Good times when there are things to do and books to be read at TMN. We spent some time reading the latest Abrams Squad (No#15) from Pla Editions and we thought it was only fair to tell you what we thought about this latest edition in today’s review.
English version (also available in Castellano)
Published by: Pla Editions
Portrait A4 format
Purchase: Directly from Pla Editions as a single issue and as a subscription…
We have just received Pla Editions “Abrams Squad” magazine, which is now in fifteen volumes old. We have watched the subtle evolution of this magazine into what it is today through fourteen other issues here on TMN. This bi-monthly magazine is usually of a good quality, so we look forward to catching up with what’s new in modern warfare.
A quick note about price and advertisements in this magazine - The fact that the adverts in this publication are limited to only a few pages (8 which includes the first and last page) makes it much more enjoyable for the reader to follow. Some magazines just go nuts with their obligations to suppliers and advertisers and ignore what the readers want to see. This one has a page between the stories so the flow is uninterrupted and so the nine euro price ( a little higher than some magazines) seems worth it to me.
Physically this is a pretty regular looking magazine from the outside. A glossy softcover in a portrait A4 format. Open this up to find seventy-two pages of the magazine, so nothing new there. There have been a few editorial changes I must say inside that I have noticed, but I will point them out later. Let’s go page to page and I will walk you thru what’s in this issue.
The editor provides a thought-provoking editorial in his half-page at the start. I always read this one as usually, it is not a whinge fest like some mags can tend to lean on. Usually positive in its approach, it’s the approach I want to see in my hobby. This one focusses on the future direction fo the magazine as a more inclusive publication. Let’s see if more people get involved…
We go straight on to the review section called “Commander’s Display Unit” This section has evolved into two or three pages of reviews of relevant materials, still not enough space to really go through a subject, but it is more focused than in previous issues. In the end, this is often more of a preview than a review as that is all the space permits.
Maybe a good thing this doesn’t take up much room, ‘cos we want to see built up kits! This next section is one of the better ways to review a kit “Remote Thermal Sight” shows one kit built up in a step by step paint only review with comparison pictures of the real thing.
This is the Panda Hobby kit of the 35th scale People’s Liberation Army ZTZ99A Chinese main battle tank. Cesar Gonzalez puts this together with helpful text that will surely make people take a look at this kit a second time.
The first of the builds follows this straight off. The mainstay of the USSR tank force, the T80BV Russian Main Battle Tank in 35th scale. Chris Jerret’s article is a ten-page affair, with not only paint but construction steps captured. Chris has added only a little aftermarket, so it is a good judge of the Trumpeter kit’s feature set here.
Saying that, we get to see a heap of painting and weathering with the focus on the wear and tear these vehicles face. This is a great looking kit in the final wash up, with the small gallery of the completed kit in pictures at the end.
Ohh what a feeling! – next, we go into the desert with “The Persian Predator” vignette from Imad Bouantoun. This diorama features some real pictures in reference as well, as the model kit of an old land cruiser jeep fitted with a TOW missile system on the rear tray.
The simple jeep, TOW missile launcher and two figures in 35th are walked through in a simple SBS “Step by Step” method. This shows you how to maybe make your own and some tips on how I am god them looking so much like the reference picture.
The diorama ground work is a feature that I like to see in these magazines. The realistic way it looks when finished suggests he picked his groundwork supplies very smartly, and they are listed here in the magazine for you to emulate in a dio of your own.
A short illustrated photo history is next – that of the Eagle IV. Mowag’s 4x4 was put on test in the harsher territories in Spain before it was adopted by the German and Denmark armies. Since then it has been employed in Afghanistan, but this story only really covers the early trials. An interesting story nonetheless.
A Favourite with many – next we see Vlad Adamec’s 35th scale Merkava Mk.IID in his “Chariots of Fire from Israel” story. This IDF Main Battle Tank in 35th scale. The new Academy kit has been taken on by Vlad Adamec with again, only the smallest amount of additions which give us a good idea of the finished kit.
This Mk.IID chariot of the IDF is again seen in SBS style, and although this kit build is only five pages long it is an impressive result that a lot of people would like to see more of.
One of the most famous Russian armoured transport vehicles is next, in Thomas Birzer’s story “BMP-3 MICV: A transport with the soul of a warrior” he takes on the 35th scale Trumpeter kit.
The detailing sets and metal tracks do add a lot to the base kit. The smallest of details add a heck of a lot to this model, and the externals are added to with enough interior for you to feature a hatch or two open. The kit is finished off with just enough mud, wear and tear and miles under its tracks to make it look convincing.
We next see a picture story of the popular Flak Panzer the Gepard in “History of the last German Flakpanzer.” With Takom and Trumpeter kits (and we hear MENG also???) coming, this story by Patrick Winnepenninckx gives us quite a lot of detail in pictures and text from the many users of the Gepard. It will be a handy reference by kit makers very soon.
The last page tells us of what is coming in the regular “Turret Basket” feature. Issue 16 is out very soon and it looks impressive.
We enjoyed this, the fifteenth version of the Abrams Squad Magazine, it continues to focus on what people want to see with great models and smart editorial. Let’s look forward to seeing more of the same in what comes next...
You can get your copy of issue #15 of the Abrams Magazine Directly from Pla Editions or their distributors worldwide as a single issue and as a subscription…