The set represents the wind sensor as used on M60A3 tank and is a direct replacement of the kit part. It comes as one part, complete with a mast and a sensor protective “ball”. There was a couple of patterns of wires in the ball and Elefant make two variants of this set with different wire details. The one I received for review represents the style which I think was most common on US Army M60A3 tanks when they were still in service.
My review sample arrived straight from Elefant Corporation and was put in a single blister with several other parts, so I'm not sure what the actual package for this delicate part looks like, but I assume it comes in a similar blister, what should adequately protect it from damage. I know some people make fun of reviews that include detailed information about kit box, but in case of fragile 3D printed part proper packaging means a difference between getting usable parts and getting several useless broken bits of resin… My part arrived in excellent condition.
The part itself (3D printed, as already mentioned) seems to be very accurate in size, shape and details, as much as I can tell from photos of the real thing (and was supposedly designed using the measurements taken of the real thing). As you get the actual printed part, not a cast resin copy, there isn’t any flash or mold parting lines to worry about, just a few tiny support pins on the bottom to remove. If you look REALLY closely and use magnification (or look at extreme macro photo, like below) you can see layer lines created by 3D printing process, but they are practically invisible to the naked eye and should disappear completely under even light coat of paint.
The biggest issue with the product is that the sensor ball, which in reality is a hollow mesh wire sphere with a sheet metal upper dome part and the actual sensor inside, here comes as a solid resin ball with raised details on the surface to represent wires. To be fair there is probably no way to represent the actual wire sphere in this scale in a way that could be made in many copies and sold as a reasonably priced aftermarket product. The only way to give the part an impression of being hollow is to paint the space between raised wire details black.
Unfortunately, I don’t have access to my AFV Club M60A3 kit at the moment, so cannot compare the Elefant part to what’s included in the kit myself. Elefant part certainly looks much better than the one in old Tamiya or ESCI/Revell M60A3 kits and of course you don’t have the mold parting line to remove, that all injection molded parts have.
Now the question is: do you actually need this part to correctly represent the M60A3 tank? Well, yes and no… In reality the actual sensor ball was installed on a tank only during gunnery training. It was an expensive and delicate part, so it was safely stored in its protective case in all other occasions. It would of course be attached in case the Cold War going Hot, but it luckily never happened. So in majority of real life situations M60A3 tanks only had the mast installed (often folded and secured with a strap in a that position) without the sensor ball attached. It wouldn’t be too much effort to remove the ball from the Elefant part, but is it worth the cost to get the set and then remove a part of it?... I leave it to you to decide. In any case the Elefant part cannot be folded – the resin would snap immediately if you tried it.
In conclusion: it is a nicely produced part and as far as I know very accurate dimensionally, but I would not call it essential or necessary, particularly that manufacturing limitations mean that it just cannot entirely accurately represent the real thing in this scale. I can only leave it to you to decide whether it's worthwhile to spend €4.39 to add this detail to your M60A3 model.
Many thanks to Vladimir Ziska of Elefant Corporation for the review sample!
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