed and marketed under Esci's name. Over the years, their relationship soured due to business competitive issues. Also, adverse market conditions in the 1990's led to severe financial burdens on Esci resulting in many of their molds being sold or licensed to other plastic kit manufacturers. By 2000, Italeri acquired the last available Esci plastic injection molds, including the molds for the M60A1 and M60A3 tanks. However, in 2003, this M60A3 kit was issued as a rebox, marketed and sold by Revell (No. 03057) and was moulded in the same tan plastic as the earlier Esci/Ertl kits. Now, in 2020, Italeri has released this M60A3 kit under its own brand, and includes new "Super Decals" for five versions. Two of the versions are shown on a box side.
What is Inside:
Upon lifting off the illustrated lid, an array of carefully placed sprues in sealed plastic bags are ready to be taken out and opened.
The box height was ample for all of the contents to be shipped without any breakage or crushing.
Three trees of sprues of parts plus the bottom hull tub are olive green rather than the tan color of all previous issues. The sprue of track links are still moulded in light gray.
The bottom hull tub:
The mouldings are still clean and crisp, even after 30 years from the initial release.
Sprues C, D and E, all on one tree:
Instead of removing the parts applicable to a M60A1 leaving only those for a M60A3, the full sprues for each version are included in this release. Here are both barrel types, a barrel for a M60A3 (on Sprue E) and a barrel for a M60A1 (on Sprue D):
Sprue F (track):
A small screen of mesh is provided to replicate the turret rear basket bottom and sides. The size of this is much larger than what was provided in the first issue from Esci. Also included is a strand of string to use when replicating the tow cables.
The decal sheet includes markings for five different versions from five different countries - A. United States, B. Spain, C. Egypt, D. Saudi Arabia, and E. Republic of China:
The instructions come in a booklet form, measuring 13" X 8". The steps are in the common illustrated format, but color illustrations are provided for painting and decal placement. Unfortunately my scanner only goes up to 12 inches, so the pages below are photos:
If the Spanish version is built, do not add the smoke detectors on the turret sides. The instructions do not inform you of this, but the color illustration shows them to be absent:
This is correct. Spanish M60A3 tanks had different smoke dischargers mounted on a straight bracket on each side. Here are a few photos I took at the tank museum located on the El Goloso military base outside of Madrid:
All other photo references from the internet show this also. Additionally, I did not find any photo references of Spanish M60A3 tanks with the light attached to the gun mantlet. I also could not find any photo references showing the light attached to M60A3 tanks used by the Republic of China (i.e., Taiwan) or Saudi Arabia, either, but that should not be interpreted as none existed. As usual, always check your references; especially if you deviate from kit instructions.
Although this is a re-issue of a 30 year old kit, it still looks to be detailed enough for current builders. There are numerous after market detail sets to upgrade this kit for the serious modeller, and this is an excellent base kit for that.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders pending full build.
Thanks goes out to MRC for this review kit.
Reviewed by James Spellmire, SoCal AMPS member
Here are some photos showing the sprues of this kit (on the left) with those of the first issue Esci M60A1 kit:
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