an attempt to help illustrate my recommended modifications and
additions to the basic ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kit Hull, I annotated
my notes on scans of the Assembly Sheet.
ESCI/ERTL/AMT Hull is the best 1:35th scale rendition presently
available - and what I personallt feel is the best foundation
for the M60 MBT conversion. The modifications and corrections
needed to make it more faithful to the actual M60 MBT are few
and easy to accomplish. The most visible of the modifications
called for come in eliminating the second Shock Absorber on each
side, replacing the molded-in Suspension Stops and relocation
of the forward Return Roller - moved back towards the rear -
as all three are evenly spaced apart. Less visible is trimming
away the hull mount for the Idler Adjustment Arm and creating
a simple bracket to attach it to the #1 Suspension Arm.
AFV Club/Academy Commander's Cupola is one of two 1:35th scale
subassemblies that I know of presently available. The other is
an item produced by Tank Workshop - but I haven't seen it. The
above injection-molded plastic item has a very nice, subtle,
texture and casting numbers present on the Cupola roof. The white
piece of styrene sheet represents the Mount Plate for a pedestal
mounted .50cal MG seen on the M60 MBT during the period when
there were probems with the M85 .50cal MG in the Commander's
Cupola. I modeled this feature along with the rear turret mount
provided by CMD and a barrel clamp liberated from a Italeri M47
Patton that was positioned on the turret roof.
Model Designs' (Early) M60 Turret and AFV Club Commander's Cupola
& Xenon Searchlight
there is no such thing as an "early" and "late"
M60 Turret. CMD points out in their instruction sheet that they
used the term to make it clearer to the modeler that this turret
is only appropriate for the M60 MBT - and not the later M60A1,
A2 or A3 variants - in case you're unaware of the difference.
for the ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kits, the CMD M60 Turret is pretty
complete as it comes in the box. I used Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer
500 to patch and texture the joint between the upper and lower
halves of the Turret. The real M60 Turrets are not rough in this
area, and the Mr. Surfacer fills but does not obscure the fine
CMD cast detail.
parts are thin and cleanly cast, with little to no cleanup issues
to mention in my example. CMD's instructions are simple, with
an exploded drawing diagram. I recommend reading them several
times until you understand how to proceed in completing the subassembly
A fine turned
aluminum barrel is included to represent the M68 105mm Gun. I
admit I didn't quite understand how to attach the accordion-like
Dust Cover to the Mantlet Cover and had to resort to in-service
photos. I sanded and set an angle for the part that I liked in
the end. CMD instructions call for you to locate the Gun Barrel
end a scale 13 feet from the Mantlet Cover. My 1:35th scale rulers
are as welcome as my X-Acto Knife - proving quite handy for this
off the cast-in handle for the Loader's Hatch and added one made
from a length of .022" solder. You could also go as far
as replacing the Hatch Springs too - but I opted not to. I liked
the detail already present. The CMD Turret had preset holes for
the Stowage Handles on either side, but I found that none of
the plastic parts I had fit these locations. No problem, I fashioned
my own Stowage Handles using .022" soldier.
This sounds like a difficult medium to work
with, but really isn't. When finished, the solder parts are strong
- you just have to be careful in handling so as not to bend them
out of shape. You shouldn't paw your precious miniatures anyway!
I first inserted lengths of solder into the holes, and set them
in place with super glue and accelerator. I trimmed them all
to the same length. Then, I cut a length of solder and attached
it to each leg with a drop of super glue and accelerator to hold
it in position. It took only a few minutes and looks nice in
The Turret Bustle is also done with .022"
solder - as is the rod welded along the rear bottom edge seen
at left and below. CMD provides you with a neat jig to set the
Bustle Rack braces in place properly - assuring you that they
were not always symmetrical on the real M60. Once the braces
were glued into place with super glue and accelerator, I went
back and added the lengths of solder. Working slowly, the Bustle
Rack came together without a problem. I made the bracing strips
out of lengths of .010" foil - again using patience, superglue
Both Antennas are made from lengths of .015"
brass wire. I originally attempted to model the antennae with
.022" solder, but this proved too flimsy for application.
It was just too nerve-wracking to have to watch out for the solder
everytime I handled the model.
The Power Cable for the Xenon Searchlight is
a length of .050" rosin core solder. The Xenon Searchlight
Unit I used comes from the AFV Club M48H model kit - as I liked
the detail better. The "face" of the searchlight was
detailed with Grandt Line bolts (Note that the photos show screws
on the face), and the inside of the unit was done with aluminum
foil super glued to .020" lead foil.
The lead foil is easy to cut into shape and
bend into an insertable reflector housing in which you can insert
the "bulb". I had to trim out my own "glass"
face for the Searchlight, and a mask to protect the finished
interior during painting and finishing the exterior. The small
thumbnails below are links to additional photos of the mount
itself - rather confusing in the model kit(s). Clicking on the
thumbnail provides a larger photo.
I also liberated the Commander's Cupola from
the AFV Club (Academy) model kit because I liked the detail better.
To this, I added the Hatch from an ESCI/ERTL/AMT M60A3 and the
Sight Housing from the M60A1 base kit I was using. To this subassembly,
I added the mounting plate for the Pintle that mounted on the
early M60 tanks, and drilled out the four bolt locations on the
corners. This subassembly does not fit tightly in the CMD Turret
as it was not intended to mount on this aftermarket item, so
I had to add little locator stubs underneath to keep it seated
and aligned properly on the Turret roof. The right edge of the
Cupola locates 49 inches off the tank's centerline.
I provided a couple of photos of the area underneath
the .50cal Mantlet for you next. It is open on the kit parts.
I hope my accompanying photos help you if you wish to add detail
in this area.
AFV Club model kit Rangefinder blisters and
Lift Rings were added to the Turret - as CMD does not provide
these in their kit. I added an Italeri .50cal MG Stowage Clip,
and two Guards from other ESCI/ERTL/AMT M60 kits that were mounted
to protect the Xenon Searchlight when mounted for operation and
when stowed on the side of the Turret. Not all M60 tanks show
these fitted, as they were removed by the crews. Another length
of embroidery thread mimics the chain/pin detail on the Guard
in front of the Commander's Cupola, and for the Cap on the .50cal
MG Mount on the Turret Rear.
Armour Jerry Can Holder and Aber tie-downs were added to their
appropriate locations on the Turret - one behind the Jerry Can
and nine on the rear right upper area at the Bustle Rack. I used
a set of Formations Models Tow Cables to round out the Turret
more details to the Turret Roof of my miniature appropriate to
the early M60 MBT's in accordance with the photos here. These
were provided through the kind assistance of Joe Daneri. This photo shows good detail
of the mounting plate for the .50cal MG on the side of the Commander's
Cupola, the Stowage Clip for the .50cal MG Barrel on the Turret
Roof (next to the Guard to prevent the Cupola MG from firing
into the Xenon Searchlight when stowed) and the Mount for the
.50cal MG on the rear wall of the Turret. The Mount for the rear
Turret wall is provided in the CMD Conversion - but I capped
it off. The Cupola Mount Plate, Spring Clip and Guard are details
you'll have to add yourself. I described my sources in the rest
of the text on these pages.
Lastly, in measuring the real vehicle, I noted
that there is a half-inch gap between the Turret and the Race
that is visible from casual viewing distances - and would be
noticable in 1:35th scale. The gap was wide enough to be able
to see the turret seals for fording streams. I added small lengths
of .015" styrene strip to unseen areas beneath the CMD Turret
to elevate it. This is a very small improvment, but one that
I liked and was easy to do.
Backdating and Improving
the ESCI/ERTL/AMT Model Kit Hull
Consulting photos of
restored M60 main battle tanks, coupled with the Technical Manuals
on the M60 Series, I set out to make the necessary modifications
to the base ESCI/ERTL/AMT M60A1 kit parts to model a M60 Hull.
I followed the suggested
assembly sequence and made my modifications along the way. The
ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kits are the best renditions of the M60 series
tanks in 1:35th scale currently available - and this made working
on my conversion that much more enjoyable. I experienced no serious
problem during assembly to warn you about - encouraging further
exploration of the particulars of the conversion. There were
ejector pin marks, sinkholes and some minor flash to remove from
the parts in my model kit - none too difficult to deal with.
On the positive side, the parts sport nice texture for the cast
areas of the Hull and Turret, including casting/foundry markings
and numbers. These being noteworthy detail additions for their
time. I annotated the Instruction Sheet at left for modifications
and changes I made to my model kit - all but one hidden by the
angle of the drawing. All the modifications are mentioned in
the text and photos to follow however.
My kit's Upper Hull
was cleanly cast, with some minor filling called for on the sides
of the Storage Bins. I filled them with super glue and accelerator.
There were no annoying morotization holes to fill in the lower
hull pan. The three major pieces that make up the Hull went together
without a problem. I filled the joints and minor gaps with Gunze
Sangyo Mr. Hobby brand Mr. White Putty. Wanting to keep my final
finish and weathering light, I applied Liquitex Acrylic Light
Modeling Paste to the undersides of the sponsons and Hull sides.
I applied the Paste with a scrap paint brush and let it setup
for a few minutes. Then, I went back over and textured the areas
with a portion of a Sea Sponge. This works great for subtely
simulating accumulation of dirt and mud without going overboard.
Though very similiar to the
M60A1, the Hull of the M60 differs in numbers and locations of
certain fittings. The ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kit's bulges running
along the side of the lower Hull have notches cast into them
that I could not find on the actual M60 tank. I filled these
gaps with super glue and accelerator.
The M60's #2 Road Wheel
does not have Shock Absorbers - so I removed the mounting points
and restored the cast texture in this area. I also deleted the
Lift Rings (not shown here in the above Technical Manual drawing)
from the M60A1 model kit, and filled the locating depressions.
The area underneath the sponsons of the M60 are relatively clean
and neat and these two large lift rings are not present on the
I fashioned replacement
Suspension Arm Stops (for lack of the proper term) and cut away
the simple castings on the ESCI/ERTL/AMT Hull bottom - which
bore little resemblance to the items on the real M60. The backsides
of all the Suspension Arms need to be filled as well.
Contrary to the TM
drawing above, the M60's Return Rollers were evenly spaced apart
- with the front Return Roller only moved forward to the position
shown above in the M60A1 and later vehicles when the second Shock
Absorber was added. I cut the mounts away and replaced them with
scrap styrene tubing - relocating the mounts 14 scale inches
to the rear.
Left Above and Below, I made
the replacement Stops using .030" styrene strip, cut to
shape. Using the Road Wheels temporarily tacked into position,
I glued the stops into place and simulated the weld beads with
acrylic gel medium.
Another view of the actual
Stops on the M60 Hull, along with Return Roller and Road Wheel
The M60 was fitted
initially with side-loading air cleaners. At left, the early
and late model side-loading air cleaner styles are shown. I went
with the early side-loader as provided in the ESCI/ERTL/AMT model
The attachments for
the Shock Absorbers to the Suspension Arms are a bit simplified
and not 100% accurate in the ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kit - but at
least they're present.
Other M60 series kits lack
this feature. The backs of the Suspension Arms could use additional
detail in the form of caps to close off the open ends behind
the Road Wheel axles at the least. Part #B37 (Idler Wheel Damper)
does not locate into the Hull, as molded in the ESCI/ERTL/AMT
model kit.. Trim and fill this locator away - and attach the
Damper to the Suspension Arm.
While you're at it, filling
the backs of the Drive Housings is called for in building the
ECSI/ERTL/AMT model kit Hull. Simple pieces of styrene sheet
comes in handy for this seemingly small detail - that's easy
to miss if you get ahead of yourself - like I do sometimes! Instead
of freehanding it, make it easy on yourself and cut a scrap piece
of paper out and make a pencil tracing of the opening. Trim your
new template out and use it to cut out the shape on the sheet
styrene. Test fit and trim as necessary.
Circled in the photo here are
Drain Covers for the Transmission and Engine - missing from all
the M60 series model kit Lower Hull pans. The detail is easy
to miss, unless you're familar with the M60 series like Tankers
are. Adding it isn't difficult using styrene sheet and your favorite
scale Bolt Heads.
Another modification to my
miniature is a revised Driver's Hatch. Again, thanks to Joe Daneri,
I could improve my miniature's fidelity to the actual M60 MBT
by modeling the correct Hatch. M60 MBT Driver's Hatches were
equipped with an IR Night Periscope. The M60A1, A2 and A3 used
a newer night vision sight - appropriately molded in the ESCI/ERTL/AMT
M60A1 model kit as I used here for this project.
In the photo at right, the M60
MBT Hatch is called out by caption #2. Caption #1 shows the M60A1
passive sight equipped Driver's Hatch. Caption #3 shows Driver's
Hatches that were modified from IR Night Vision Periscopes to
Passive Sights, with Caption #3 from a late model CEV made from
an M60A1 Hull and Caption #4 on an M60A3 TTS rebuilt from an
The AFV Club/Academy Hatch
can be improved further by adding a little more contour around
the Periscope blister with some putty to better represent the
actual. I used a small bit of Apoxie Sculpt for this detail.
I tried to present a photo with enough contrast here to see the
Apoxie Sculpt worked around the IR Periscope blister. The tan
color of the bare plastic plays havoc with the meter on my camera.
Anyway, the Apoxie Sculpt has a working time from 1 to 3 hours
- plenty of time for this process. I worked a little string rolled
between my fingers into position using a wet (water) paintbrush,
and then smoothed it out. If you'll notice, I did not drill out
the Driver's Hatch cast into the ESCI/ERTL/AMT upper Hull. I
used my modified Hatch as a master to cast in Alumilite instead.
I holled out the underside with my battery-powered Dremel tool
and slipped the new Hatch as a cap over the original kit part.
Why? No answer other than I wanted to see if I could pull the
idea off. Never be afraid to try unconventional approaches in
modeling - you'll always learn something new if you do...
At left, the TM illustrates
the aluminum and the armored versions of the later top-loading
air cleaners. Depending on the time period and the unit your
choose to model your M60 tank - either style of side or top-loading
air cleaners would be appropriate.
Modifying the Infantry Phone
Box to the style fitted to the M60 is easy, the drawing at the
left shows the Handset Box Assembly as fitted to the M60, and
the difference between it and the later style fitted to the M48A3,
early M60A1 and early M728 tanks. I sanded away the offending
detail and added my own Grandt Line #153 boltheads and a clasp
from scrap solder and foil. The Infantry Phone Box was bolted
directly to the Fender in the early M60. Naturally, this was
modified in the field like the retrofitting of later style Air
Cleaners, and some photos of restored vehicles show the Phone
Box mounted on a shelf. A short length of solder imitates the
cable running behind the Phone Box.
I drilled out the mud holes
in the Drive Sprockets missing from the model kit parts. Simple
task to accomplish, I just drilled two adjacent holes, and reamed
out the shape with a mini-file. There are three holes each, spaced
equidistant apart. I read elsewhere on the Internet that a modeler
performing the same conversion recommended that the Guide Rings
be eliminated on the M60 Drive Sprockets, but I could not confirm
this. The Technical Manuals on the M60 Series of MBT's present
contradictory information and all the photos I've seen of M60
tanks in the fied show the Guide Rings in place.
In my version of the
ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kit, I was missing a couple of parts for
the Drive Sprocket subassembly. I fitted examples from AFV Club's
(Academy) M48H model kit. These fit without problem to the ESCI/ERTL/AMT
Minor detail additions to the Hull come in
blanking off the interior of the external Fire Extinguisher Box
mounted on the Glacis with scrap styrene strip and very short
lengths of .022" solder to mimic the activators. .015"
solder lengths were added as pins for the Armored Fuel Caps -
which go just about hidden in the end result behind the Air Cleaners
and underneath the Turret rear overhang.
The Outriggers (braces
that support the Fenders) are acceptable as presented in the
ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kit, but do benefit from minor thinning of
the tops with a sanding stick to reduce the thickness. Photoetch
replacement parts are too thin for replicating these parts. I
added Grandt Line #135 Bolts to the brackets that secure the
Outriggers to the Hull to replicate missing detail in the model
kit. You'll need eight bolts per Outrigger - 64 bolts in total.
Outrigger #1 (Front Fender) calls for two bolts to be added on
each side. I used Verlinden resin bolts for this detail.
I replaced the kit
Headlight Units with excellent resin examples from Grief Accessories
(#GF 025). Grief's set includes the clear and blackout lights
are separate lenses, providing a superior result when finished.
The model kit's Headlight Guards are also missing the mounting
brackets that are welded to the Glacis. You can easily add this
little detail to enhance the area without a great deal of extra
The model kit's Personnel
Heater Exhaust was improved by drilling out the end and adding
two Clamps made from lengths of Foil and secured with Verlinden
resin bolts. The M60 has a capped port for the xxxxx - which
I made with scrap styrene strip sanded to shape and two Verlinden
resin bolts glued to either end.
Moving to the rear,
a small length of embroidery thread was added to the Tow Hitch
pin, I added Verlinden bolts yet again to the Travel Lock and
incorporated Grandt Line bolts to add missing detail on the Engine
Access Doors and Hinges too. All the Engine Grill Hinges call
for added bolt detail. You can easily add over one hundred bolts
to the ESCI/ERTL/AMT model kit before you realize it.
Poly-Vinyl Track Runs
Academy's M48A5K model
kit provides a suitable set of poly-vinyl tracks that I chose
to fit to my miniature. I couldn't obtain a set of AFV Club track
links in time for my project. The Academy track runs are quite
stiff though, reminiscent of the track runs provided in Italeri's
M4 Sherman and newer LVT series Amtrack model kits.
First off, I joined
the ends of the track runs with the traditional heated tool to
mushroom the connecting pins. This provided a pretty strong bond.
Next, I cleaned up the seams on the end connectors with a steel
wire brush inserted into my battery-powered Dremel tool. Next,
I setup a pot of water on the stove, heating it to approximately
107 degrees. Using a pair of tongs, I dipped a track run into
the hot water for a few seconds (between five and ten). Then,
I took it out of the water, stretched and pinched the ends until
it held the shape I wanted it to be. This method takes out warps
and radical bends old poly-vinyl tracks set into when in a box
for a long period of time. I only had to dip the track runs a
couple of times to straighten them out and set them into a much
better shape to fit around the ESCI/ERTL/AMT Suspension.
Very quickly, I attached
the track runs to my model miniature, for them to cool and setup
in "shape". The fit of my Road Wheels, Idlers and Drive
Sprockets were loose, so I wrapped short lengths of Tamiya Masking
Tape around the locator stubs on every suspension arm. This kept
the wheels tightly attached to the model tank's Hull. As I used
Academy's Drive Sprockets there were no problems with the track
runs fitting tightly around the Sprocket Teeth. In the end, I
saved two hours (lt least) over what I would have by fitting
my first choice AFV Club individual track links. The Academy
poly-vinyl track runs became quite rigid and setup tighty as
they cooled on the model tank Hull, and would eventually only
need a tiny drop of 5-minute epoxy to coak them down to contact
the Return Rollers. They look good in place and you can even
see a little daylight between the links - like you would with
the individual sets.
With the tracks in
place and everything else press-fit for photography, the M60
miniature took on an agressive stance - this was a pretty good
looking tank - just big!
How Close Does the
Miniature Measure Up to the Real M60 MBT?
Technical Manual 55-2350-215-10-15
provides transportability drawings that I used to check the overall
dimensions of the assembled model miniature - more for fun than
anything else. I had already gleefully charged into building
it and wasn't about to go back and take it apart again. The Technical
Manual information is useful for future projects though - who
can build just one M60 series model tank?
The assembled model M60 tank
looks pretty nice from all angles and that got me curious to
investigate how close it matched the real vehicle in overall
Measured from Fender
to Fender (minus the Mud Flap) the model falls some four scale
inches short (3mm) of the posted 273.5 inch length. In comparing
the rest of the model Hull dimensions, the measurement from the
centerline of the Drive Sprocket to the centerline of Road Wheel
#6 falls some 3.5 inches short in scale as well. The Angle of
Departure and Angle of Approach do come very close to the TM
drawings and the distance between the Idler Wheel and Road Wheel
The TM drawings suggest
that the Hull length is 257 inches - which the ESCI/ERTL/AMT
Hull matches in scale. To correct the distance between the Drive
Sprocket and Road Wheel #6, and maintain the proper spacing between
the rest of the Road Wheels and Idler and Return Rollers, would
call for more work than most would consider warranted to gain
a couple of millimeters. The model kit's basic assembly looks
very nice and the shortage is not very noticable in the final
Vertically, the ESCI/ERTL/AMT
model comes out better. The Hull sits above the posted Ground
Clearance of 14 inches - by a couple of scale inches. The overall
height, measured from ground to the top of the Sight Housing
on the Commander's Cupola is 126.3 inches - which my finished
miniature matched despite using an aftermarket Turret and Cupola
from another model kit.
Ground to top of Bustle
Stowage Rack at 98.6 inches matched, Ground to top of Return
Roller/Bottom of upper track run at 54.2 inches matched, Ground
to top of Fender Stowage Bins at 69.1 inches and Ground to top
of Air Cleaner (side-loading) at 72.2 inches matched as well
The model miniature's
width matches up with the TM drawings, with a scale overall width
of 143 inches, Road Wheel track (outer wheel edge to outer wheel
edge) of 130 inches and Track center to Track center of 115 inches.
The Academy poly-vinyl track runs I fitted to my miniature are
narrower than the 28 inch track span posted in the drawing by
2 scale inches, but still slightly extend beyond the Fenders
when attached to the model. Though they look fine once in place,
this isn't in strict fidelity to the real tank. All in all, the
measurement exercise was fun and I didn't feel compelled to mess
around with the Road Wheels, Drivers and Track width this time
around. The model kit captures the look and feel of the M60 MBT
quite nicely for what I was seeking in modeling the subject.