Monday, February 27

Read n' Reviewed: Abrams Squad #18 - Bringing us the best of modern warfare in 2017...

Abrams Squad has now given us an eighteenth issue – with this new magazine taking us into unfamiliar territory. Along with the usual 35th scale tanks, this instalment features both 48th and 72nd scale tanks and dios as well! Let's see how these different scales fit into this issue and what we thought about it.

Preview: Abrams Squad 18
76 Pages 

English & Spanish Languages

Price 9 Euros

We have been following the development of the Abrams Squad Magazine for pretty much all of its eighteen issues since it's inception. This si the only mag on the market to target as it's focus only Post WWII AFS and military modelling. A risk some might have thought, but usually this magazine is quite an impressive periodical that puts a lot of others to shame.
Now we see that Issue 18 is with us, we thought we would give you a quick run down of the physical item (for those old skool people who like to hold the paper that they are reading) and then the content ( for those who like the electronic version.) This issue is of the usual format, the glossy softcover A4 portrait format gives way to vibrant colours and layouts inside. The builds here are a combination of Step by Step (SBS) and a brief intro to the subject before and a wrap up at the end of each story.
There are four build articles in this issue, the usual other reviews and photo walkarounds are also included. For the price of nine Euro you get only seven pages of adverts, these are between builds so they do not break up the flow of the stories. Standard so far in relation to what we expect from these mags, so let's look at what's inside.
Issue 18 contents:
Commander's Display Uint (reviews)
AFV Club's M60A3 Build Review by Juan C. Carmona,
1/72 Diorama "Rusted Muzzle" by Hiroyuki Yumioka,
1/48 BTR-50P by Domingo Hernández,
1/35 Flakpanzer Gepard by Gunnar Bäumer,
1/35 M-60A1 (Full detailed Tamiya kit) by Jose M. Illa
Ukrainian Armour Museum by Zack Sex.
Turret basket (upcoming previews)

Firstly the regular review section of the book called "Commander’s Display Unit." This section of the magazine has developed from lots of stuff in the briefest of descriptions in something that was not really that usefull, into what we have now – fewer kits, aftermarket, books and accessories, but more in depth. The four pages are now well thought out and as in depth as a half a page to each item roughly can give the reader.
Next up we have the build review section, called "Remote Thermal Sight" Juan Carlos Carmona's first construction review is pretty good. There are a few spelling mishaps here ( no worse than reading one of my reviews) but the thing that Carlos has done ( and we see as part of this feature regularly) the comparison shots of this AFV Club M60MBT to the real thing. I love these shots where we see the tank in construction in a step by step build.
These pictures, with a good explanation of what is going on really help the modeller decide for themselves visually instead of reading lots of comment. The one thing I think could have been included was the picture in close up of the kit surface texture compared with the real thing. If the texture was a problem like we see here – let's look at it Jan Carlos :-).
This issue has promised a bit of difference in scales represented, and this build is a large diorama in 1/.72nd scale! "Rusted Muzzle - Ukranian abandoned tanks" is a small scale work with large ambitions from Japanese modeller Hiroyuki Yumioka.
This is a diorama taken from the inspiration of a Ukranian tank dumping ground, with four little Russian tanks from Modelcollect (3 x T64 & a T-72) in the scene and a well-placed picture background that really helps to set the scene. We see a little on the making of each of these basic but detailed kits in the flesh before we look at the painting and weathering each one. We even see the 1/72nd scale scratchbuilt figure that goes along with the diorama.
The large looking dio really is in comparison pretty small with you place it next to a 1/35th scale tank, but the detail that Hiro puts into each and every bit of this diorama give us the impressive results you see here, something that may be confused with a larger scale diorama.
Next up we see a very impressive vehicle in 35th scale. The Takom Bundeswehr Flakpanzer 1A2 Gepard From Gunnar Bäumer in Germany. This tank is coloured in the attractive and quite different colour scheme of those that were stationed in Crete on operations (haven't times changed in Crete huh?) Gunnar shows us a lot of the construction as well as the paint on this model, and that is always a good sign to me. The SBS style points out all of the lots of little details he has made in an easy to see and understand method. I like this build very much, and It impressed me a lot.
Something unusual now, the resin kit in 1/48th scale of the Russian BTR-50P. Domingo Hernández has made something unusual in scale and subject, a good way to catch another modeller's eye.
This kit is from a brand I had never heard from before from Poland called Tank-Mania. Domingo Hernandez shows us a little of what to expect from this company's models in a construction that covers all of the inside, then he goe son to show us how the painting and weathering is achieved to the high standard you see in the article. I like it how he uses all sorts of brands in his work, and the extras he adds to the tank like the cover and the figure, that bring that metal to life.

Zak Sex ( I still love that guy's name) gives us a two-page walk around of the rare BTR-50P in a photo section.
Again we see the 35th scale M60 in this article. Although this model is not a factory fresh 21st-century kit. It is the old Tamiya kit, stripped of the old paint that Jose Maria Illa put on it as a younger, maybe more impatient modeller made – upgraded with LOTS of after market to bring it up to date, and lots of scratchbuilding accessories and a simple but effective looking diorama and a couple of nicely adapted figure sculpts to make the scene come alive.
We see how the kit is made more in line with something like the M60 we saw at the start of the magazine from AFV Club, then how Jose made that green paint more interesting. The model was situated in a 1980's cold war West German wood waiting in ambush, so the tank was given winter whitewash and the figures inside were adapted to look more like the right era.
The base is explained quite effectively in the SBS as are the figures and littered ground work which make this – the cover girl – come alive. I now am very much more interested in the M60 Reforger!

Again we get another photo walk around from Zak Sex, the Ukrainian National Museum of History in Kiev. These photos are clear and they do show off the main exhibits in the museum, along with some stuff I had no idea about. The story of the recent Civil War in Ukraine is brought to our eye with Ukrainian separatists vehicles bearing some very prominent (exclusive) Russin army equipment. A good little work around that made me interested to see the place.
Lastly, we see the regular page of what is to come in the next issue of Abrams Squad. It looks just as interesting as some of the things we have seen here.

So there you have it – Issue 18 of The Abrams Squad. If you are like me – and a one scale type of guys, well this issue was not as full of stuff in your scale. However, if you like to mix and match, try something different, and see how your skill translates to a smaller scale, then this issue will have been of great interest to you.

I know the scale of the models had nothing to do whatsoever in the skill level of the stories -They are all top shelf. 

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the team at Abrams Squad for sending us this to read and review - You can get this magazine – and all of the others from Pla Editions at their website...