Tamiya/Monogram 1/35 M-60 MBT

KIT #: RS 92038
PRICE: $10.00 for both
REVIEWER: Robert Myers
NOTES: I know we usually review unbuilt kits. However, I purchased these kits as built models online. I wanted to review a re-build and combine of both the kits to produce an M-60 main battle tank


Most of us are familiar with the M-60 in the A1, A2, A3 and RISE versions, but we don’t see builds of the original M-60. So, if you will stay with me, I will start with a little history. The M60, officially the 105 mm Gun Full Tracked Combat Tank, M60, is a first‑generation main battle tank (MBT) introduced in December 1960. It was widely used by the U.S. and its Cold War allies, especially those in NATO, and remains in service throughout the world today despite having been superseded by the M1 Abrams in the U.S. military. 

Developed from the M48 Patton, the M60 series was never officially classified as a Patton tank, but as a "product improved descendant" of the Patton series of tanks. The M60 first saw trials in 1957. It was designed to counter British reports of an existing Soviet 100mm gun and reports of a new Russian tank armed with a 115mm gun. Due to the urgent need to upgrade the 90mm gun in the M‑48 Patton and due to the threat posed by newer Soviet tanks starting to equip the Warsaw Pact Forces; the US Army felt the improved design provided an increased operational range, mobility, required less refueling, servicing, and incorporated a 105 mm gun as main armament. The hull was a one piece steel casting divided into two compartments, the crew in the front, and the engine at the rear.

The resulting M60 largely resembles the M48 it was based on (notice the turret), but has significant differences. The M60 mounted a bore evacuated 105 mm main gun, compared with the M48's 90 mm, had a hull with a straight front slope whereas the M48's hull was rounded, had three support rollers per side to the M48's five, and had road wheels constructed from aluminum rather than steel, although the M48 wheels were often used as spare parts. 

The M60 was the last U.S. main battle tank to utilize homogeneous steel armor for protection. It was also the last to feature an escape hatch under the hull. (The escape hatch was provided for the driver, whose top‑side hatch could easily be blocked by the main gun. Access between the driver's compartment and the turret fighting compartment was also restricted, requiring that the turret be traversed to the rear.)

The M-60 was put into production in 1959, and entered service in 1960. Over 15,000 M60s (all variants) were constructed. In 1963, the M60 was upgraded to the M60A1. It has now been officially retired from US military service. However, many remain in storage and in service with other countries throughout the world. Two side notes, Iran purchased about 150 M-60s. It is not known how many remain serviceable. The M-48 was classified a “Heavy Tank.” The M-60 dropped the heavy tank designation and used the “Main Battle Tank” designation.

It was criticized for its high profile and limited cross‑country mobility, but proved reliable and underwent many updates over its service life. The interior layout, based on the design of the M26/46/47/M48, provided ample room for updates and improvements, extending the vehicle's service life for over four decades.


 This build required two kits; the Tamiya M-60A1 and the Monogram M-48. I did a build review of the M-60A1 back in February 2006. So, lets do the Monogram M-48. The M-48 is molded in an olive green color. The parts are big and easy to handle, the detail is soft. For instance the lift rings on the Mantlet are molded as solid lumps. They would be easy to clip off and replace with wire. Pretty much of the hull detail is molded on, except for headlights and lift rings. The sprue/part attachment is heftier than we are used to in the newer kits. Good clippers are a must.

 The tracks are the rubber band type. They fit very loosely, which in my opinion is good because you can add a little sag to the top around the return rollers. This is a good first build or kids kit.


 This is different. I started by tearing both kits down. It was pretty simple I just took the turrets off. The M-60 hull was going to be used intact, so it was set aside. The main gun tube, side rails, rear stowage rack and commander’s cupola were cut off of the M-60 turret. The main gun tube on the M-48 mantlet was cut off and then ground down with a motor tool to smooth out the mounting area. The new gun tube was cut to length with a slight angle on the mantlet end and simply super glued in place. The mantlet for the M-48 stuck out quite a bit, so I took it off and re-worked the mounting holes so I could slide it back on, much closer to the turret. It makes it look much more to scale and I like it better.

 The commander’s cupola from the M-60 needed the mounting ring ground off and replaced with a newer smaller one. It fit perfectly in the hole left on the M-48 where I had cut the old cupola out. While I had the motor tool out, I decided to mount the turret to the hull. Naturally, the turret ring and the hull opening were not the same. I added sheet plastic to the M-60 hull opening and did a little careful grinding on both until they mated together. The work area was touched up with OD paint, but it doesn’t show under the turret.

Now that it looked like a tank, I added the side rails re-shaped the turret side rails and attached them to the sides of the turret along with installing the cargo rack to the back. The antenna is stretched sprue.  No muss no fuss and an M-60 is born. Well, it is not totally accurate, but I like it. If you do your own conversion, find the images of the tank you want to do. There were a lot off differences in rails and cargo racks.


The painting and final details were a breeze. The same person had built these two kits and painted them in a period correct green. It looks very dark and almost black in some of the pictures, but it is correct for an early 1960s shade of weathered dark olive. I did the cutting and glueing very carefully, since I could not match the paint. The result is a period correct dark green weathered to a flat finish with no paint work on my part and incorrect decals. I can live with the decals.

 I detailed each view port with flat black paint applied with the end of a paper clip. They will get a little gloss later when the black dries. The engine grates were given a wash of my homemade black wash. That is it folks, except for one small detail: It took me 7 years to complete. I did all of the major work in 2006 right after I built my M-60A1 and A2. Then I just set this one on the shelf next to them. Today in 2013, I pulled the M-60 off of the shelf, washed it and did the detailing. You can still see a little of the dust in the pictures, maybe I could claim it is scale dirt!


 This was a fun rebuild! It added a tank to my collection that is not available in kit form. It would make a great first time conversion project for a new tank modeler.  If I was using unbuilt kits, I would switch to a Tamiya M-48 turret for better detail. This conversion will also provide a second scratch building opportunity. The unused M-48 hull could be used for any number of variants....such as a bridge layer, where the lack of detail would not be so noticeable.




Google Images

Robert Myers

November 2013

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