M60A1 WITH ERA
Tamiya's M60A1 with ERA was used for this model, and to be honest I'll probably build the same vehicle sometime in the future but using an Italeri M60 kit plus a Tamiya ERA sprue, as the
extra armor is rather better than the base model onto which Tamiya grafted it...
Anyway, as I said this is the Tamiya model rather than Academy's, but detailed using (mostly) the Verlinden â€śM48-M60 Update
Kitâ€ť to supply items like the fender braces that are hard to scratchbuild. The model was otherwise built pretty much straight from the box, the only real additions being the external stowage. This was fitted so as
to try and replicate the tank named "American Express" as shown in a few photos in the Concord book â€śBlitzkrieg in the Gulfâ€ť, since Tamiya provides decals for this vehicle.
To do this, the covered
smoke grenade launcher on the right-hand side came from the Gunze Sangyo M60A1 with ERA kit. (Should you ever come across this one, don't buy it unless it'll only cost you the same as the new Italeri M60s! The reason I had the parts left is because I'd bought the kit cheaply second-hand, and decided the ERA parts weren't up to scratch.) Also, six spare track blocks were taken from Tamiya's â€śModern US Accessory Setâ€ť and glued into place on the glacis (with wire to hold them down, as per the original), and all sorts of stowage that looked like what was visible in the photographs of the real tank was scrounged up and painted. The crew of the real vehicle had bolted ERA fixing brackets to the outside of the armor to tie stowage to, and I made these from the brackets in the Gunze-Sangyo kit. With a bit more work, you could bend them from metal strips, but as I had the parts at hand, why bother with more work than necessary?
One thing that took some thought to get right was the clear plastic sleeve fitted over the commander's M85 machine gun barrel, visible in both photos of American Express that I had when building the model.
Eventually, I made it by cutting a rectangle of clear plastic kitchen foil, about twice as long as the gun barrel and maybe 5 mm wide. This was wrapped around the barrel, after which I used fine, white thread to tie
it down behind the muzzle brake and just in front of the gun shield. Due to its color, the thread is almost invisible, making the whole thing look pretty convincing.
The crew figures are Verlinden, from their old
â€śUS Tank Crew 1980sâ€ť set. They were used straight from the box, with their uniforms painted in the six-color desert camouflage pattern. They're not totally accurate for a Gulf War US tank crew in that they
should probably be wearing PASGT vests, but I figure that's nit-picking...