Sunday, December 17

Read n’ Reviewed: Abrams Squad #22

Paul has gotten his hands on Pla Editions latest - Abrams Squad No# 22 featuring all of the latest in modern warfare modelling from around the world in the one place. See what he thought of issue 22 in his "Read n' Reviewed"....

Read n’ Reviewed: Abrams Squad #22
Available in both English and Castellano languages
Reference: #AS22 ENG
72 Pages
Price 10€
Product Link on the Abrams Squad Website

I missed out on getting to read Issue 21 of Abrams Squad, but I’m back with Issue 22, and one of the first things I noticed while writing up this review, was that the price like everything else in the world has gone up. Thankfully it’s not at Bitcoin rates and has only gone up from 9,00€ to 10,00€, so has the increase in price been worth it? The magazine is the same as the preceding issues and comes in the usual A4 softcover portrait format with glossy pages. The cover features a beautiful model of a Syrian T-72B, but the main focus of this issue is for an M113 revival, which makes a subject choice for the cover somewhat strange.

However, this is rectified in the forward which talks about the rationale behind the choice of this M113 revival which is the new AFV Club release of the aforementioned vehicle. It is strange that kit manufacturers have largely ignored this extremely important family of vehicles and the editor talks about modelling trends and whether they are determined by model kit manufacturers and their releases, or other factors that determine what modellers want to model.

The contents page has been revamped slightly with only page numbers for the nine articles of the magazine with only an image of the M113 TUA which is the subject of the third article. The lack of accompanying images of the other models mean that you have to know the vehicles being named, but results in a less cluttered look.

The first section is the Commander’s Display Unit which is a product run down of various new releases featuring Academy’s 1/35 RoK Army K2 Black Panther, and a variety of after-market items including some resin crates and some enhancements for both 1/72 and 1/35 Patriot missile stations.

The first main article is a build review of the previously mentioned AFV Club 1/35 kit of the M113A1 ACAV. The article starts with an introduction to the vehicle and accompanied by a picture of the finished model, and a photograph of an actual M113. The two images are approximately at the same angle which shows off how well the finished model compares to the actual vehicle. 

Being a build review, the article goes through how the author has built this kit out of the box and features pictures of features on the model, and photos of the corresponding parts on the real vehicle, and like introduction to the article, also set at similar angles to show how AFV Club has gotten the shapes of the kit. From what I can see, AFV Club has done a great job on this vehicle and definitely the M113 model to go to if you want to build one.

The next article follows the M113 revival and features Cheng Hsien Meng’s well beaten M113 TUA (TOW Under Armour), which is an M113 featuring a turret mounting a pair of TOW missiles.

The article can roughly be divided in halves with the first part featuring the build stages using Tamiya’s 1/35 M113A2 with Legend Production’s M113 TUA conversion set, and the second half featuring on the techniques the author has used to achieve this battered and worn finish. The author mentions using a track set by HK Creation Workshop, but they are almost ignored in the article except for a reference to the tracks not fitting well into the drive sprockets but there are no pictures of this set in their original state.

The article is followed by a three-page photographic reference for the M113 TUA in service around the world featuring several different schemes of the vehicle. 

The next article is of Pere Pla’s build of Trumpeter’s T-72B which was inspired by a YouTube video of the tank in action in Syria. The author has achieved a very realistic finish on this tank, particularly the bits of rubble on the fenders which really gives this model that  little extra.

Again, the article can roughly be split into halves with the first half focussing on the build and corrections made to the kit, and also the use of various after-market accessories the author has used. The second half is then devoted to the finishing techniques. This balance in the articles between the build and the finish really does help illustrate how much effort these authors put into their builds, which can sometimes get lost once that first layer of paint goes over them. While the saying goes that a picture can say a thousand words, articles without anything on the build do not necessarily do justice to the effort the builder has put into their model.

The next article is Ian Barraclough’s Type 653 Type 84 modified from Takom’s Type 69-II and is an amazing conversion because no conversion set exists for this vehicle so the author has scratch-built his own modifications.

Having so many details needing to be built from scratch, the article unsurprisingly is split with a more slant towards the build of the vehicle, but only very minor. Funnily enough as I mentioned above, the author also talks about how it is a shame that all his scratch built details had to be covered in paint. 

Imad Boutantoun uses a variety of kits and accessories in his diorama of a scene from Grozny during the first Chechen War. It is a beautiful diorama and the only that is missing is a bit of smoke, but that would only obscure the wonderful job that the author has done. 

Again, there is more focus on the build and the author goes through all the elements of the diorama starting with the base and buildings, the vehicles used, the figures and various details that help bring the scent to life. The article is rounded off with shots of the various details from different angles and is a real testament to the amount of work that the author has put into this. 

The last article is a pictorial of The Museum of Military History in Johannesburg featuring the vehicles and artillery pieces that are on display. They’ve also included an interesting picture of an armoured train in the Train Museum of Windhoek in Namibia which is an early MRAP on rails. Definitely one for the Ian Barraclough’s of the world.

I really enjoyed reading this issue of Abrams Squad and the increased focus on the build stages on all the articles really does help illustrate the amount of effort the author’s put into these models. So, is the magazine still worth the extra cost? I certainly think so. Highly recommended.

Paul Lee

Thanks to the guys at the Abrams Squad Magazine for sending this to us to read and review – you can get it from this link on the Abrams Squad Website