The M60 Patton was developed during the Cold War and born out of a need to counter and defeat Soviet tanks such as the T-55 with the 100 mm main gun. The M60 series of Main Battle Tanks served the U.S. Armed Forces as well as many other nations very effectively. The M60A1 and subsequent M60A3 deployed around the globe with the U.S. Army and the USMC. From Grenada, Beirut, Germany, South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq the tanks proved to be reliable and endearing to their crews.
The M60A3 was finally retired from U.S. service in 2005 at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany where they served their final years as OPFOR vehicles. This concluded 40 years of stellar service.
M60s continue to serve around the globe with other nations but they too will likely be eventually replaced by more modern tanks. To name but a few examples, M60A3s can still easily been seen operating in with Turkish, Taiwanese, Egyptian and Lebanese forces up at the present time.
From a modelling perspective the M60 Patton has been a love / hate relationship. We have seen 1/35th scale M60 kits from Tamiya, Academy, Revell-Germany, and Esci over the years. All have attributes and flaws but lend themselves to good looking tanks if effort and research is put into the build. With the announcement of a future 1/35th scale M60A1 from AFV Club fans of the M60 may have something to grin about.
Since 2012 modellers of the M60 have had an option provided by Legend Productions in order to spruce up and add significant detail to a M60A1/A3 project. Designed for the Tamiya M60A3 kit 35140, which was originally released back in the 1988 and included a 1970 produced lower hull, the Legend Productions M60A1/A3 Detailing Set could likely be integrated into the existing Academy, Revell-Germany, and Esci M60 kits.
I am a big fan of detailing sets that contain a balance of usable detailed resin parts and PE parts. Sets such as these provide the modeller with a variety of upgrade and detail solutions to the basic kit details or interpretations of details provided by the base kit model producer.
The thing to remember about detailing sets is that some parts are simply a swap with the original kit parts but others require some skill with respect to modifying or preparing the base kit in order to seamlessly add the detail set parts.
The Legend Productions detailing set gives the modeller lots of options for improving the overall look of the M60 kit with a medium level of effort and skill required.
The detailing set consists of resin parts with some spares included, PE parts, string for tow cables, and brass wire. In total there are 96 x resin parts, 2 x photo etched frets, 3 x sizes of brass wire lengths (0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm), 24Ē of braided string, and a plethora of resin bolts.
The casting blocks themselves are a bit on the heavy side and care will have to be taken in order for them to be removed and the parts made ready for use. The resin bolts will require slicing off from the casting blocks. This appears quite normal for the Legend Productions casting process.
The four pages of colour instructions walk you through adding the detail parts to the hull and turret. The images in the instructions are clear and concise snapshots of the kit. You will need to study both the kit parts and the detailing set parts in order to understand placement and kit modifications.
The detailing starts with the hull and shows the removal of the moulded on fender supports. New dual tubes are provided in resin for the air cleaners. If you are using he Tamiya kit the rear lower hull must be modified by removing a significant portion of the lower rear hull. This is done to ensure the replacement rear hull mates to the base kit. A simple line template is superimposed on the image in the instructions to show the piece to be removed. This should be a case of measure twice, cut once, and trim carefully. An additional piece will also be removed from the upper rear hull.
The replacement fender supports are provided in PE and look very nice on the fret and in the instructions. Resin mounting blocks provide the attachment point on the hull for each support. During this stage Legend Productions also provides the location of additional resin bolts for the fenders.
On the lower hull replacement eyes and towing shackles are provided in resin. This is much more realistic than the moulded parts in the base kit.
The rear lower hull gets additional detailing with wire engine door grab handles, replacement access plates, tow pintles, and a PE cast marking. The tank phone on the left fender is also replaced with a detailed PE and resin version. This is an excellent detail and an important feature on the M60 hull.
Once the power pack access door replacement piece is in place the magic begins to take place. All of the grills that were moulded on the kit piece are now added with individual PE slat grills. Even in the instructions the finished images look excellent and very eye catching. Nicely moulded taillights, gun crutch, and additional PE parts finish of the rear hull in style.
The upper hull gets a much more subtle detailing but the resin and PE details added include resin bin handles, PE stowage bin hinges, resin engine deck access door hinges, and heater exhaust details. Moving to the front of the hull there is a replacement driverís hatch, fire extinguisher activator handle and shroud, front mud guards, headlight guards, raised driverís periscopes, and additional bolt details.
Taking a look at the turret detailing, it starts with replacing the kit mantlet with a finely cast resin version along with PE details. Also included is a replacement resin 105 mm barrel. The barrel in my set is slightly warped and would require a dip in hot water to straighten it out.
The turret sides get a series of details including multi-piece grenade discharger mounts, replacement grenade stowage boxes, and replacement jerry cans. I would have preferred to see PE jerry can racks and resin jerry cans to give a much more realistic 3D effect rather than the jerry can and rack cast together. Finishing up the turret sides are new resin tow cable ends that can be attached to tow cable ďstringĒ that is supplied in the set. I think the use of string to replicate tow cables is a step back in this set and brass wire would have been a much better choice. To mount the tow cables on the turret multiple great looking tow cable loops are included. The little details count when detailing a build and parts such as these will make for a great looking model.
The turret stowage bin gets a makeover with PE mesh for the bottom and sides. The bin will require modification by removing the visible mounting lugs. This is explained and shown in the instructions. Also added to the bin are nicely angled mounting brackets as well as tie down loops for the back of the turret, and vertical and horizontal supports. The result of adding the detail set parts will make the stowage basket a detailed and solid addition to the build.
The top of the turret gets the final detail parts. This includes a new loaderís hatch, a new gunnerís sight housing, and a replacement commanderís cupola.
All of the available 1/35th scale kits have cupolas with varying degrees of detail and accuracy. The resin M19 commanderís cupola provided in this set is really an eye catcher. The super crisp mouldings on the outside lead to a semi-detailed interior of the cupola with the commanderís daylight and passive night sights visible. The sight details are detailed to a degree but not to the extent that they are totally accurate. Some details are missing and I suspect the inclusion of a partial interior will provide a degree of visible interior detail. On the interior it appears that Legend Productions also included a resin version of the .50 Cal ammunition box for the cupola mounted M85. The flexible feed chute to the M85 is not included. There are some other basic details included on the interior walls of the cupola such as control boxes and what resembles the hand crank mechanism. This will add a touch of additional detail and while it is far more than the emptiness in 1/35th scale kit cupolas additional details will have to be added if you want to depict a detailed cupola interior.
The M19 cupola is finished off with brass wire lifting eyes, PE hatch handles, and PE details for the sight housing.
Looking at the issues of existing M60 kits I am surprised that Legend Productions did not include a set of replacement drive sprockets with the correct three holes in the drum. This would have been a major detail and a missed opportunity in this set.
There are other M60 detailing sets produced by DEF Model, Hobby Fan, and Eduard. The sets provide different levels of detail but not all include both resin and PE parts in the same set.
As a follow-up to this set, Legend Productions also sells the M19 cupola as a set on its own. Listed as M60 Tank Cupola LF1249 this was an excellent idea especially with the partial interior provided.
If you have been sitting on one those Tamiya, Academy, Revell-Germany, or Esci M60A1/A3 kits take an opportunity to consider this detail set. This set adds some great details and enhancements to existing M60 kits. It will take a bit of elbow grease to prepare some of the parts of the base kit but once the new details are added it will make a difference in the level of detail.
Highs: Lots of details to add to any M60A1/A3 project. The high quality of the resin parts is in typical Legend Productions style.Lows: Clean up and preparation will be time consuming. Not including replacement drive sprockets is a missed detailing opportunity.Verdict: This set provides a very good option for one stop shopping in order to enhance your M60A1/A3 kit.