Tuesday, December 31

Abrams Squad goes Fourth in today's Magazine review..

We were lucky enough to get to review the third edition of the Abrams Squad Magazine last month – for a brand new mag we found it pretty good but needed a few snips here and there – would we see improvement in number 4? We go all things modem military and have a look in our review..

Abrams Squad 04

English version (also available in Castellano)
Published by: Pla Editions
December 2013/ January 2014
68 pages Portrait A4
Reference:  AS03ENG
Price: 9,00 €
Directly from Pla Editions

For those not in the know Abrams squad is a modern military magazine that is Bi-monthly, has around 68 pages in the A4 Portrait format. The mag usually features around four full builds by very talented modellers and some extra sections, a news and a photo walk around from the front lines of conflicts showing vehicles in action getting “dirrdy” which modellers love to see. For me it is one of the new breed large picture format / not too cluttered / and not jammed full of advertisements that I personally believe is the only way modelling mags will survive in today’s climate of magazine publishing. So that is what is on the menu – but would this month’s flavour be according to our taste?

This Edition should be with dealers and it is available from Pla Editions directly now. It starts off with the editor’s comments which I do find interesting, and then we go into the first section of reviews – called “Commander’s Display Unit:” This is their two page regular section devoted to news and reviews of model kits, aftermarket parts and other material such a books.
Now last edition I was a little “down” on this section as it wasn’t large enough to show anything in depth and it’s kind of lip service to these products – well I still think that – but this edition I have warmed to it a little – maybe it should be more of a “News” section instead? Upcoming items – sneak previews? This would suit the small format later I still think.

The next section – well it’s a page really is called “Pixeled Tanks:”  Pla Editions went to the “Madrid Games Week” to check out the  most eagerly anticipated video games on the market right now – I can see some liking this – but to me I’d rather see a build here or more upcoming projects. I like this section – being a gamer myself – especially that the combo of gaming  and modelling as there is a definite cross over there - BUT I also find Video games are the natural enemy of productivity – so this could be a page better spent on something modelling related. While these two small sections in the first part of the mag are good -  i think that it is the builds are even better for modellers and i would give a few pages from these into more kits being built.

Page eight sees the – “Remote Thermal Sight:” which is an advance look at what is coming up with new kits and this issue sees a detailed look at the forthcoming Trumpeter Fennek” recon car in a world exclusive. A nice feature of this section of the magazine was several comparison views of the real vehicle to show exactly how this kit is coming along. From these comparisons this is a pretty good tool for modellers to gauge quality of kits that are in the mix or soon to be released. I like this section very much.
Fourteen pages are next – they contain the build by Lukasz Orczyc-Musialek of the “BMP-1 Syrian Street Fighter:” - This is a build that tries to replicate one of the most well-known pictures of the Syrian Civil War. The build shows how he turns a regular Trumpeter BMP-I kit into a weathered and rubber protected armoured model that defies they eye.
Lukasz is clearly a very good model builder and his gradual rendition of this vehicle from factory fresh green, to a yellow weathered colour and then a cream sandy desert colour marked with highlights and lowlights of both colours and worn effects and chipping. It makes great reading and it sure could teach most modellers a thing or two.

Ten pages show Kevin Smith (not from clerks) excellent build of the CHALLENGER II, OP. TELIC, IRAQ in 2003: - Kevin shows us how to model Britain’s main battle tank and is set in Iraq back in 2003
Kevin is also a very talented man at the modelling desk – and he shows us how he brought his basic Challenger kit from Trumpeter up to speed with a lot of add on and scratch building, colour modulation and pre-shading with washes mud and dust and pigments to replicate a well-used desert tank that has seen some kilometres but doesn’t look weathered within an inch of it’s life. Restraint and top techniques seemed the order of the day in this article and it paid off!

Just when I think this magazine is becoming a Trumpeter fest we look at the M-561 GAMA GOAT: - is a popular subject with modellers now – and Joaquin García Gazquez built his in a few weeks to show what this kit is capable of after only a short turn around.
Another modelling genius (there are some good people involved in this mag) Mr Gazquez shows us his Gamma Goat from a basic model that came from the box and how he made it as presentable as he could. The bare-bones look at this kit just before paint shows the little bits you could well improve on your own kit. He then paints, weathers and beats up this little utility vehicle quite convincingly to  high standard. The little in progress pictures and text show just how he did it – and this is what we all need to see as modellers. Great stuff again.

In a very well laid out cover page we next turn our attention to the 1/35th scale build of the IRAQI TANK T-55 ENIGMA: Mr Kristof Pulinckx uses Add on Part’s wonderful erstaz armour, an Aber gun and Fruilmodel tracks to detail up his Tamiya T-55.
This kit is a great choice to model because of the thick armour and straight edges that can be highlighted and beaten up to show a well-used desert fighting tank. He not only uses off the shelf add-ons but also good old wire, magic sculpt and Tamiya tape to get the best out of this vehicle. He has used his most important tool – his brain – to get the most out of the extras whilst he devotes several pages to the weathering and painting of his kit.

In six pages Patrick Winnepenninckx displays part of his collection of photographs taken in Afghanistan in the year 2011 – this section is called “GERMAN VEHICLE IN AFGANISTAN, PART 1:” In this first part of their gallery the Abrams crew show you the patrol vehicles of the Bundeswehr. This is particularly good as it shows the “Fennek” recon car we looked at in the preview at the start of the mag amongst other German vehicles – all suffering under sand and heat it is a good study.
 The mag rounds things up with “Turret Basket” which is a preview of what is to come in future editions of the magazine.

This magazine is written by modellers for modellers. They have some heart. I don’t care for the parts that are not builds - but a positive is that there are only five pages of adverts - usually one product a page – these are hardly noticeable and the flow of the mag really is uninterrupted once we get into the real flesh of this magazine and that is some pretty lovely model builds.

A great mag – I recommend it – if this is Modelling 2.0 let’s have more of it.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the guys at Abrams Squad for sending their magazine for us to read and review..