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Robert Royes
246 articles

MBT 70, a cold war mistake, Aurora, 1/48

June 6, 2018 · in Armor · · 20 · 4.2K

Having recently arrived with their new tanks, the crews were confident yet apprehensive about their ability to confront the new tanks from the East. They hadn't even been on maneuvers yet when the alert was sounded, they made it to their positions, hoping it was a drill but ready to face the eastern bloc tanks, they never got the chance, Some body pushed the f***ing button!

Now reality, the MBT-70 never went into production, it was one of those cold war weapon systems that promised the world, over budget,over designed, over due, it thankfully was cancelled after about a dozen development units were built.

's kit is very basic, I got it off the net, it must have been exposed to some heat over time as there were some parts fused to the vinyl tracks. It included soldiers armed with what looks like Stoner 63 assault rifles.

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. NIce Robert. I wasn't aware there was a kit for this beast

  2. I wasn't aware of the TANK, much less a kit of it...looks like it turned out pretty well, though - despite being exposed to the heat as you suggest. Nice work, Robert.

  3. I had the opportunity to stand next to the real one... It was parked outside the Patton Museum of Armor when it was at Ft Knox, Kentucky. If I remember correctly, the beast had two sets of tracks on each side. They were mounted side by side to improve the "foot print"...

    Somewhere I have some color photos of it...they date back form the early 1980's. They are probably in with the box of F4U restoration photos I took and have been looking for...

    Now most of the collection has been moved to Ft Benning in Georgia...

    Your build looks great as always... nice job.

    • Louis, I THINK you're referring to the ill-fated T-90 super heavy (95 tons) assault tank that carried a big (for WWII) 105mm gun. It did have 2 sets of tracks, and yes, it gave a better "footprint" (to shore up those massive tons!) but the reason the outside track section could be taken off, hooked together and towed like a small trailer was because ONLY when the outside tracks were removed could the beast ride on a US railroad flatcar to deliver it to wherever they needed them. Only 2 were made, the other having burned into uselessness during its' short testing life. It had 14-16" of solid armor steel in front.

      As for the MBT-70, it was actually relatively successful. Except for one feature. The MBT70 (and the lower-budget XM803 made after the Germans pulled out from the project) featured the driver's position at the front Left side of the turret! (Where your guy is standing) Because of this, there was a stabilization system needed to keep the driver facing forward, no matter which way the turret OR chassis was "pointed!" Believe it or not, it made many drivers something close to seasick or motion sick. Not good at all! That reason was the final (and biggest reason) the tank was cancelled. The M1 Abrams uses many subsystems developed for the MBT70, like the hydraulic shocks, and the fire control system (which itself was an offshoot from the original FC systems installed in the F16) plus others I don't remember. Why do I know this? Because I had the pleasure and honor of having been picked as crew on the HIMAG test vehicle. The HIMAG - or Maggie as we called her was actually built during the testing of the MBT70 but other than the hydraulic shocks and same fire control and the Lycoming engine, they were totally different. Maggie only LOOKED like a tank. MBT70 WAS a tank. When we were in testing of the HIMAG, the techs and I had to the Patton Museum, get permission from them, and then we "broke into" the MBT70 which was parked next to my barracks at the Army & Armor Engineer Board (a testing unit of experimental equipment) and removed a couple parts to repair something in Maggie's FC system. I learned a lot about the MBT70/XM803 vehicles because about a quarter of the 20-25 civilian techs had BEEN part of the original testing of the two vehicles. Another factor that was mentioned for cancellation was the 1Million dollar pricetag. That was probably talked about most. A short decade (and a bit) later when the M1 tanks were developed, the price shot up to 2.3 MIllion bucks and eventually went higher, 1st with the M1A1, then the M1A1 Heavy Armor and now the M1A2 series. I think they're over 7.5 Million now, but I'm not sure.

      There's your Cold War Mistake history update in a nutshell.

  4. Wow, Robert! That’s a blast from the past. I built that kit around 1971. Nice work and thanks for the memories!

  5. Like Louis I saw the one at the now closed Patton Museum at Knox. It was a beast, and I'm not sure it would have done well on European roads and bridges. Nicely done Robert for ancient kit lacking a lot of detail.

  6. Never heard of this bad boy. Nice work on an old and bare kit!

  7. Profile Photo
    said on June 7, 2018

    Always liked the look of the mbt 70 Robert. Dragon do a 1/35 scale one now.

  8. Never seen this tank before. Aurora had some enjoyable subjects the Tiger ii diorama I built as a boy is one I remember particularly.
    Nice work Robert,great to see this kit!

  9. As a child of the sixties (64 vintage) I grew up with nightmares about the bomb. Only last night I dreamed of an attack and I woke up full of those feelings of nuclear anxiety that defined my adolescence and early adulthood in the 70's and 80's.

    Really unusual subject, Rob, did you go looking for it or just find her?

    • Found it by chance on the net, along with Aurora's M8E2 munitions carrier. Growing up in the same era, I had a recurring dream that I attribute to the anxiety going around during the Cuban missile crisis.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

      • One wrong decision. Makes you think...

        On a lighter note, you gonna build that M8?

        • One more note, all the training we got to survive an N.B.C. attack was for naught, first the carrier was a prime target, they wouldn't miss us. and second who wants to survive. Yes I will be building the M8, got to supply the M109 I did.

  10. Nicely done, especially with the tracks fusing to things. I must have built 2-3 of these as a kid. I still remember how those old Aurora kits smell when you opened the box.

  11. Wow from reading the very interesting comments, this must have been the Chrysler LeBaron with real Corinthian leather of the cold war!

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