A few last thoughts before I begin.
THE GENERAL IDEA BEHIND PRE-PLANNING
This post may not be very ‘sexy,’ but — for me — it is one of the most crucial steps in my building. Before I glue the first pieces together, I like to have some idea of how I want to build the kit. I start by studying the pictures and other reference materials I may have for the specific subject I am going to model. Then I study the instruction sheet. I pay careful attention to parts that might be missing, or where the instructions might not be as clear as I’d like them to be. This is one time where a little reading ahead of time can often save us from a lot of frustration down the line. Then, after I have read the instructions a few times, I look to see where I plan to make changes. This might be in the order of assembly, or it may be changes to the way the model is built. I might need to do this to correct an error in the kit, or change the kit details to suit the build I am making. Whatever the case, I usually make notes on the instruction sheets. Let’s face it: I’m not a boot any more, and — even when I was — my memory has a tendency to ‘go walkabout’ on me. So writing it down on the instruction sheet is as good as gluing my memory to the page.
SPECIFICS FOR A-12
Now, I have already noticed several areas where I will have to add to the kit as I build it. The most glaring — at least to me — is the absence of the very prominent anti-slip paint that the Marines had on their M60A1s. It was quite rough: almost like zimmerit, only without the regular trough marks. Furthermore, as in the case of A-12, it tended to flake off in rather large sections. This exposed the metal below. If it was the armor, then you saw bare armor. There was no primer on the hulls of the M60A1’s I worked on — ever. However, if the anti-slip paint came off the fenders or sponson box lids, then you might either see the green primer below or — as was often the case — bare aluminum. (Yes, the fenders and sponson boxes on many of our M60A1s were made of heavy aluminum).
After the paint, and probably more obvious to most modelers, I will have to steal a set of aluminum road wheels from my AFV CLUB ‘hanger queen.’ In fact, I may steal more than a few details from the AFV kit. We’ll see as we go along.
Some other things I noticed that I will have to pay attention to all deal with the fact that the TAKOM kit is designed for reactive armor, but A-12 never mounted it (at least, not when I knew her). This means I will have to move some of her OVM gear. The tow cables, smoke grenade boxes and spare oil racks and cans will all be moved to the sides of the turret. I will also have to make sure I use the correct grunt box on the right rear fender. And, finally, I need to acquire the different stowage items that were mounted on the turret hand rails and bustle rack.
A LITTLE ARTISTIC LICENSE
I plan to do something with my build that will differ from the pictures you will see. A-12 had a rather unfortunate accident in which her bustle rack was torn up and patched back together (gun dummies, I swear!). I do not like this look, so I will be building her as she looked before the crew buggered her up. This may mean my kit will not exactly match the pictures, but then, that is one of the beautiful things about our hobby, now isn’t it?
ONE LAST CONSIDERATION
Depending upon how I feel as I go along, I may or may not put the items I modify for this build under rubber. Whether I do or not will depend on one of two things. If I like the build enough that I know I will build another, then I will be more likely to use my modifications as masters. However, if I get enough feedback to suggest you guys would be interested in buying them, then I will definitely make masters as I go along. However, making masters slows things down and this is not the goal of this build. So, we;ll see…