Sunday, August 9

Abrams Squad No 11 Read n' reviewed…

We have been looking at each of Abrams Squad’s magazines as they have come out and now we have the preview of number 11 of the modern military model magazine – we thought we would show you what is featured in this latest mag in our preview…
Abrams Squad 11
English version (also available in Castellano)
Published by: Pla Editions
Bi-monthly publication
76 Pages
Portrait A4 format
Price: 9€
Purchase: Directly from Pla Editions as a single issue and as a subscription…

Abrams Squad has turned 11 and this issue hit our desk last week to immediate interest. We always look to see how this magazine is progressing because although it seems to follow a formula the editors are often tweaking things. Indeed the editorial of this edition reflects this as the intro talks about the future of printed magazines. In the past we have said that this would be one of the mags that survives if the revolution comes. Let’s see if the good form has kept up in this volume.
Physically this magazine is a glossy softcover in A4 in seventy four pages in this issue. There are not many advertisements in this mag – a slightly higher issue price is the business model with only ten pages of ads placed in between the builds inside so they don’t really get in the way. I much prefer this model when reading a magazine.

While the builds are the main focus there are several diversions in this magazine. The start of the magazine features four pages of small but useful reviews. I say small but useful because they choose to look at simple but interesting subjects that can be covered in a limited amount of time and space. This section – called “Commander’s Display Unit” has evolved positively over time and I look forward to seeing it now.
Not just plastic and model enhancements but also books are covered in the review section along with tracks, videos, barrels and resin parts.
If you think that a build review is the best review then the next section is for you – “Remote Thermal Sight” is a section where Cesar Gonzalez builds a kit (this time the Trumpeter BMP-2) in just the plastic with no paint. He shows us the plusses and minuses of the kit and nicely we have some comparison pictures with the real thing often in the same angle or view. This helps the reader compare for themselves the quality of the kit. This is reviewing done very well as the modeller can TELL you about the kit rather than just talking about it – you know what this difference means.
We go into the builds next with quite an unusual vehicle – the huge self-propelled gun called the 2S7M Pion. Trumpeter’s fresh off the press kit is Mark Chisholm who actually made me want to look at the video this SPG after he mentioned how he had been won over by it’s charms. 
This kit, although massive has been given plenty of detail in it’s construction and in spite of the colour being in just one shade plenty of instruction has been given in the pages of how to get a lot of variation through colour modulation and fading techniques. Some deft but not over done mud and soil has been added as well as streaks and metallic effects. 
Next we look at Andrey Grechkin’s model of the Pakistani Type-69 tank that got a lot of attention at the IPMS show in Mosonmagyaróvár in Hungary. This old soviet war machine has been altered from the Tamiya kit with the help of the Legend and Voyager sets and Masterclub tracks. With all this alteration come a lot of extra work and the effort needed to finish it off to such a high standard.
Andrey shows us just how he got to the end of the build with this article. Although there is not enough on the building of the kit featured in this story for my liking – not by a long shot – there are several pages of the painting and weathering here. I would say that next time the modeller should let us in on just how he got the base with so many additions ready to paint. This does not take away from the modeller’s skill and finishing techniques. He also shows you in smaller pictures the little details that most likely go the tongues wagging about this build. Interesting. 
The next kit is never far from the press when modern warfare is concerned. The Leopard 1A4GR of the Greek Army from MENG. This kit is pretty good by itself but that hasn’t stopped the modeller adding a lot of accessories to the mix. The result looks pretty pleasing to the eye on first look.
This article is a lot better weighted with much more effort going into the making of the kit as well as the painting and the weathering. The modeller - Łukasz Orczyc-Musiałek, is a very skilful finisher and a real find for this magazine as his story is pretty engaging. The end product is worthy of the cover image. 
We go to the ancient battleground of Afghanistan next with this build of the twin build of sorts – the RG31 and BRDM-2 Diorama is very nicely done, and the modeller Vlad Adamec has a good eye for composition and a fair bit of imagination. The scene is an MRAP passing the scene of a Russian wreck from their own war in Afghanistan. Pretty stirring stuff. 
Both of these vehicles are covered in this build. Although we spend a little more time on the Canadian RG31 MRAP which is kinda the star of the dio. Insides and out are shown in construction with resin additions and some nice painting. The outside is detailed pretty skilfully and not only this but the Russian AFV are shown with easy to follow “SBS” (step by step) building guides. This is indeed the style carried through the whole magazine.
We spend some time looking at the fallen and rusted (but not overdone) Russian BDRM and the diorama base it is all placed in as well. This is the best put together article in this magazine. 
We then have the walk around section called “Victory Day Parade, Moscow 2015” This is where we take a look at the real world for reference and things of interest in the modern AFV world. Of interest recently was the parade that featured all of Russia’s might (new and old) but most importantly the new MBT Armata, plus the Bumerang and Kurganets vehicles, six pages of varied Russian armour makes for some good coverage.
In the last page we have the “Turret Basket” section which very briefly previews what is being built and coming soon on the pages of Abrams Squad. Although it’s a sneak peek, it’s just one page.

I would say again this magazine is improving. The Editor’s efforts to make it compete with online sources is succeeding and it is one of the magazines worth buying. One or two of these builds could do with a bit more fleshing out in the building phase, but if you are not interested in that there are plenty of painting and weathering techniques on offer on the rest of the pages to keep your skill sharp after reading.

Another great title with great subjects, and another worthy addition to the bookshelf.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Pere at Abrams Squad for sending this mag to us to read and review – you can get your copy Directly from Pla Editions or their distributors worldwide as a single issue and as a subscription…