Israeli Army M60 AVLB with 11 metre Tandem Bridges (Tagash Tsemed)
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This project was difficult to get off the ground because of the lack of reference material, but I eventually got it started in 2013. My friend Carl Schulze helped me out with a copy of the US Army user manual, which provided a lot of detail and explained how the AVLB worked, although the Israeli Army version of the M60 AVLB has minor differences to the standard U.S. Army equipment. I had to create my own scaled drawings of the bridge, comparing published measurements against photographs to my best estimations. The model was built as a master for a conversion kit for the Revell 1/72 M60A3 kit 03140, which hopefully will be produced by Ian Hanratty at Friendship Models. Most of the components have been made separately for ease of casting, so there was a lot of dry fitting of parts to check their fit and position. The M60A3 hull was modified by plating over the turret ring and building the commanders and drivers cupolas. New engine air filters were added along with rear fender storage box and rear bridge support. Many smaller items were added to complete the hull, MG mount, infantry telephone, spare track links, shovel, fire extinguishers, antenna mount, jerrycan holder, ammunition box holders and the lower hull attachment points. Before the upper and lower hull was glued together, a lead fishing weight was hammered into shape to fit inside the hull to counter balance the bridge, well two bridges to be exact. Making the launching mechanism took quite a bit of time checking the different positions of the bridge launching sequence and making sure that components did not foul each other. The hydraulic piston rods were made from polished aluminium tube with a plastic rod inner. The length of these had to adjusted to fit their position in the launch sequence and brass pins were used for all of the pivot points on the launch mechanism. With the mechanism complete, the two bridge trackways were contructed including the bridge fitments to fit the launch mechanism. The Isrealis have replaced the original M60 track with Merkava track, so I used OKB Grigorov Merkava track. This track is finely detailed and is easy to bend into shape with the aid of a hairdrier. The AVLB and bridges were given a coat of Halford grey primer to tie all the different components together and then over sprayed with Vallejo Model Air (71.142) IDF Sinai Grey 82. Johnsons Klear was applied to protect the acrylic paint from a series of Humbrol enamel washes, which lightened the base colour quite considerably. In the heavily weathered areas a small amount of plaster of Paris powder was mixed with the dust colour to add a bit of bulk and texture. Larger amounts of plaster powder was added to dust colour to create a paste to apply behind the road wheels and on the lower hull.

Copyright Tim Neate