Tuesday, February 2

We read n’ review Abrams Squad No#13

The Abrams Squad No#13 from Pla Editions has just arrived on our desk and no doubt in the shops near you. We spent some time reading it today and thought it was only fair to tell you what we thought about this latest edition in today’s review….

Read n' Reviewed: Abrams Squad #13
English version (also available in Castellano)
Published by: Pla Editions
Bi-monthly publication
72 Pages
Portrait A4 format
Price: 9€
Purchase: Directly from Pla Editions as a single issue and as a subscription…

Abrams Squad magazine is now in it’s “lucky” thirteen edition. We have watched this magazine closely from the start as it offers something of a nieche market – modern AFV’s and vehicles. It sure was a gamble at first but I think it has a market and we think that the magazines are getting gradually better. A format of not too many pages of adverts and a slightly larger asking price make this more of a small book release than a shop magazine. Would this mag still keep on improving? let’s have a look shall we.

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 magazine with eight (including the inside covers) total of adverts. These are really pretty unobtrusive and if there in between builds or sections. What you really buy magazines for now are the model builds by some of the best modellers on the planet and this series generally has these people featured in the pages.
After an interesting piece by the author about model companies seeming copying each other (something we have all noticed recently) we get straight into the magazine proper with the  This magazine starts in the usual way in the review section called “Commander’s Display Unit.”
This is the small review section of the magazine. A little more focussed than when it first started this magazine. This shows the new Cougar MRAP from Panda and a Russian BTR in resin from Tank Mania. There is also some aftermarket looked at with new tracks, wheels and addition sets for your model. This is pretty much the perfect size for these aftermarket bits, hopefully we will see more of these models in a build later?
The construction review of this magazine is always something I like to read. Abrams calls it  “Remote Thermal Sight” and it is pretty much a step by step construction build with the model’s author making it all up unpainted. This issue features two kits this time from the new model maker Tiger Models.
It is great to get a dual build of two new kits from this news company in this section – and the French AFV’s, the Panhard VBL and AMX-10RCR have both been given the full out of the box build review. Comparisons to the real thing are there in picture form as this kit is being built and this is the very best way to review a kit. Showing all of the good and bad points it’s my favourite part of the magazine (apart from the builds of course.)
We go into the model builds next – The style is mainly Step by step articles & building/painting/weathering techniques with an introduction and a little of the modeller’s thoughts in block text at the start of the article.

We get started first with with the Zvezda Zil 131/ ZU-23 combo. This large truck in 35th is shown in a step by step with all of the extras added first. A lot of resin and some scratchbuilding really make this look like a potentially drastic improvement from the plastic truck that we see in the box. It’s good to see some construction in magazines – many are just paint selling exercises.
There is not too much on the added Meng ZU-23 kit – but I suppose it’s pretty good by itself But there IS a lot of good painting and weathering to learn from in here.
Next we see a Centurion MBT from Lucas Zaromitidis in 1/35th scale. His article “ The Last Upgrade Shot Kal Dalet” uses an AFV Club kit as the base but also really weighs it all down with a LOT of aftermarket.
Tracks, tow cables, road wheels stowage and a Legend conversion set are added to with a lot more stuff to mention in this review and the advanced methods he uses are a good learner for any IDF or other nation modeller for example. Some of his work with photo etch on the stowage bins is just wonderful to behold as it is daunting to emulate
I like Lucas’ writing style also. He is honest and has done his research even in asking old tankers about his tank so his processes are realistic. It's something to aspire to and due to draw interest with many readers.
Now how do you make me interested in a modern Japanese tank? Özgür Güner’s JGSDF Self Propelled Howitzer Type 75 tries with this resin Etokin kit. Built straight from the box, this expensive kit is shown in construction over four pages first which I like because it is not so well known and that makes for a good showing off.
Painting and weathering takes up the same amount of page space in this article. One thing I noticed is that this magazine is not that concerned with large galleries. Less “ART” and more model building will not put it at the top of some more aspirational modellers who like to cuddle their model books at night (you know the poser types who comment but never build anything) – it’s more for the builder & the model maker as it gives more space to the model and not to the galleries.

Smart thinking..
Next we see a really interesting scene from Jean Bernard André.  A swept away Ramzan Diorama BMP­1P which shows us an AFV covered in water and a large log. He is sharing the space with some Jackals taking shelter from the flood. What an idea?
We see not just the BMP from Trumpeter but some additions/ improvements from Voyager which would have been easy to cover with water. The large base is shown in construction also.
Water is a hard nut to crack, and this opaque muddy flow is shown in an SBS style just how Jean made the water look so realistic in this setting and how the movement of it was given life.
The Jackals and the fellow that inhabit the top deck are also shown in detail as well.
Lastly we see a reference section and this issue we are looking at some modern operations of warfare operation “Trident Juncture 15” which was held in the months of last October and November last year by NATO. A multi-national cast appears in this section and many interesting vehicles are seen in dust, mud and water.
Some really different vehicles in some of the most modern camouflages are an interest to most people who want to buy a modern military magazine.
Before they leave the section “Turret Basket” is a brief view of whats a'comin’ with the next issue of Abrams Squad Magazine.

I like it that this magazine is aimed at the modeller and not the poser, I like the not to many adverts and I like the models and writing. It’s a great magazine and another worthy edition.

Adam Norenberg

You can get your copy of issue #13 of the Abrams Magazine Directly from Pla Editions or their distributors worldwide as a single issue and as a subscription…