Thursday, October 17

Read’n Reviewed: Abrams Squad #30 from Pla Editions.

Middle age comes fast to modellers - and we are already thirty issues into the modern armour specialist magazine "Abrams Squad". Paul has read his new copy, and he tells us whether he thinks it is growing old gracefully or still up and coming in his review...

Read’n Reviewed: Abrams Squad #30
From Pla Editions
Available in both English and Castellano languages
ISSN 2340-1850
72 Pages
Price 10€
Product Link on the Pla Editions Website
Issue 30 of Abrams Squad is upon us, and for those with an interest towards modern armour, then this is the magazine for you. Although I must say, this issue pushes the boundaries of what is considered as “modern” armour, and the cover gives a pretty big clue as to why. 
The magazine starts off with the usual new product announcements, a new Hobby Boss Su-122-54 tanks destroyer, based on the T-54 tank. Sprue shots show that this should be a fairly simple affair to put together with no interior, but the individual track links will add to the parts count somewhat. 
A new scale model jig by Octopus looks like it could come very handy for various modelling tasks, although a few more pictures of the available jigs would be nice. Scorpion Miniatures has released a few conversion sets for the AFV Club Scorpion tank to build into Malaysian, Venezuelan, and Indonesian versions, all armed with a 90mm gun, and also a conversion set to turn your Scimitar into a Sabre, which is a Scimitar hull with a Fox’s turret. 
The first main article is the usual “clean” build review of Takom’s M46 Patton, that is no paint and just a build of the subject model. You are given a brief introduction to the tank before moving onto the meat of the article. 
 The article takes you through a simple step by step walkthrough of the construction of the kit according to the instructions. Photos of the construction stages are paired with photos of those actual parts help to give you a good comparison of the kit and the real thing. In this case, Takom has done a great job with the M46, and having previously built the M47, wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. 
The second article is an example of how we really are living in the Golden Age of modelling with more and more obscure and esoteric vehicles being released. Rafat Buber Kubic guides us through his build of MiniArt’s BMR-1 Early, which for those uninitiated, a Soviet mine clearing vehicle. 
Coincidentally, I have also built the kit that the lower hull of this kit is based on, which is the MiniArt T-54 series, and as pointed out by the author, following the instructions is the key to the kit, and there are no major issues to contend with. 

The author takes us through his construction of the vehicle, with the substitution of wire handrails, and a KPVT barrel from RB Model being the only modifications to the kit, although he does add a DEF Model spare wheel, some stowage, and apparently, a Soviet figure from Evolution, although I couldn’t spot the figure on the model. 
The author then takes us through his painting and weathering processes with the various products he used to achieve his finish, although being a green vehicle, more of the focus is on the weathering rather than the painting of the vehicle and the mine rollers, but that is not a criticism. 

Kreangkrai Paojinda uses a picture of a Royal Thai Army Walker Bulldog from Thailand’s 2006 Coup d’etat. The flowers tucked into the headlight guards is what makes this vehicle distinctive and the author uses the AFV Club kit of the Walker Bulldog, plus AFV Club’s own resin mantlet cover and tracks to build his model. The majority of the article is devoted to painting and weathering of the model, and the author has done a pretty comprehensive job showing how he achieved his rusty exhaust cover, and the tracks of the vehicle, and how he scratch-built the aforementioned flowers. 
The author also takes us through how he came up with his base and its various elements including a very well weathered and realistic looking portable barricade, as well as the figure which he adapted from an old Tamiya kit. 
David Strauß takes us through his minor conversion of a Leopard 1A1 going through disarmament and starts off with the Revell Leopard 1A1 kit, and adorns it with appropriate parts from the Voyager PE set for Meng Leopard 1A3, as well as the Meng workable track links. 
The author shows us how he added the cast texture to the turret, and goes through his painting and weathering, and an exceptionally steady hand by hand painting the white borders of the German cross. The addition of dried foliage and a couple of soft drink bottles really do bring this model to life.
Surely I can’t have been the only one to look at Max Lemaire’s build and thought BMP with Schurzen! The author came across a picture of a BMP-1 with skirts in Syria and takes us through his build starting with the Trumpeter kit, and enhances it with Fruil tracks, Voyager PE set, and scratch building the skirts with copper sheets. 

The author takes us through his painting and weathering techniques and we are presented with a very nice looking model. 
The last article is a pictorial of some captured vehicles from the Syrian conflict which are on display in Patriot Park in Russia. A lot of the vehicles have a post-apocalyptic look about them, with their added on armour plates which changes their outlines quite considerably in some cases, so definitely some good source of inspiration there. As well as just good examples of weathered modern vehicles. 

And that is issue 30 of Abrams Squad! 
Like I said at the start, this issue probably does push the boundaries of what is considered to be “modern” armour, but the editors get to interpret modern as they wish. That being said, the models are definitely top quality and well worth a read. 

Highly recommended

Paul Lee

Thanks to PLA Editions for sending this copy of Abrams Squad to read and review