by: Darren Baker [ ]
I believe I was still at school the last time that I took a close look at a 1/72nd scale armour model and if my memory serves it was the tanks released by AirFix in a blister pack stuck to a card. As such I was very interested in taking a look at a new Braille scale armour model from Revell of Germany.
This is the introduction provided by Revell of Germany with this model.
Developed from the middle to the end of the fifties, the M60 was introduced into the US Army in its original form in 1960 as a successor to the M48. In October 1962 the version known as the M60 A2 with improved turret went into production, to be superseded by the M60 A3 in May 1980. After the introduction of the M60 A3 a considerable number of M60 A1s were taken out of retirement and upgraded to A3ís. The M60 A3 was powered by a 12 cylinder Continental AVDS 1790-2C diesel engine that developed 750 bhp at 2,400 rpm, giving the M60 A3 a maximum road speed of 48 kmh. The vehicle could cross 2.59 m wide trenches, 60% gradients and after a brief preparation could ford water obstacles 2.4 m deep. It had a combat weight of 52,617 kg and was crewed by commander, gunner, loader and driver.
Instead of the stereoscopic rangefinder of its predecessor, the M60 A3 was equipped with a laser range finder and an M 21 computerised fire control system together with thermal imaging aiming and tracking equipment. In addition it had a weapon stabilisation system and a cross wind sensor. The M68 105mm cannon was equipped with thermal sleeve, it now had a 7.62 mm M240 acting as coaxial MG. The commanderís cupola with 360 degrees traverse and a 12.7mm Fla-MG was taken over unchanged. In action 63 x 105mm cartridges, 900 x 12.7 mm cartridges and 6000 x 7.62 mm cartridges were carried in the vehicle. An automatic halon fire extinguisher system and smoke projectile system consisting of six dischargers on each side of the turret made up the equipment of these vehicles, which remained in service with the US army into the 90ís.
This model is packaged inside a plastic bag which is then packaged inside an end opening card box. The model consists of four plastic sprues, a decal sheet and an instruction booklet.
First impressions are very good judging by the contents. There is no flash to talk of and the ejector pin marks that I found are all hidden on the completed model. There are a few flow lines present on the larger mouldings, but I was unable to detect any issues with these having run a finger nail over them. The only possible complaint at this stage is that the gates between the moulded parts and the sprues are a little larger than I would expect.
Wheels, Suspension and Tracks
The tracks supplied with this model are link and length and a very well moulded in my opinion. There are no ejector pin marks anywhere on these tracks and detail is very good, I have seen 1/35th scale tracks that are not as good as these offerings. The suspension arms are all individually moulded, something I also did not expect to find. The track tensioners and bump stops are also supplied as individual mouldings. After having read the previous statements you will not be surprised to learn that all of the wheels are singular mouldings and yes that includes the return rollers. The detail on the road wheels and drive sprockets is again good. The only concern I have at this stage is that the return rollers are I believe over scale.
The hull has been approached in the same manner that a 1/35th scale model of this vehicle usually is. You get and upper and lower hull with the fillets under the sponsons supplied separately. As you would expect a large number of details are moulded as a part of the upper hull. But this looks to have been well done by Revell of Germany. Items such as the towing pintle, lights, light guards and barrel lock are all supplied as individual mouldings; the only parts that bother me here are the size of the light brush guards due to the limitations of the plastic mouldings. The only other change I would have liked to see is the drivers hatch provided separately.
The turret has some very nicely detailed parts and options going for it. Both hatches are supplied separately and so can be displayed opened or buttoned up. The water proofing cover on the gun mantlet has some very nice detail present, which lifts this area a lot. The main gun is a little disappointing being supplied in two halves with a separate muzzle, on the plus side the muzzle is hollowed out and so no drilling required here. The mated surfaces in the barrel I can see being a pain to hide after being joined. The commanderís cupola is made up of several parts and again has a nicely reproduced canvas mantlet cover. Revell of Germany have also opted to supply the bustle rack in several parts and I am unsure about how I feel reference this, being made of several parts may be more accurate, but I can see putting it together being a royal pain.
Revell of Germany has supplied 4 finishing options for this model, which are;
US Army, C Company, 3rd Armoured Division, 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armour early 80ís West Germany
US Army, B Company, 1st Armoured Division, 1st Battalion, 1st Cavalry, 1991 West Germany
US Army, B Company, 8th Infantry Division, 3rd Battalion, 68th Armour, 1988 West Germany
US Army, C Company, 1st Battalion, 210th Armour 1990, Fort Drum, New York, USA
I am very impressed with how far Braille scale kits have come having looked at this offering from Revell of Germany. I was not expecting so many parts needing to go together, and the level of detail provided present. I do know that some photo etched parts to replace things like the light brush guards would lift the model further, but I am still very impressed with what the model offers. The price I would class as pocket money prices and so a great way of dragging youngsters into the hobby. Well done Revell of Germany on this one.
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/Revell