PICKING A SPECIFIC SUBJECT FOR MY BUILD
Now that I had the kit picked out, it was time to decide which M60A1 I wanted to build. If you will remember, I said I want to use this first build to learn how to make a kit look realistically weathered using the newer products that have come out since I left modeling. Unfortunately, this part was not as easy as the first. Over-weathered models are one of my ‘pet peeves.’ In my opinion, most modelers go w-a-y overboard when it comes to weathering their models. Operational tanks simply do not look like the heavily rusted, chipped and faded builds I see on-line these days. So, if I was going to learn how to build a heavily weathered model, I had to find a subject that would actually look rusty, chipped and faded. This way, I could avoid getting ambushed by my ‘pet peeve.’ Luckily, I found the perfect tank — several of them, in fact.
As you may know, I was a Marine M60A1 tank mechanic for nine years. My second duty station in the Marine Reserves was at Camp Elliot, just outside of Mirimar Naval Air Station. In fact, the tank ramp sits right on the approach end of the active runway. In the picture below, the approach path would be just over the top of the building in the background (as you look at the picture, the jets would usually pass from right to left over the top of the building; frequently in a carrier landing pattern which would bring them in from a left-hand turn which passed over your right shoulder in this picture). I was stationed here from the fall of 1985 until the summer of 1987. Anyway, dead center in this picture is the perfect subject of my first build: A-12, a.k.a., ‘UNTOUCHABLES.’
The reason I chose A-12 is because she had some very interesting features that were tailor-made to my purpose for this build: to learn how to weather using acrylic finishing products. She was dusty, rusty and chipped. She also had a lot of different types of oil stains. In short, a perfect subject for this build.