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M60A1 RISE w/ERA (Takom 1/35)


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Here I start new kit build - Marines M60A1 from the Gulf War. This is the ultimate US version of this tank with RISE (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment) improvement pack. In particular, it eliminated large IR projector over the barrel, replacing that with passive "starlight" scopes for a driver, gunner and commander. Another change was the installation of Continental AVDS-1790-2C engine boosting engine power. Smoke discharges were added too.

This model with represent vehicle C-12 from 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 3rd Tank Battalion USMC, Regimental Task Force Ripper during the operation Desert Storm in 1991. At the deployment to the Gulf region tanks were retrofitted with explosive reactive armour to increase crew protection. I have chosen this particular vehicle due to its camouflage features. Most of the tanks were repainted in whole to sand colour, but some of them retained their original MERDC Gray Desert camouflage, with all added ERA panels painted in sand colour. I think it may be quite striking visually. Therefore build will have 2 main parts. First build the tank and paint it in MERDC Gray desert, then add separately painted ERA panels with all bracing needed.

First impressions looking at the kit are very good. There's very nicely represented cast texture on the hull and turret. The tank has classic yet intriguing shape with asymmetric turret - real Cold War warrior. I skip inbox presentation as it can be elsewhere online.

I have started a build by connecting a bottom and top hull. However manual suggest making running gear and underside equipment first, I decided to change an order as fitting hull requires applying some pressure which could damage some delicate parts. After drilling all attachment holes and installing driver's periscopes and obviously careful cleaning of the parts all fit nicely. I couldn't resist not to do the same with a turret 😎


Now I will add all running gear and rest of the hull details.


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Running gear almost ready, just wheels to be finished but not glued yet. As you can see it is really busy and detailed (see the detail of the track tension system). I added also details of the rear plate. The fit is excellent and tight but unforgiving any mistakes. Plastic is on the brittle side and parts require some cleaning from seam lines and sometimes connection points. Anyway, the build is a fun. The right rear light went AWOL, searching for it now...










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Looking good, I like the idea of the colour scheme, I know it was a standard issue vehicle but I have a soft spot for USMC armour and aircraft they always look a bit different. I shall follow this with interest.

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Just a note, MERDC was not in use at the time of desert storm. Any tank not painted sand would be in three color NATO camouflage. RISE panels would be NATO green or sand color. The vehicles were painted in Saudi Arabia with locally sourced sand colored paint. 


Looking for ward to the build. 



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I have made one mistake. MERDC acronym was used only by US Army. US Marines called this scheme as Four Color Camouflage Pattern. Besides name, both were the same. Even then US Army phased out this scheme in favour of NATO tricolour camouflage, it has been used much longer on US Marines vehicles. Most of the US Marines M60A1 were painted in Gray Desert Scheme and minority in Red Desert Scheme.

I agree with you that during Operation Desert Storm vast majority of tanks, both US Army and US Marines were repainted in CARC Tan. But, at the same time, there were serious shortages of that paint. Some tanks, as you mentioned were left in original colours, but in case of US Marines armour units, it would be Four Color Camouflage Pattern. On Primeportal you may find photos of US Marines M60A1's being fitted with ERA panels. There are supports installed pained Tan, but rest of the hull and turret is camouflaged, and definitely, it is not NATO camouflage.

Anyway, I'm digging through the Net to search for further references. 

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AgentG, I truly respect your point and your military service.At the same time I can see such photos as below, (all from Desert Storm operation, the one without ERA is a tank prepared to redeploy back to US). I guess I can call it a cognitive dissonance.






All images in this post are used for a discussion purpose only.

Edited by Sleepwalker
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