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1/35 ESCI M-60A1 "Blazer"

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  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:54 PM

Allen109

RBaer- for someone who isn't ready to perform major surgury, and on a budget, which M60 kit would you recommend?

This answer depends on what variant of the M60 you want to build. If it is an M60 "A-nothing", aka "Slick 60", Dragon makes a decent enough one out of box that is usually on sale at a discount.

The AFV Club M60A1, M60A2 and M60A3 are probably near the tops but very expensive. Academy makes a reasonable M60A2, Dragon's is not well thought of but might be cheaper. Tamiya's old one goes for collector's prices and not worth the cost because it isn't very accurate or good.

I got the IDF version of the M60 by Dragon. Yeah, it has some issues but overall looks the part and was very cheap.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Monday, May 4, 2020 1:21 PM

Rob Gronovius

While obviously, there are superior kits created in 2015+ that are better than these late 1980s "diamonds in the rough", they are still solid kits, just not as accurate as newer ones, nor do they build as nicely.

The original Esci and AMT boxings of these kits are rather reasonably priced. If you search for one of the more recent reissues by Italeri (M60 Blazer & M60A1) or the Revell of Germany M60A3, you will be overpaying dearly unless you find them in the $10-20 range. Anything more and you're better off looking for a more modern M60 series kit.

That is spot  about those kits.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Monday, May 4, 2020 10:39 AM

Allen109

RBaer- for someone who isn't ready to perform major surgury, and on a budget, which M60 kit would you recommend?

Also, a friend of mine swears by the Esci T-55 kit, and use it a lot as a base for others as well.

I agree with your friend as well. Around 1997 or 98, after Esci was going under along with a local Ben Franklin's craft store, the local closeout store had a bunch of Esci Ti-67 and Esci M60 Blazer kits for $4.99 and one of the regular US M60A1 kits and one of the regular T-55 kits. I think I got around 10 kits total.

While obviously, there are superior kits created in 2015+ that are better than these late 1980s "diamonds in the rough", they are still solid kits, just not as accurate as newer ones, nor do they build as nicely.

The original Esci and AMT boxings of these kits are rather reasonably priced. If you search for one of the more recent reissues by Italeri (M60 Blazer & M60A1) or the Revell of Germany M60A3, you will be overpaying dearly unless you find them in the $10-20 range. Anything more and you're better off looking for a more modern M60 series kit.

And the price of any of the Tamiya M60 series kits which have 1970s tooing and some late 80s retools, makes a Meng, Takom or AFV Club kit look reasonable.

stikpusher

Weren’t the Israeli TWMPs based off the Soviet design? I’m pretty sure that they recovered quite a few after the ‘73 War in the Golan.

That is what I have heard, but no real first hand knowledge that the Israeli design is based off of captured Soviet mine plows. It seems plausible to me, so I accept it as true.

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Monday, May 4, 2020 9:29 AM

Weren’t the Israeli TWMPs based off the Soviet design? I’m pretty sure that they recovered quite a few after the ‘73 War in the Golan.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Sunday, May 3, 2020 2:28 PM

Rob Gronovius
The Track Width Mine Plow (TWMP) began fielding in the late 1980s. We were slated to get them on the M60A3TTS and they arrived after we got Abrams tanks. There was also a version that was called a "mine rake" that attached to the tank blade of one of the M60 series blade tanks or to the blade of an M728 CEV.

The mine plows made their combat debut during Desert Storm. They are of Israeli design, so when we needed new parts, they came from Israel. The blades were electrically powered with two separate motors to lift each half of the blade. They were lifted by a web strap attached to the motor, similar to a ratchet strap.

The web strap was prone to dry rot and were always snapping if they were lifted with too much weight on the blades (too much dirt on the blades). So a tank should back up a few feet to let the blades tines (teeth) become free from the soil before attempting to lift the blades.

 

Thank you for the information Colonel.

  

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, May 3, 2020 1:45 PM

Sergeant

Very interesting build Mike... I have never seen a mine plow on a model before, it looks impressive and menacing.

Harold

The Track Width Mine Plow (TWMP) began fielding in the late 1980s. We were slated to get them on the M60A3TTS and they arrived after we got Abrams tanks. There was also a version that was called a "mine rake" that attached to the tank blade of one of the M60 series blade tanks or to the blade of an M728 CEV.

The mine plows made their combat debut during Desert Storm. They are of Israeli design, so when we needed new parts, they came from Israel. The blades were electrically powered with two separate motors to lift each half of the blade. They were lifted by a web strap attached to the motor, similar to a ratchet strap.

The web strap was prone to dry rot and were always snapping if they were lifted with too much weight on the blades (too much dirt on the blades). So a tank should back up a few feet to let the blades tines (teeth) become free from the soil before attempting to lift the blades.

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Sunday, May 3, 2020 2:58 AM

Very interesting build Mike... I have never seen a mine plow on a model before, it looks impressive and menacing.

Harold

  

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Dripping Springs, TX, USA
Posted by RBaer on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 9:31 PM

Ah.... At the moment, the only "real" M60 Takom makes is the -A1 Rise/Passive w/ ERA, and it's a fine kit. I have one in the stash, and first impression is that it's gonna be a great build. I use the Takom hulls with other kit's turrets partly because the Takom CM-11 and -12 kits (M60A1 hulls with M-48 turrets, w/ other upgrades) are relatively inexpensive, I enjoy the quick build of the Takom hulls, and I get a fine M48 turret to boot, useful on the several Tamiya M48s I still have in the stash. But, and that's a big but (sorry) to build an M60A1 or -A3 out of the box, AFV Club kits are it: accurate and with good fit, but an absolute truck load of very small parts and grossly overdone "texture" on all the cast parts. The texture is easy enough to fix, and assembly does require  (in my case) a strong Optivisor over reading glasses and very good light, and I still end up on the floor a lot searching for dropped parts. The result is worth it though.

That being said, I still grab the old ESCI, Tamiya and Academy kits at shows pretty much whenever I run across them. They're fun, I enjoy them, and if I really mess one up, I haven't spent $80 on a dead end.

But wait, there's more! I have a Meng kit in the stash, and so far all I've done is drool on the wrapped sprues. It's the Magach 6B Gal batash, and it too looks very well done, fewer teenie parts than AFV Club, more detail than the Takom kits, and lots of thoughtful engineering.

So now that I've thoroughly clouded the air, I like 'em all.

Apprentice rivet counter.

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: NE Oklahoma
Posted by Allen109 on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 2:43 PM

RBaer- for someone who isn't ready to perform major surgury, and on a budget, which M60 kit would you recommend?

Also, a friend of mine swears by the Esci T-55 kit, and use it a lot as a base for others as well.

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: NE Oklahoma
Posted by Allen109 on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 2:40 PM

if you really wanna take a trip on the wild side with your M60, you could always say it is for the old rpg Twilight 2000

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, April 26, 2020 2:37 PM

Ooh Gee:

 Can you say " BooooM"

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, April 26, 2020 1:37 PM

M. Brindos

I've built the AFVC M-60A1 and it really didn't need any added details.

Not as much fun for a scratch builder lol.

All of these kits are still viable.

 

Yes, all the current M60 series kits have value and are worth building. I *had* to get the AFV Club kits and found the A1 at a scratch and dent sale for $40ish delivered. Then I got a deal on the A3 and *had* to get that because it was the best kit of the tank I commanded a platoon of. Great kit, but I haven't gotten to the A3 yet.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Saturday, April 25, 2020 7:50 PM

I've built the AFVC M-60A1 and it really didn't need any added details.

Not as much fun for a scratch builder lol.

All of these kits are still viable.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, April 25, 2020 1:39 PM

Don't get me wrong, the Tamiya, Academy and Esci kits all are still viable model kits and fun builds. The AFV Club kits are quite extensive. I don't know when I'll jump to the Takom or Meng kits. I did grab the Dragon kit because it was on clearance.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Dripping Springs, TX, USA
Posted by RBaer on Saturday, April 25, 2020 12:20 PM

I must be a glutton for punishment cuz I still like building the old Tamiya Academy ESCI kits, but not OOB. Now that AFV Club have got their kits out there, it's quite a contrast, but I'm rapidly leaning towards Takom as my favorite. They go together well, seem accurate and only need a few bits here and there to make me happy, plus they're arounf half the price of the AFV Club kits. And now that Meng has a couple on the market, (I have the Gal batash in the stash) there may be a new best kid on the block.

Me, I'll probably buy one more Meng kit, but at $80 a pop, it's a major chunk of my hobby budget. In the meantime, I'll keep on entertaining myself with kit bashes.

 

Apprentice rivet counter.

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, April 25, 2020 11:22 AM

ajmadison
Rob Gronovius

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.

 
 
All this history, no offense, missed the biggest reason the ESCI M-60A1/3 was the better model. When Tamiya measured the full sized tank to create their model, the real M60A1 was dry (unfueled). Correspondingly the supension arms on the model places the tank too high for a tank that might actually be in the field but perfect if you're modeling a museum piece. To fix this accuracy issue is a heroic, in all senses of the word, especially courage, effort. As that this would require filing the half-circle attachment pins on all of the arms, and dry fitting them until all of the arms are at the same height. Also explains why the shock absorbers at the front of the hull of the Tamiya kit for the first road wheel just hang in the air. Esci, on the other hand, measured or used plans of a fueled M60A1, and its kit suspension has the appropriate smaller ground clearance. To my eye, I can immediately spot a Tamiya build because it sits too high versus my reference pictures of the real thing.
 
FYI, I'm not ordinarly this much of a tank kit buff, but for some reason I've been obsessed with the M60A1-3 series tanks and their kits.
 

I've been tanking since 1983 (M48s, M60s, M1s). The fuel or ammo will not affect the suspension of a tank; anyone who would think this doesn't know squat about an actual tank. They used a tank without the engine/transmission (called a power pack or simply "pack" installed) on their M48A3 kit (or so the story goes). That is more plausible because the pack weighs in at tons.

I don't address the Tamiya hull, because it was virtually the worst part of the 1970 kit and wasn't retooled when they released it as the M60A1/A3 (besides some upper hull surface detailing). The hull was designed to be motorized. So the suspension was made to keep the tracks tight and fit a pair of D cell batteries and the motorization gearbox.

I currently own all of the Esci based M60 kits (Esci, Revell, Italeri, Gunze Sangyo) and Tamiya M60s kits as well as a couple of the AFV Club (A1/A3) and a one of the Dragon (IDF M60) kits. My first Trumpeter kit was their poor M60A3 and I have a few of the Academy ones as well.

The retooled Tamiya turret was pretty good, but overall, I liked the Esci kit. I was in Germany at the time, an M60A3TTS platoon leader. They were relatively cheap compared to the more expensive than the Tamiya kit. I built many of them for guys in my unit to make their tank.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, April 17, 2020 1:58 AM

Good info there!

I did adjust the suspension height and dipped the nose to show the weight of the plough as well.

After my research on the Tamiya M-48A3 I knew this would be necessary.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Shrewsbury, MA
Posted by ajmadison on Friday, April 17, 2020 12:54 AM

Rob Gronovius

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.

 
All this history, no offense, missed the biggest reason the ESCI M-60A1/3 was the better model. When Tamiya measured the full sized tank to create their model, the real M60A1 was dry (unfueled). Correspondingly the supension arms on the model places the tank too high for a tank that might actually be in the field but perfect if you're modeling a museum piece. To fix this accuracy issue is a heroic, in all senses of the word, especially courage, effort. As that this would require filing the half-circle attachment pins on all of the arms, and dry fitting them until all of the arms are at the same height. Also explains why the shock absorbers at the front of the hull of the Tamiya kit for the first road wheel just hang in the air. Esci, on the other hand, measured or used plans of a fueled M60A1, and its kit suspension has the appropriate smaller ground clearance. To my eye, I can immediately spot a Tamiya build because it sits too high versus my reference pictures of the real thing.
 
FYI, I'm not ordinarly this much of a tank kit buff, but for some reason I've been obsessed with the M60A1-3 series tanks and their kits.
  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by BrandonK on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 12:51 PM

That's a very cool idea. It adds a another level of nastiness to it. 

BK

On the bench: Alot !

On Deck: Alot more !

 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Dripping Springs, TX, USA
Posted by RBaer on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 10:59 AM

The mine rake/plow/plough works, good idea, good fit as well.

Apprentice rivet counter.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 6:16 PM

Well thank you, sir! There are still a couple of parts that need to go on there and then I'll start adding welds and details to make it come to life.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: East Stroudsburg, PA
Posted by TigerII on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 12:08 AM

Hey Mike, great work on that mine plough. I like it.

Achtung Panzer! Colonel General Heinz Guderian
  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Monday, January 20, 2020 6:07 PM

I'm liking it too. I think I'll just keep it as a mine plough. Looking at the framework and how it's put together, it wouldn't hold a dozer blade anyways. And then there's the idea of how will the driver see?

I think I'll keep it as a plough lol.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 20, 2020 9:15 AM

Hehehe- I LIKE it!!! 

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

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Sunday, January 19, 2020 11:02 PM

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, January 17, 2020 7:21 PM

TigerII

Hey Mike, this is becoming a very fine build. You did a great job on the side skirt hinges and other parts. Question: Is that the original kit main gun or was it an aftermarket? Looking forward to the finished model.

 

Thanks, Tiger! I don't know where that gun tube came from. It was in the Joffy resin upgrade kit box, but I know that's not where it originated.

I know it's longer and has crisper details than the stock gun tube. No idea where it's from.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, January 17, 2020 7:17 PM

Thanks for the votes lol. I'm adding the mine plow! Hope to find some time this weekend.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: East Stroudsburg, PA
Posted by TigerII on Friday, January 17, 2020 6:36 PM

Hey Mike, this is becoming a very fine build. You did a great job on the side skirt hinges and other parts. Question: Is that the original kit main gun or was it an aftermarket? Looking forward to the finished model.

Achtung Panzer! Colonel General Heinz Guderian
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, January 17, 2020 12:31 AM

The Abrams mine plow is designed to be mounted to the M60 series tank as well.

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