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1/35 ESCI M-60A1 "Blazer"

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  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
1/35 ESCI M-60A1 "Blazer"
Posted by M. Brindos on Thursday, December 26, 2019 2:17 PM

Hello!
This has become my latest armor project. An old ESCI kit from 1992 based on the M-60A1. It's an Israeli modified U.S. tank with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) developed in the late 80's for the Isreali Army and known to us Americans as the "Blazer".

I've already begun modifying the kit as I see fit to do, adding a new .50 Cal mount, side skirt hangers, and a turret stowage box. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure this is just the beginning of my modifications.

The most recent modification as of yesterday was to modify the loaders hatch so it functions on a working hinge. I've got an Academy Isreali tank crew that I'll be working on to go with this build. But for now the hatches will remain movable until I decide to permanently add the crew figures.

I'm not sure where I'll end up with this build honestly. It will be an Isreali tank, but it won't be a standard Magach. This will be a one-off vehicle such as a platoon commanders tank or something like that.

Please join me as I figure out where I'm going with this build. It should be an entertaining, yet slow, build.

I still have some details to add to the box, such a hinges and a latch. I'm copying some resin upgrades from a Joffy kit for the side skirts however I do plan on modifying those somewhat also. My skirts will be less armored and a bit lighter because of it so the hangers and attachment will end up being my own design.

Borrowing from Russ's Gimel, I will be adding other bits and details as I go.

Stay tuned. Lol

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Dripping Springs, TX, USA
Posted by RBaer on Thursday, December 26, 2019 2:33 PM

I like the Leo1-style storage box a lot, good idea.

Apprentice rivet counter.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Thursday, December 26, 2019 2:44 PM

Thanks, Russ! :D

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, December 27, 2019 7:47 AM

Looks neat! Thanks for sharing with us!!! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, December 27, 2019 8:24 PM

Thank you for following, Gamera!

**

I feel I must apologise to my fellow forum members. A new work schedule at a new job and a serious lack of time have been wreaking havock on my ability to spend any serious time modeling.

Mostly I get to daydream about which kits I'd like to send time on. This build, I hope, will be a main focus for a good long time.

Thanks for supporting my habit with your own beautiful builds lol. At least I can watch something getting done lol.

-Mike

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Sunday, December 29, 2019 7:45 PM

I took a couple of hours today and roughed out the side skirts. The hangers are spaced out just enough to clear the tracks because I didn't want to have them extended too far out. 

I'll be adding bolt heads and other such details to them later. 

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 2:57 PM

Ohhhh I love those skirts. They give a very sleek streamlined look to her.

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 4:28 PM

I agree, Gamera. It does make it look more streamlined. 

I'm considering more modifications that could also make it more modern looking. Just haven't worked out how to pull it off quite yet.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Valrico, FL
Posted by HeavyArty on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 4:44 PM

Looking good.  It looks a lot like the Turkish M60T Sabra.

Gino P. Quintiliani - Field Artillery - The KING of BATTLE!!!

Check out my Gallery: http://smg.photobuck...v231/HeavyArty/?

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 5:15 PM

Oh, that's neat! I may borrow a bit of that one too. Wink

Thanks for dropping that reference, Gino!

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    April 2010
Posted by Theuns on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 9:48 PM

Wow that Turkish tank look ALLOT like this Israeli Magach 7 ;-)

 Academy 1/35 Magach 7 by Theunis van Vuuren, on Flickr

 

Theuns

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 2:33 AM

Yes it does, Theuns. A lot Iike the the Magach 7. I wonder if Israel exported.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 6:04 PM

M. Brindos

Yes it does, Theuns. A lot Iike the the Magach 7. I wonder if Israel exported.

 

Yes, the Israelis are the ones who make the Turkish M60 Sabra. That's why it has many "Magach" style looks to it.

The Esci M60 'Blazer' is one of my favorite kits. I found a bunch of them at a closeout store called "Odd Lots" in Huntsville, Alabama when I was stationed there in the mid to late 90s. I built many of them using detail parts from Tamiya kits.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:45 AM

Well that explains why the M-60T looks like a Magach 7. Thanks, Rob.

I've had a fondness for ESCI kits for decades. I remember building a lot of the 1/72 series kits. But this is the first time I've had a 1/35 ESCI armor kit. The details are pretty good from what I see, but there is quite a bit of minor flash on most of the smaller parts.

Nothing I can't handle or add more details to. It's not a bad kit. That being said though, the wheels wobble around horribly on the axles. I know they'll be okay once I glue them on, but alignment will have to be carefully monitored when I do. 

I'm still contemplating what I'll modify next. Keep watching. Yes

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Thursday, January 2, 2020 2:07 AM

In case some of you didn't know, M60_Tanker is my father. He still hasn't figured out how to upload pictures and I still need to show him how lol. We'll get to that eventually.

He taught me all of my basics and dropped out of the hobby for a lot longer than I did. Now he's close to retirement and building up a platoon of 1/35 armor, while updating his skills.

Here is his latest build that is close to completion, next to my M-48 (The dirty one on the bottom). An M-48A3 from Dragon, I think.

I can't wait for him to show us what he's done with an M-60A2(E1). From what I have seen of it, it should gain a lot of attention.

Happy New year! 

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Thursday, January 2, 2020 9:03 AM

M. Brindos

Well that explains why the M-60T looks like a Magach 7. Thanks, Rob.

I've had a fondness for ESCI kits for decades. I remember building a lot of the 1/72 series kits. But this is the first time I've had a 1/35 ESCI armor kit. The details are pretty good from what I see, but there is quite a bit of minor flash on most of the smaller parts.

Nothing I can't handle or add more details to. It's not a bad kit. That being said though, the wheels wobble around horribly on the axles. I know they'll be okay once I glue them on, but alignment will have to be carefully monitored when I do. 

I'm still contemplating what I'll modify next. Keep watching. Yes

The Esci M60A1/M60A3/Blazer represents the high water mark for their 1/35 scale armor kits. Unfortunately for them, Tamiya released a 3 in 1 M60A3/M60A1/M60A1 RISE/passive kit at the same time. Tamiya's armor was top notch in the 1980s and Esci didn't have the same reputation, even though their M60A1/A3 series was better.

Italeri and then Dragon basically put Esci out of business in the late 1980s. Esci did a series of HMMWVs that were not as good as Italeri's. They did a series of LAVs that weren't as good as Italeri's. They did a Leo 2 that wasn't as good as Italeri's.

They did a series of BMPs that were better than Dragon's, but Dragon's T-72 series was better than Esci's T-72/74 and Dragon did a more complete line of modern Soviet armor. The Esci T-55 series remained well regarded for nearly twenty years though.

By the mid 90s rolled around, Esci was all but done in 1/35 scale armor. Italeri got their molds of the kits they didn't have in their line. Their LAVs, HMMWVs, T-72s, Leo 2, BMPs vanished.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Thursday, January 2, 2020 1:57 PM

I did not know any of that. I didn't even know Esci made a T-55. 

Thank you for all of that info, Rob. I will add some of those kits to my watch list and see if I can get my hands on a few of them later.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, January 3, 2020 1:01 AM

M. Brindos

I did not know any of that. I didn't even know Esci made a T-55. 

Thank you for all of that info, Rob. I will add some of those kits to my watch list and see if I can get my hands on a few of them later.

Like the M60A1/A3/Blazer kits, Esci released three versions of the T-55. The regular T-55, the T-55 A (M), and an Israeli version called the Ti-67 which is actually a Tiran 5. These kits are virtually the same models with a simple mold swap for a portion of the sprue. Italeri has reissed the Esci T-55.

At the time it was released, the only other T-55 available was the Lindberg T-55, which was a Squadron Kit of the Year way back in 1989. I built it and it is not a very good kit. This crappy kit is available at Hobby Lobby today.

https://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/italeri/it6427.htm

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, January 3, 2020 5:35 AM

I love crappy kits lol. I my have to pick that one up just to slap it together and paint it. Or maybe scratch build the heck out of it.

Either way it sounds entertaining and I don't have any 1/35 Soviet armor except for a Dragon Su-85 which I still need to complete the tracks for on one side. 

Rob, thank you again for all of this information. I love to learn.

 

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, January 3, 2020 11:33 AM

I think Esci's biggest downfall in these modern 1/35 scale armor kits is that they basically took one kit, made a couple changes to some sub sprues and reboxed them as different kits.

Like the crappy Lindberg T-55, they gave all the options to make three or four different variants in one box. Sell one kit to people wanting whatever variant, and the kit flies off the shelves.

Esci had a better kit, and one kit sold out quickly and the IDF one died in clearance bins. Likewise with the M60A1/A3. The M60A3 sold quickly and the Blazer died on the shelves. Had they incuded all options in one kit, people wanting any version would have bought it and they would have all sold out.

When AMT/Ertl reboxed the Esci M60A1 Blazer, they included parts and decals to make either a US Army M60A1 or an IDF Blazer. It sold well.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, January 3, 2020 2:44 PM

You continue to be a fountain of information, Rob. I remember seeing the Blazer on shelves, but I don't remember seeing the ESCI M-60A1/A3.

You have the explanation for that lol.

Thank you, again.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:09 AM

The A3 was the biggest seller. The A1 had the OD green and white star look, but it also may have had the old 7th Army MASSTER camouflage. I know the AMT/Ertl reboxed Blazer included the MASSTER pattern.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Saturday, January 4, 2020 2:52 PM

I totally see what you mean about having all of those in one box. 

I do remember seeing that box for the A3. My father has built that one I think. That was when I was in high school lol.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, January 4, 2020 7:27 PM

Kit history is a bit of a side hobby for me. Multiple boxings for basically the same kit mystify me; back when Accurate Miniatures entered the market with umpteen Mustang kits, some fly off the shelves and others hit the clearance bin after years collecting dust.

But if they had released those kits with all options in one box, they all would have flown off the shelves. Instead, only a half sold and the unwanted versions didn't.

The difference between the M60A1 and M60A3 kits are literally a handful of parts; gun tube, crosswind sensor, search light, air cleaners and the LRF blister.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Saturday, January 4, 2020 11:31 PM

Well, you have my ear. I love history in general, so this information is being well recieved, I promise.

**

On a side note, I did get the mud holes cut into the drive sprockets.

I also got a little done on the lower hull, gluing on the tow shackles and tail lights.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, January 5, 2020 1:45 PM

All three of the original Esci M60 kits have been reissued in the 2000s. Italeri reboxed the M60A1 (#6397) and M60 Blazer (#6391), making the same mistake Esci did by not making a 2 in 1 kit.

Italeri took Esci's mistake one step further by removing certain standard M60 parts so that if you bought the Blazer, you could not make a regular M60A1, only the IDF tank. Previously, if you bought either Esci's M60 Blazer (#5042) or the AMT/Ertl M60 Blazer (#8864), you got all the necessary parts to make the IDF version or the US Army M60A1.

Interestingly to note, while AMT/Ertl gives instructions to make a US tank and provides the camouflage scheme for a 7th Army MASSTER tank, they do not give US decals. Only the IDF markings are provided and you are instructed to put those on the 7th Army camouflage tank.

Another curiosity is the box art. It shows a tank without the Blazer armor, but with the IDF thermal shrouded gun tube, .30 cal and .50 cal machine guns and Urdan cupola. So the box art mixes up versions.

Revell of Germany released the former Esci M60A3TTS, and they did it right. They released it as kit #03057 and included virtually every part necessary to make a US Army M60A3TTS, an OPFOR M60A3 and a USMC M60A1 RISE/Passive tank. They even included the deep water fording snorkel. This kit flew off the shelves and was very hard to find. They included four different marking options and three different camouflage patterns.

An unusual boxing of the Esci M60A1 is one that is very rare. Gunze Sangyo released it as the "High-Tech Model" M60A1 RISE PASSIVE TANK. When this kit came out, it was in the $125-150 range. Since previous Gunze Sangyo "high tech" kits were often Dragon or old Tamiya kits with multimedia parts added, many people who saw this kit assumed it was the Academy copy of the Tamiya M60A1. I've actually read "reviews" written by modelers who say it was the Academy kit. That just tells me they never laid hands and eyes on the kit.

I have one that I bought ten years ago for $35 + $13 s/h. It is Esci kit #5039 with white metal reactive armor, grenade launchers, air cleaners and some sundry detail parts. Even at $48 delivered, I over paid for the kit. A better solution to get this version of the tank would be to find the old Esci M60A1 or Blazer and then buy the ERA sprues from Tamiya USA. That way you don't have to deal with the white metal parts.

That's the long history of what was my favorite tank kit of the 1980s. I bought one when I was a young lieutenant in Germany and M60A3TTS tank platoon leader. It was either released in 1989 or 1990.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Sunday, January 5, 2020 8:17 PM

It's amazing to me that Gunze had the balls to charge so much for a kit they didn't even engineer. 

***

So I got around to scratching up the hinges and latch for the turret box.

I also got all of the hardware attached to the lower hull. I cut off the tow hooks (solid one piece mold) from the tow mounts and drilled out the holes. I'm going to add some shackles later.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 6, 2020 12:03 PM

Mike: Looks good!!! Yes

Rob: Thanks! I too found this an interesting history of the kit. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Monday, January 6, 2020 6:17 PM

Thank you very much, Gamera!

I'm figuring where and how to place the hinges for the skirts next.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 12:09 PM

Gamera

Mike: Looks good!!! Yes

Rob: Thanks! I too found this an interesting history of the kit. 

 

You're welcome. I did an article for Boresight about this series of kits years ago. Before the more recent Italeri and Revell of Germany reissues.

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