1/35 Academy M-60A1, modeled after a tank that I was a crew member in…….. L Troop, 3/3 ACR
Finally finished after 5 years!
I built this tank and had about 95 percent of it finished. It was sitting in my display case awaiting the final touches… So I took a break from the Midway Group Build and finally completed the old girl… It was on my “To Do” list.
This is painted and decaled almost exactly like one of the tanks I served in, when I was in the US Army many years ago. I have included some pictures that I recently found that were hidden away for years at my Mom’s house. These are all photos of tanks that I was a crew member in at one time or another.
This picture below shows me in the Commander’s position during my first ever trip down range as a Commander during a “Live Fire” gunnery exercise. At this time in my military career, I was the Gunner on the Platoon Sergeants tank. As such they trained me to be a Commander just in case something happened to him. That way I could take over the tank in the case of an emergency. We all trained to the next level above the current position we held and operated in. Here the “Green Flag” is still being flown because at this point our weapons were not loaded just yet.
In case you’re wondering, we qualified rather well on this trip down range. I had a great crew… and it helped. We trained with our old M-60’s, using the newer M1 Abrams firing qualification tables. I’m not bragging, but we had a very highly trained tank force. This really came into play several years later during Desert Storm when my old unit, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was deployed with the 82nd Airborne during the early stages when it was still “Desert Shield”.
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Here’s the same tank below, after we returned and had all weapons cleared.
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This picture below shows part of the Armored vehicles lined up from our Cavalry Troop. These pictures were all taken at Ft. Bliss, North of El Paso in the mid 1980’s. If you look close, you will see that no two vehicles were painted “Exactly” the same. In stead, they were “Close Enough”.
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Here are out tanks on the firing line. The tanks displaying green flags have their weapons cleared and nothing is loaded in a chamber. The ones with red flags have live rounds chambered and are ready to fire. You can see the Commander’s M-85 .050 caliber machine gun barrel in the foreground of this photo below.
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Here’s my tank being loaded onto a flat bed trailer in this picture below. Most of the time we drove our tanks out into the desert for field training exercises. On the rare occasion, they were towed out on a flat bed trailer like this.
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This picture below shows my tank again, just as a dust storm is starting to kick up.
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Here’s a photo posted below of me, back when I was a few pounds lighter, and my hair was a lot darker… 🙂
During this time period when this particular picture was taken, all of our vehicles were painted in a solid Desert Sand color.
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Here are a few items from my uniforms back then…
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This is the Academy model, that has the separate rubber outer road wheel parts that are actually made from a different type of material. So far they have held up well… The kit has been upgraded with AFV Club individual tracks. The tracks were kept pretty tight on the real M-60’s, so the track slack is kept to a minimum on my model. I added two “Modern US ARMY Tank Crew Members” crew figures from Dragon / DML. Painting figures is not something I’m good at, so I left them in overall OD Green, which is typical of a uniform we could have worn back then. We wore either solid OD Green, Woodland Camouflage BDU’s or the hated charcoal treated “MOPP” suits, which were also overall OD Green. The later issue MOPP suits were also issued in the Woodland Camouflage pattern.
I added a searchlight, then scratch built a cover for it, (and a wiring power cable too) since we kept our search lights covered when not in use. We also had two different styles of searchlight in use on our tanks. Some tanks in our unit did not have a search light at all. Looking back now, I should have made a cover for the turret side mounted grenade dischargers. Ours were almost always covered, and here again, some of our tanks didn’t have them…
The bustle rack was filled up with various items like ruck sacks, duffle bags, sleeping bag mattress rolls, MRE boxes, ammo cans. etc., very similar to things we often carried back there.
The vehicle numbers and letters were sprayed on using stencils on the real tanks. They were sometimes not exactly level or evenly spaced because of this. I used dry transfers which were kind of hard to accurately place. They actually look pretty “authentic”…
Another addition is a 20 MM ammo can that was sometimes bolted on the Port side rear fender. On some of our tanks we had these. They were nice to keep things in since they were water tight, and kept the annoying desert sand and dust off your stuff inside. If you look closely at the black “Potable Water” cans on the sides of the turret, you will see how I scratch build straps that replicate the real ones that held the cans in place.
The spare track and road wheels were often carried on our tanks in the manner shown on this model. Sometimes, these items would be used in the field to make necessary repairs as needed when parts were not available. This was a typical arrangement, but not always identical from tank to tank. You will also notice spare track pads bolted on the sides of the bustle rack. This is how we stored them, bolted onto various places on the outside of the bustle rack.
I added the towing cables that were mounted on the sides of the turret, and wrapped around under the bustle rack. If you look closely, you will see that these cables have been painted the same color as the rest of the paint on the tank. That is because they were rarely taken off the turret. We simply painted over them since they were a major pain to take off and put back on…
One final set of touches to notice:
The exterior “First Shot / Second Shot” Fire extinguisher pull handles mounted on the front slope were painted red. This was done on the real tank as well.
The exhaust pipe for the heater would burn the paint and discolor it like I have shown. The exhaust pipe for the heater is just ahead of the side “Sponson box” on the Starboard side near the driver’s hatch. You were lucky if the heater worked in your tank during winter. They were troublesome…
Anyhow, it’s great to get the old M-60 finished. It was a very good tank for it’s time. I hope that I have done it justice…
As usual, comments are encouraged…