Thursday, January 11

Read n' Reviewed: Abrams Squad #41...

We generally enjoy reading issues of the Abrams Squad magazine. Ever evolving & constantly on the improve in content & subjects of modern warfare. We look at issue #41 to see what's new in our review...

Read n' Reviewed: Abrams Squad #41
From Pla Editions
96 Pages
Softcover, Landscape A4 format
Available in English & Spanish
Abrams Squad, a magazine for exhibiting the best in modelling, kits and modern machines of war that inspire them. This is a slightly different magazine to most out there, not only in its more narrow focus of Post 1945 machines, but in the lack of adverts (generally) and the calibre of talent always on display. The style of this title is some block text, but mostly step by step articles with accompanying text.

The cover is a glossy softcover in a portrait format in roughly A4 format,  this issue has ninety six pages inside. The ten chapters are split between news and model builds, and this one has only a minimum of pages diverted to adverts, which is a change from most modelling magazines that survive today. You can purchase this magazine in either English or Spanish languages.
Abrams Squad #41 Contents:
4.- Commander's Display Unit (news and reviews)
8.- RTS: Bergepanzer 3 Büffel (Hobby Boss)
20.- “The Goatherd’s Trail”, Afghanistan 2001 (T-62 Trumpeter) by Shimpei Nohara.
32.- “Maple Resolve” Canadian Army Exercise (References) by Abrams Squad.
40.- Scimitar Mk. II “Operation Cabrit, Estonia”, (Gecko Models) by Jaffe Lam.
54.- M931A1 Tractor & M127 Semitrailer (I love Kit) by Uwe Kern.
68.- “Clearing Beast” BMR-3M (Meng) by Jiasheng Wu.
78.- “Under New Management" K17 Boomerang (Zvezda/Panda), by Stan Spooner.
88.- “Armored News" (References) by Abrams Squad.
96.- Turret Basket

So that is a rough run down of the look and feel of this book so far, but nothing is better than to show you chapter by chapter, and page by page what is inside, so here we go.

Page by page:
After a nice introduction by the editor, who always seems to hit the nail on the head of very close to it, we go straight into the meat of the magazine.
A regular review segment, "Commander's Display Unit" brings you news and reviews from all of the latest products on the market right now. This issue we have only three pages dedicated to new products, a few models and some aftermarket from MacOne. This is the right amount really, as we really like this magazine for the model builds.
Saying that - they do a review every issue that is one of the best in the business. "RTS" is the build of a kit to give us a proper review. The subject this month is the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel from Hobbyboss in 1/35th scale. This is a straight model build in comparison with photos of the real thing. We like to see this direct comparison and the modeller's thoughts. Not all of modelling is about just the painting!
The first build is called “The Goatherd’s Trail”, Afghanistan 2001. This is a diorama made by our friend and it seems everybody else's - Shimpei Nohara. The scene features a rugged track for a herder and his goats through the heights of Afghanistan. The T-62 from Trumpeter is "under new management" in this section.
We get almost four pages of step-by step builds before we get to undercoating which is great. The captions are right next to each shot which also helps the modeller understand at a glance what is going on. And the landscape in the diorama is featured in its own build section. This scenery includes the dark art of clear resin representing water. A very easy build to follow and to absorb for the reader, not to mention a very impressive work Shimpei-Sama should be proud of.
“Maple Resolve” is the Canadian Army Exercise - another in the series of "References" from the Abrams Squad team. This photo & text article follows the “Maple Resolve” Canadian Army Exercise that features approximately 2,500 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and partner military personnel took part in Wainwright, Alberta. Exercise “Maple Resolve” is the Canadian Army's largest and most complex training exercise of 2023 with heaps of modern military machines on show here.
A small surprise in scale & quality next - Scimitar Mk. II “Operation Cabrit, Estonia”, features the Gecko Models kit by another great modeller in Jaffe Lam. It features a British machine and her tankers in Estonia on operational readiness practice. This diminutive machine is still small in 1/35th scale, for a second we thought it was the 72nd scale kit is is that small. Details, then, matter here, and the finest details of construction a re covered in nearly 4 pages.
Several pages of step-by step shading, weathering & adding accessories follow the construction. Again, we don't need to know everything here, just what he is doing, and that is shown off well. We have two pages of constructing the groundwork and figures for the diorama also. He has managed to make an otherwise pretty boring scheme look good here!
Something of a large and off-the beaten track build next with the M931A1 Tractor & M127 Semitrailer. Featuring a conversion of the I love Kit model in 1/35th scale. Uwe Kern gives us his take on the truck and trailer hauling much needed relief to the front. We see extensive surgery of the truck first in some step by step but also numbered captions directing to photos.
The trailer is actually 3-D printed, which love it or hate it is becoming another skill in the best modeller's toolsets. They have so much more to choose from it seems with all of these digital creations. We see a little of his printing process, the real wood used on the trailer and the AFV club ammunition this truck bears. The painting of the camouflage, weathering of the wood, and connecting all the plumbing of the truck to the trailer is all explained with some reference of the real thing. Very much a perfect article from Uwe.
Next we see “Clearing Beast” BMR-3M features the Meng kit in 1/35th scale. Jiasheng Wu ads plenty of extras to this and shows us his painting & weathering skills to the maximum on such a vehicle that would take the worst that the hostile environment of the battlefield & man can throw at it..
A shorter article this one, but still pretty effective in showing the construction, painting and weathering in step-by step fashion. Jiasheng Wu adds figure and aftermarket ERA from ET model, masks his own wheels and makes his own custom base of a short strip to mount the vehicle atop. Impressive oil paint use & weathering make this quite an impressive scene.
The cover girl is next with “Under New Management"  - Another great modeller and better guy, Stan Spooner takes the Zvezda/Panda model of the K17 Boomerang in 35th scale and displays it under new owner's command, namely the Ukrainian Army. This build was the product of a lot of research & kit surgery & Stan gives us some great insight in his article. I really actually enjoyed reading about his thought process here, something I cannot say for all modellers thoughts 😁.
This build really is more block text and images, but those images have sufficient text next to them to convey what is being shown.  I love not only his techniques, use of reference, but also his composition of the kit and the unique base that was made for it. The photo- mock up really helps put this model right in the picture (lol). This is excellent work and great viewing and reading.
The second last section is the regular “Armored News". In another of the "References" chapters from the Abrams Squad team, we learn about the latest machine popping up all around the world in the best place to see them -  it really is THE magazine that features just modern machines of war.
Lastly, the "Turret Basket" section always previews the next volume of Abrams Squad and the newer kits are on the way...

And that my friends, is all they wrote!

OK so if you are paying attention there really isn't much I di not like about this issue, and plenty to like. The quality is strong even 41 issues in, and  for me this magazine always inspires and entertains me. Grab it if you like what you have heard in this review.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Pla Editions for sending this magazine for us to read and review...This new great edition is now available from the Pla Website...