Home > Reviews > Small Scale > M48A1 & M48A2C ROCO (Arsenal M), 1/87 scale

M48A1 & M48A2C

ROCO (Arsenal M), 1/87 scale

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


Stock Number and Description, Contentd and Price

ROCO Minitanks (Arsenal M) 1/87 scale kit No. 211101071; M48A1; 8 parts in olive drab styrene; price US$11.99

ROCO Minitanks (Arsenal M 1/87 scale kit No. 211101021; M48A2C; 183 parts in olive drab styrene; price US$29.95

Scale: 1/87
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Nice comparison between a 60 year old model and what it can look like with modern upgrading; M48A2 kit will build either an M48A2C US model or a German M48A2AG2.
Disadvantages: Prices are not what they were 60 years ago!.
Recommendation: Recommendedfor all HO scale armor fans and especially NATO wargamers.


Many of us who got started on armor modeling seem to have branched off into HO scale at one time or another due to one company in particular: ROCO. Founded in Austria in 1960 by Heinz Roessler as ROCO Modellspielwaren GmbH, they started with a line of roughly 1/100 scale miniature armored vehicles and as they were inexpensive and nicely done, they found popularity in Europe and later in the US. In the mid 1960s they upped their game and began producing accurate 1/87 scale (HO Gauge railway size) items of increasing complexity and accuracy. Their final products before the company went bankrupt in 2005 were nearly the same level of accuracy and detail as larger 1/35 scale kits (allowing for compromises to keep things reasonably simple).

Arsenal M is now marketing these models as Minitanks in the familiar orange and blue striped boxes with some major upgrades and changes.



The M48A1 model is the same one that came out in the mid 1960s as ROCO model Z-220, replacing an earlier 1/100 scale model of the same vehicle. It originally consisted of 15 parts, four of which were wheels and two steel axles and a “keeper” to attach them to the bottom of the hull. This version offers only eight; the hull top and bottom, the track runs, the turret, main gun, and cupola and hatch cover. The moldings are typical of ROCO’s second generation in that they are nicely done with a lot of detail molded in but still have compromises such as axle boxes for the wheels and snap-together toggles at the front and rear of the hull. The turret does not have an underside to the bustle nor does it come with a basket and hand rails. As noted these were pretty much fine for wargamers but left a lot to be desired for accurate and detailed models.

The M48A2C kit is quite different., even though the hull claims it is a ROCO product. This model is based on the previous one, but is a “Gen 3” product and offers a wealth of detail options.

First off, it includes all of the details needed to upgrade or correct the previous model in the areas of lights, railings, bustle bins, tools, tie-downs and lifting loops, shackles, antenna bases, and many other details. It even has a new part to complete the bottom of the turret bustle. Surprisingly the only item missing is the large AN/VSS-2 xenon searchlight over the main gun barrel.

The lower hull now only sports what I think are tie-down snap-ins for fitting to a rail car.

But included with the kit are a wealth of German generic items for any Bundeswehr vehicles to include tow hooks, tarps, brackets, warning lights (alas solid, not clear – if you have any Herpa add-on kits you can easily swap them for flashing beacons) convoy markers, train tie-down chains, and many more small bits that make the model into a miniature replica of the tank.

 Overall these are welcome additions for anyone modeling HO and a return to the “old days” for those of us who grew up with ROCO as I did in the 1960s.  

 These items were available from the Small Scale Hobbies and are reasonably priced for this day and age. (https://www.smallscalehobbies.com)


Sprue Layout:



Sprue Breakdown

M48A1 – none, eight parts loose in bag



Loose parts –     8              hull halves, track runs, turret, two gun barrels, A1 cupola

M48A2                  12           Add-on details

M60A1 Z-181b   45           Detail parts for M60A1 upgrade – packs, racks, fuel cans, shackles, etc.

M48A2AG2         5              Turret upgrade parts

M48A2AG2         4              German add-on parts

M48A2AG2         10           Turret details

FRG Generic       44           Brackets, mirrors, lights, lifting rings, etc.

FRG Generic       35           Tarps, tie-down chains, brackets, etc.

FRG Generic       10           Smoke grenade launchers and brackets

FRG Generic       10           Ice cleats, hand rails, details

Text by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 19 May, 2023
Page Last Updated 6 January, 2024