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  1. The French have specialized in light tanks since ages. The most numerous tank of the Great War was the 7-ton Renault FT, and the only French tank used in WW2 in excess of 1,000 was the light (11-ton) Renault R-35. WW2 has shown that a cannon of at least 75mm is a prerequisite for the battlefield survival of a light tank. This principle was followed by the designers of all three new light tanks that entered service in 1951-52. But the gun calibre was the only thing they had in common. The US M41 was basically just a lightly armoured medium tank - with a crew of 4 and a 500hp engine it weighed 23t. So it was neither floating nor airborne. European designs had a crew of 3 people and with a 250hp engine they weighed 13-14t. But here their similarity ended - the Soviet PT-76 had a huge (larger than medium tanks) hull, which made it float. The French AMX was the other way around - it was tiny, so it could fit into the hold of the then transport planes. Although too heavy for the 1950s medium transports (Noratlas, C-119), the small AMX-13 could be transported by heavy transports of that time - the French Br 765 Sahara or the US C-97 (the USAF C-124 could carry even 2 such tanks a time). The introduction of turboprop medium transports (C-130, C-160) made even M24 tanks airborne, and heavy machines from the 1960s could carry any tank weighing up to 40 tons (Belfast, C-141) or even 50 tons (C-133), i.e. two M41s. Today there are no more tanks in the world too heavy for airlift. The US C-17 easily carries the heaviest of them - a 60-ton Leopard or Abrams, and the giant C-5 carries 2 Abrams at a time. Interestingly, this diminutive French tank became not only the most numerous post-1945 European tank (defeating the Centurion and both Leopards), but also the most popular light tank in the world, where it overshadowed not only the FV101 and M41, but also the Soviet PT-76. However, it was not the most popular tank of the free world - the two American MBT families (Patton and Abrams) overwhelmed all the opposition. The KwK 42 gun from the German Panther tank, with the barrel shortened by 64 cm, was mounted in an innovative oscillating turret - much smaller and lighter than the traditional ones. In order to keep the weight down, an aircraft boxer engine was used, only converted for liquid cooling. In 1958, the AMX-13B with a 105 mm cannon was introduced, and in 1967 the old 75 mm guns were re-bored to 90 mm, creating the AMX-13C. The AMX-DCA anti-aircraft (2x30 mm) variants, the 105 and 155 mm self-propelled howitzers and bridgelayers were also offered. By 1987, 7,615 AMX-13s (including 1,500+ SPH, AA, and minor variants) were manufactured, of which almost 3,400 were exported to 24 countries. The largest export users (+200 each) were the Netherlands, Switzerland and Israel. Thanks to second-hand purchases, Israel later hit 400, just slightly ahead of Indonesia and Singapore (+300 each). Extremely agile AMX-13s fought in Suez, Algeria, Israel, India, and Indonesia. The early variant, called AMX-13/75 (standing for the tank design weight and the gun calibre), was armed with a 75 mm cannon and a co-axial MAC 7.5 mm MG. Crewed by 3, it was powered by a liquid-cooled flat-8 SOFAM (nee Mathis) 250 hp engine. The Ukrainian-made ACE #72445 kit, introduced in 2019, is the best Braille-scale AMX-13 on the market. In the box you will find 125 styrene parts on 4 sprues, 2 rubber tracks, and a photo-etched fret containing 13 details - quite a lot for a package 70 mm long. I was going to build this model OOB, but at some point I became irritated by the lack of railings so specific to this vehicle. There was an Aber 0.5 mm brass rod on hand, so after 40 minutes the model got 7 railings around the turret. In the front part of the turret, I also made 3 crane eyelets, the lack of which strongly disturbed the silhouette known to us from the photos of the original vehicle. Of course, OOB should be treated with reserve - for the 1952 variant, a lot of parts (IR lamps, anti-dust skirt around the turret, trim vane) remain in the box, and the small reflectors are mounted on the front fenders (later variants have them on the rear ones). AMX-13s of the French Foreign Legion (2e Regiment de Cavalerie and 1er Regiment de Parachutistes) fighting in 1956 in Egypt for the Suez Canal (Operation Mousquetaire) were painted Jaune Sahara overall. The paint is – as always – a Humbrol enamel. This time it’s #103 painted with an Italeri brush. The front licence plate is a collage of several plates from the Bulgarian OKB Grigorov M24 Chaffee kit, the rear one was made in a similar way from IDF plates OOB. The black stripe around the turret is hand painted – as it originally was in 1956. Finally the Vallejo matt acrylic varnish was brush-applied overall. The pictures are taken with an LG smartphone. Comments are welcome Cheers Michael
  2. As far as I know, in the 1956 Suez campaign the AMX-13s were used (leaving Israel aside) by 2 French units: 2e Regiment Etranger de Cavalerie and 1er Regiment Etranger de Parachutistes. But all the photos I know (OK, only half a dozen) show on the turret base a black number 4 on a white disc, from which 5 white arms protrude upwards. What does this emblem mean? Black number plates (numbers in block between 831400 and 831700 plus French tricolor) are always single-row at the front, and at the rear (with no specific rule) sometimes single, though usually double-row. There is a two-digit number in a square area touching the registration plate (both front and rear). First I saw 12 and 13 so I thought it was the weight data for crossing the bridges. But once I got a red 30 on a yellow background and the previous theory fell through. What does this number mean? Why is it sometimes white on blue and sometimes red or yellow on a black background? The right rear mudguard shows sometimes a symbol similar to a cross with bars tapering towards the ends. Sometimes red, sometimes blue. What does it mean? Where on the tank was the coat of arms painted with the unit emblem of the 2e REC or 1er REP? Cheers Michael
  3. During WW2, all troop carriers fully protected only the commander and the driver - the soldiers were only protected with side walls. The troop compartment roof was a tarpaulin, protecting only against poor weather. It was only after 1945 that the risk of contamination of the area by weapons of mass destruction prompted the designers to use a sealed troop compartment, covered with an armoured metal roof. The first tracked, fully enclosed Armoured Personnel Carriers entered the US Army service during the Korean War. They were the M75 (related to the M41 light tank) and the slightly larger (though lighter and cheaper), floating M59. The first mass-produced vehicle of this new class in Europe was the 1957 French AMX-13 VTT (Véhicule de Transport de Troupe = a Vehicle Transporting Troops). Based on the AMX-13 airborne light tank (the 13 in the designation stood for the tank weight in tons) it was smaller and lighter than the US designs. However, it still carried 10 soldiers, and an MG was fitted over the commander's hatch. When a new AFV category appeared in the mid-1960s, called Infantry Fighting Vehicle (differing from the Armoured Personnel Carrier mainly by the heavier cannon in the enclosed turret), the French began offering the AMX also with a cannon in a closed turret. Called AMX-VCI (Véhicule de Combat d'Infanterie = an Infantry Fighting Vehicle), overnight the venerable APC suddenly became an IFV - a „serious combat machine”. By 1973, almost 3,400 AMX carriers in both versions were manufactured, of which over 2,000 were exported. The largest export users were the Netherlands (600) and Belgium (555). The Dutch variant was called AMX-PRI (Pantser, Rups, Infanterie = Armoured, Tracked, Infantry). Armed with the 0.5” Browning M2, it carried a 3-man crew and a squad of 10 infantrymen. Powered by a liquid-cooled flat-8 SOFAM (nee Mathis) 250hp engine, it weighed 15 tons. The Ukrainian-made ACE #72448 kit, introduced in 2020, is the best Braille-scale VTT/VCI on the market. In the box you will find 130 styrene parts on 4 sprues, 2 rubber tracks, and a photo-etched fret containing 14 details – quite a lot for a package 70mm long. The model was built OOB - even the decals are from the box. However one modification was needed – the rear yellow „road” numer plate was supplied as single-row (like the front one), when in fact it was a two-row case. AFAIK all PRIs in Dutch service have been painted overall with RAL6014 Gelboliv. The paint is – as always – a Humbrol enamel. This time it’s #179 (do you still remember this French Artillery Green?), painted with an Italeri brush. Then the Vallejo matt acrylic varnish was brush-applied overall. The pictures are taken with an LG smartphone. You can get the impression that there are 2 completely different models in the photos. However, it is just a matter of different lighting - some photos come from the "morning session", assisted by sunlight, and some - from the „evening session”, made in completely artificial light. Comments are welcome Cheers Michael
  4. Finally completed this one. WIP can be found here: I picked the old Heller kit up at a Euromilitaire show some years ago. I think I paid around £5. It's not a bad old kit but required some work, especially around the hull sides and turret areas, to get a half decent job. I'm especially pleased with the canvas area between the turret halves. This was made from milliput, and numerous small plastic fasteners using scrap card and minute bolt heads obtained from MAFVA. Paint was mostly Vallejo, which was a first for me, and I was very pleased with the results. I picked up a tip from @CedB and used some W&N Acrylic flow improver, and it transformed these paints for me, as well as other Acrylics I use. Thanks Ced! Washes, chips and general weathering was done with enamels and oils. The tracks are Takom, a track set bought especially for this project. Decals are a mixture of Heller and Takom (I have two Takom AMX-13's in the stash). The 7.62 MAG was from the Takom kit, but the support and brackets for this were scratch built. I'm fairly pleased with the results as this is only my third 1/35 AFV built in the last couple of years, after a 40 year gap!. General shots first in the pictures below, followed by detail shots, and finally a couple with it's current shelf mate! Comments and questions welcome. Some close up details: And finally a couple of shots with the shelf mate, my M41DK Thanks for looking. Terry
  5. I have depicted a AMX-13 of the Indian Army from Battle of Khem Karan, Punjab during the 1965 Indo-Pak War, The kit is Tamiya 1:35 and decals are from Star Decals , Indo-Pakistani War 1965 AMX13 & M4 . Other than the decals built OOB
  6. Time for another AFV build. I have a couple of aircraft on the go (Gloster Gamecock and Northrop F-5E) as well as an Airfix Vosper MTB, but I like to have an AFV on the go also! I started this kit a while back after completing the Accurate Armour M41DK project which had been my first AFV build in over 30 years. For those interested in that, the RFI is here: So to the kit. I picked up a rather battered version of the Heller kit a few years ago at Euro militaire. I think I paid around £5 for it. This one comes with Swiss Army marking and also contains the fitting and missiles for an SS11 equipped vehicle. It's a typical Heller kit of it's time, but looked like it could be built into something decent with a bit of effort. I rather like the AMX-13 and always had a fascination for it in my youth, so since picking this one up I also acquired these two beautiful examples from Takom: I have plans for those in the future, they really are superb kits, and do tend to emphasise the Heller offerings age. However, I do like a challenge............... So I will be helped along the way by a track set I picked up also, to replace the Heller vinyl tracks. The rest will have to be improved by scratch detail and hard graft! I didn't start to record the build until quite recently, so here is where we are at the moment. Hull is largely complete, together with suspension components: I've coloured the inside of the vision blocks and plan to use some Clearfix to add the glass, which will then be masked out for painting. If the Clearfix idea fails, I'll just fill then in and paint to represent dark glass.......? The turret needed some internal bracing to hold it all together. In addition I decided to improve on the kit supplied gun/turret canvas seal by using a fair dose of Mulliput sculpted to blend in and represent what I have observed in a number of pictures. The close up view shows there is still a bit of smoothing/sanding to be done, but I'm pretty pleased with the effect. Before completing the basis hull, the right hand side requires the exhaust system to be assembled and installed. I wanted to try and show a bit of a rusted effect so after assembling the basis unit, I stippled it with Mr Surfacer plus some polystyrene cement and dabbed the surface to create a slightly pitted effect. This came out looking like this: Next came an airbrush coat of mixed brown/red, followed by some MIG rust pigment dust. Pretty please with the end result, not too rusty and corroded but fairly typical in service example I think. So as of this afternoon, this is where we are: A long way to go yet, but I'm fairly pleased with progress so far. I'd originally intended to do an IDF AMX from around the six day war, but I'm also tempted by a French Army version during the Suez crisis. More soon Terry
  7. For my second build I’m going very ancient and out of my comfort zone with an AFV. I have a frightening track record with completely these (among other things) so am hoping to do better this time. I found this beast in a secondhand store and sort of couldn’t help myself, it was cheap and unusual, this one is now quite hard to find. There were only 60 of these vehicles built for the French army and entered service in 1969 and remained in service until the end of the cold war. Ok there’s nothing really exciting in the box, it’s a pretty basic model, typical for what you’d get in the 70’s when it was made. It even comes with a couple of dudes, not sure if they’ll join the party or not yet. The instructions are sooooo 70’s, back when long detailed worded instructions were the go and none or few pretty pictures were present. And being a Heller model they’re in French! (My wife can sort of read/speak French, so she reckons......though her speaking French on our honeymoon nearly ended up with her in jail! ). That weird looking brown blob on the cover of the instructions in the original container of glue they use to supply with the models......I won’t be using that as it’s a wee bit out of date! The only extra will be a set of Friulmodel tracks! A bit of an over kill for a model like this, but I love them (this is my 4thset) and the original ones are horrible and gone quite hard. Well I’m hoping this will break my AFV curse and I’ll finally complete one. A nice simple build....now what can go wrong!
  8. This is the new Tamiya AMX-13 French Light Tank. The model was built straight out of the box, the only additions were the aerials. Painted with Tamiya paints, weathered with a Flory wash and a Tamiya weathering set. Thanks for looking. Here is the link for the WIP
  9. This is the new AMX-13 French Light Tank from Tamiya released earlier this year. The model is in 1/35th scale moulded in tan coloured plastic with full-length flexible vinyl tracks. Detail includes, one etched part, tools, jerry can and a commander torso figure with markings for 2 French Army Units. The box art. A sheet naming parts of the tank. Sprue A (X2), hull & turret. Sprue B, the hull top & torso figure. Sprue C, details including, hatches and canvas turret cover. Decals, full-length flexible vinyl tracks & the etched part. Apart from using wire to simulate the sag in the top run of the tracks, I intend to build the kit straight out of the box. I've not tried the wire technique before, but I think the tracks will benefit with a sag along the top run whilst still using the tracks provided in the kit. Thanks for looking, Joe.
  10. AMX-13 (for Tamiya) 36346 1:35 Eduard This set is engineered to augment the detail of the new Tamiya kit of this unusual armoured car/tank hybrid. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, the set arrives in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Inside the package is one large fret of brass, with all the parts held within, and numbered for your modelling ease. Included in the set are many parts to detail the exterior of the hull with much more fidelity than can be achieved using styrene alone. The rear bulkhead has the clumsy styrene grab handles removed and replaced by PE parts, with tie-down straps supplied to loop through them; the towing shackles at the rear are draped with realistic looking chains; the pioneer tools are adapted to fit in the accurate, detailed tie-downs; shrouds and protectors are folded up for the light clusters front & rear; a set of mesh grille covers are added to the rear deck along with a circular one on the front; the front mudguards are stripped of moulded in detail to be replaced by more realistic skin parts; the towing arm at the front is detailed; new stowage boxes are folded up from flat, with relief added in to the tops by rolling a ball-pen over the reverse side before they are constructed. The main light cage is complex, and to assist you a scrap diagram is provided, showing you the correct order of folding, which will be well worth the effort on completion. The spare track-link parts are skinned with detailed outers; the jerry cans have their moulded-in brackets removed and new ones made up from PE, and additional brackets are dotted around the hull, which wraps up a rather busy set from Eduard. Review sample courtesy of
  11. AMX-13/90 Venezuelan Army Takom 1/35 This is Takom's new AMX-13 fitted with the 90mm main gun (they also do it with the original 75mm and one fitted with SS.11 ATGM's). It's a nice little kit, but there are some fiddly bits in the construction. In particular, I didn't get on with the indi track links which are tiny, and I'd rather have seen link and length versions instead, or at least a jig to set the sag on the upper run. It's also a shame that the oscillating turret, which is the most prominent aspect of the tank, can't be used if the vinyl dust collar is fitted. There's probably no way round this, as you couldn't really have a flexible collar that would look in scale, but it would have been nice if Takom had supplied separate collars for a depressed and elevated position on the gun. The turret will work if you don't fit the collar, but you'd need to add the mounting strip where the collar attaches, as that's not included as a separate piece. Thanks for looking Andy
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