M60/M60A & Turret for M60A2
ROCO (Arsenal M), 1/87 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
In the mid 1960s ROCO released two models of the M60 series of tanks then entering US service, the M60 as model Z-181 and the M60A1 “needlenose” turret version as Z-181a. Both models were simple pre-assembled models consisting of 16 parts with a set of plastic wheels and steel axles under them so they would roll. These were soon combined into one model. Later, toward the end of the decade, they also followed it up with a nicely detailed upgrade set for creating the then new M60A2 “Starship” version with the 152mm gun/launcher for the Shillelagh ATGM.
The models were very well done for the time period but from a scale point of view were pretty stripped down and of course the wheel sets did not appeal to anyone wanting a scale model over a toy. Much later ROCO did realize how much they skimped on in the original M60A1 kit and released a separate upgrade set, Z-181b, which provided essential items for the tank such as its AN/VSS-2 searchlight, a bustle rack, handrails, spare tracks, tow hooks and lift rings, and accurate headlights and “eyebrow” headlight guards. Various packs, tarps and bins completed the set. This permitted the modeler to make a much more accurate and detailed model of the M60A1 or M60A2 (the poor M60 version remained “bin-less” with no bustle rack provided albeit the rest of the parts could be used to upgrade it as well) but still left some things unchanged.
These current production versions from Arsenal M now combine all of the M60 parts – Z-181, Z-181a, and Z-181b – into one kit. This is a great idea, as while stray M60s and M60A1s from original production emerge on markets or eBay from time to time the upgrade set is nearly impossible to find. This M60A2 turret set was also an original so no idea how many stocks of those are still around.
While the wheels are no longer provided (not missed here!) the axle boxes are and will have to be removed by the modeler. A simple small section of .010” styrene should serve to cover the holes in the bottom of the hull. Oddly enough the one item missing from my kit was the hatch cover for the M85 equipped turret cupola, but this is easily made from sheet styrene as a replacement. A section of thin sheet (preferably .020”) to cover the gaping bottom of the turret is also recommended.
The M60A2 kit builds a pretty good model of an early M60A2 with the bore evacuator in place. While the other barrel for the full production model is included (smooth) no mention is made of the fact that a large bulge has to be fitted to the rear of the hull to provide for the compressor system used to purge the turret; these hulls eventually wound up being used for M60 AVLB bridge launchers when the A2s were withdrawn from service.
No directions for the M60/M60A kit is provided other than a German phrase to “look on the Internet” for photos of how to install the upgrade parts is included!
Finish and markings vary widely due to the long service period of the M60 tanks as well as the numbers of tanks provided to foreign customers such as Israel. A good reference library helps as with this example from 3-12 CAV, 3rd US Armored Division, Germany, in 1987.
Overall it is nice to be able to find these kits again at less than eBay prices.
These models were purchased from the Small Scale Hobbies retailer on line at https://www.smallscalehobbies.com.