M60 Main Battle Tank
Kit-Bashing in 1:72 Scale
The American M60 main battle tank, a composite of two models manufactured by ESCI. The M60 resulted from the continued development of the Patton series of main battle tanks. It was an improvement of the M48 series, which had entered service in the 1950s. The M60 was designed in response to the Soviet T-54, which outgunned the earlier M48.
The M60 entered service in the fall of 1960. It carried the British 105 mm gun, and a new diesel engine. Despite these improvements the M60 was still considered an interim solution, and a redesign of the turret was underway even before production of the M60 began. The new turret eventually led to the M60.A1, which is the model most modellers are familiar with.
- M48.A5 Turret, Tracks, and Gun Mantlet, 1:72 ESCI 8333
- M60.A1 Hull, Wheels, Main Gun, Spotlight, and Cupola
The kit-bash went together rather easily. Simple substitution of kit parts is really all that is required. It is surprising that ESCI did not market this vehicle themselves.
The M60’s main gun needs to be cut just short of where it attaches to the gun mantlet. In addition, the final few millimeters of the M48.A5 gun will be used. This segment has a bellows wrapped around the barrel, which should be present on the M60 and M60.A1, but is missing in ESCI’s M60.A1 kit.
Some fiddling and filing may be required when wrapping the individual track segments around the drive sprockets.
The ESCI M60.A1 and M48.A5 kits may be hard to find. ESCI’s M60.A3 or M60 Blazer, and any one of the five M48 model kits are possible substitutes.
- Israel Defence Force, 1973
M60 tanks were sold to Israel, and they saw action during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israeli tank crews were pleased with the performance of their M60s. The Israeli M60 variant can be modelled by replacing the large commander’s cupola with the low profile cupola included in the M48.A5 kit or from the M60 Blazer kit, if that is being used for the kit-bash.
- M48.A4 Project.
After the kit-bash, one will be left with a spare M48 hull. This can be completed using the M60.A1 tracks. When the M60 turret is mounted on this hull, the resulting vehicle is an M48.A4, a proposed design utilizing an updated M48 hull. M60 Hulls were to be used for the new M60.A2 tank, and it was anticipated that many M60 turrets would be available as a result. These turrets could have been placed on old M48 hulls. However, production and deployment of the M60.A2 "Starship" did not proceed as planned, because the vehicle’s sophisticated combat electronics overwhelmed its crew. Accordingly, the M48.A4 project was cancelled as well.
The M60 is another simple kit-bash, requiring the substitution of kit parts to create a previously unavailable model vehicle. M60 tanks served in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and anyone recreating the period in miniatures will want a few of these vehicles.