by: Jeff [ ]
Originally published on:
The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Type 60 armored personnel carrier was developed in the late 1950s, and was the first APC to enter service since the end of WW2. Production started in 1960, and an estimated 755 units were built before production ceased in 1972.
Its armament consisted of a single 7.62 mm machine gun mounted in front of the hull, and a 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on the hull roof. The relatively thin armor of the Type 60 provided protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The vehicle had a crew of four, including a commander, a driver, a bow machine gunner, and a heavy machine gunner. Six infantrymen entered and departed through the rear and/or top doors. Power for the 11.8 ton APC was provided by a 230 hp Mitsubishi 8 HA 21 WT turbocharged diesel engine. The Type 60 could ford up to 1 meter, but it wasnít amphibious, and didnít have any Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) protection. There were four additional variants:
SV-60 self-propelled 81-mm mortar carrier
SX-60 self-propelled 106.7-mm mortar carrier
an NBC reconnaissance vehicle
Type 75 engineering vehicle
Sometimes referred as the SU-60, Fine Molds recently released a 1:35 scale model of the vehicle, which is no longer used by the JGSDF.
The kit has a multi-part hull with all hatches that can be positioned open or closed, detailed suspension with separate road wheel arms, link and length track with preformed track sag, and clear periscopes for the commanderís and driverís hatches.
Inside the box are:
four green injected-molded sprues
one clear sprue
the decal sheet
an approximately 7.5Ē piece of string
the instruction booklet
Sprue A contains the top and bottom portions of the hull, the parts to make up the two MGs, the crew hatches, a few suspension parts, the on-vehicle tools, and some other items.
Sprue B contains the hull sides, front and rear parts, the troop doors, fenders, on-vehicle maintenance tools, tactical lights, horn, guards, and the engine compartment bulkhead, which is really just an internal brace.
There are two sets of Sprue C, which contain duplicate sets of the road wheels, drive sprockets, idlers, support rollers, torsion bar arms, link and length track pieces, shocks, fuel can with molded on mounting bracket, the headlights, and other small detail parts.
Sprue D contains the clear periscopes for the Commanderís hatch molded into one ring, three clear rectangles for the Driverís periscopes, a single internal portion of a hatch periscope for the Bow Machine Gunnerís hatch, and the headlight lenses.
The decal sheet contains 32 markings for six different units:
10th Tank Battalion, Camp Imazu
Infantry School Regiment (Mechanized), Camp Takigahara
101st APC, Camp Takigahara
4th Tank Battalion, Camp Kusu
12th Tank Battalion, Camp Soumagahara
7th Tank Regiment, Camp Kita-Chitose
Most of the decals are white characters with a small amount of clear carrier film around them, while a few are yellow or multi-colored markings for the Japanese flag and unit logos. The decals are printed in register, while the decal film appears to be thin.
The instructions are contained in a 12 page B&W booklet. The first two pages apparently discuss the history of the Type 60, but itís all printed in Japanese. The third page has drawings of the sprues and decal sheet. Sheets 4-9 contain the twenty assembly steps shown in isometric line drawings with the parts numbered, detail paint colors, the "detail up options" for replacing some of the plastic parts with the PE set, and some assembly options. Sheet nine also appears to indicate the cost for purchasing additional sets of the sprues and other items. Sheets 10-12 show the six finishing schemes that can be made from the decal sheet. Sheet ten also has the Color Reference chart listing all of the recommended paint colors, including the English names and apparently the Mr. Color and Tamiya Paint numbers.
The molding of the parts is fairly detailed with little flash, and most of the ejector pin marks are on surfaces that will either be on the inside or mostly hidden from view.
There are some accuracy issues, however: the box-like hull is constructed from eight pieces: the front glacis has large indentations for locating the tow cable brackets and the light brackets, but the hull MG mount has indentations on each side instead of the smooth, rounded shape of the actual part. Although the part doesnít show any welding marks, the actual hull has continuous weld beads along some of the joints. The hull sideplates do not have the vertical weld bead along the middle of each side.
The front fenders have a single mounting flange instead of two. The lower front hull plate has the stiffening gussets molded onto it, while the bolted back plate is molded separately. The rear hull plate has the taillight housings molded onto it, while most other items are separate parts. The solid molded light housings and guards unfortunately do not show that they are actually steel tubes with the light units mounted inside.
The rear troop doors have portions of the hinges molded onto them, and the fuel can brackets are molded onto the fuel cans with two mounting flanges on each side. The hydraulic jack is molded onto its mounting bracket, yet the angled support stiffeners and the retaining strap are not provided. The rear fenders have the rubber mud flaps molded onto them and are too thick. Good news: the ejector pin marks are on the inside of the troop top and rear hatches, and since no parts are provided for the interior, this probably shouldnít be much of a problem.
For the suspension, the drive sprockets are assembled from two parts that mostly look accurate with the correct number of teeth, slots, bolts, etc. But the parts have soft bolt and guide teeth details. The idler wheels are assembled from four parts to recreate the oval slots in the rims, but the parts have soft details, and should be thinner with less-rounded edges. The road wheels are assembled from three parts to recreate the raised lip in the rims, however the parts have soft details on the bolts, and the four-bolt hub doesnít protrude far enough.
The support roller brackets should have ďdivided legsĒ instead of being molded solid, but at least the road wheel arms and shocks are provided as separate items. The tracks have the rubber pads molded on the inside and outside, along with the track sag molded into the top sections, but the parts have soft bolt details, and the guide teeth should be hollow with through holes on all sides along with chamfered tops. The track link ends should be a little larger and more-rounded with flattened ends, and the holes for the track pins are missing. Since the road wheel arms are separately molded, the suspension could be configured for rough terrain, but the tracks would need to be replaced with individual links to do so. Unfortunately, individual link tracks are not available at the time of this review, and even though the suspension components and tracks look similar to those used on M41 Walker Bulldogs, they are not.
The commanderís cupola has the bolted frame around each of the six vision ports and the domed hatch. The vision ports are provided as a clear styrene ring, which also gives you a mounting ring for the cupola assembly to the top of the hull. The driver's hatch has a rotating top and three rectangular pieces of clear styrene for the vision ports. The hull gunnerís hatch has the vision block provided as a clear styrene part. Unfortunately, the hatch is too thick, and the hinge spring is poorly-defined. All of the hatches have some interior detail and can be positioned open or closed. Apparently not all versions of the Type 60 have what appears to be a fresh air vent at the front top of the hull.
The 12.7mm MG weapons station is made up from nine parts, including a separate feed cover, grips, charging handle, and two-part gun shield, but a 12.7mm MG ammo can isnít provided to put in the overly-thick mounting bracket. The two parts of the 12.7mm MG Shield are decently-shaped, however they both are too thick, the larger shield has soft bolt details, while the smaller shield has rounded corners. The hull MG barrel looks a little thin in diameter and should have a more tapered tip, along with many more rows of holes in the perforated jacket. The bullet guard does look fairly accurate.
The antennas are molded fairly well, though the whips are thicker than they should be for scale accuracy. Additionally, the right side base should be hollow plus allow tilting the antenna to the rear. The on-vehicle maintenance tools are all molded separately, but the brackets are all molded onto them and look like plain straps instead of the real brackets with wing nuts. The clear headlight lenses are smooth and do not have the line pattern to match the real ones. The light guards also appear to be overly thick, but these could probably be thinned to be more realistic.
The tow cable has plastic molded loop ends and string for the braided wire rope; unfortunately the one end that is attached to the hull top is molded integrally with its mounting bracket. Separate tow shackles are provided for attaching the cable to the bow of the hull, and individual mounting brackets (similar in style to some of the ones on Sherman tanks) are provided for the top of the hull. No additional stowage items are included, and pictures on the internet of actual Type 60 APCs show little additional gear on the vehicles.
The Optional Photo Etch Set
Fine Molds also produces an optional MG-76 Extra Detail Set for JGSDF Type 60. The kit instructions have small hexagons with the words "Detail Up Option" in them located in various assembly steps to note where the separately-sold PE set parts can add detail or replace a plastic part. This PE set provides 43 parts to replace the light guards, 12.7 mm heavy MG ammo box mounting bracket, on-vehicle tool mounting brackets with wing nuts, visor guard for the driverís periscopes, mesh engine grills, antenna guard, manufacturer's nameplate, wing nuts, two sizes of chains, and other items.
The PE fret appears to also contain forms to assist in creating the shapes of the light guards and the antenna guard. The one glaring omission from the PE set are replacement Jerry Can Mounting Brackets and straps. All of the PE parts are more true to scale thickness, more detailed, and even provide items that are not in the original kit. Based on the MSRP of the Type 60 kit, most comparable kits from other manufacturers would have included this PE set in the kit.
Fine Molds has produced a fairly decent 1/35 scale kit of the JGSDF Type 60. Some of the details are soft, and other than the insides of the hatches, the lack of any interior is a bit of a disappointment, considering this is a troop carrier with large doors. Otherwise this kit should build up into a decently-detailed model. And if the optional Fine Molds PE set is added, along with a few other detail improvements, this model could be a unique and different award winner. Modelers of intermediate skill should be able to handle this kit easily.