I am not the world's greatest purchaser of magazines, partly this is due to their very high price by the time their reach this country, partly because it seems that only a handful have sufficiently 're-invented' themselves and many suffer from a lack of 'specialization'. This is no criticism of the contributors to the popular titles, they do, on the whole a superb job, rather the format of the majority force the editors for commercial reasons to appeal to as wide a market as possible. Therefore, I tend to pick up a magazine when it's got one or two articles which directly interest me.
I also have to admit, that although AFV Modeller is known to me, I have never actually got round to purchasing a copy. This changed a week or so when I was buying the Blast Models' M2 Stowage set from the magazine's on-line store where this issue was being advertised so I decided to take the plunge...
AFV Modeller is published bi-monthly - this issue is number 34, corresponding to May/June 2007. The magazine is typical A4 format with 64 pages. This issue contains seven featured articles along with eight pages of News/Reviews. The overwhelming majority of the (many) photographs are in color and are very-well reproduced.
Contents of Issue 34
1) 88mm Flak 36
2) Scram Part Two.- Kursk Diorama
3) M2 Build-Article
4) The U.S. M2 and M2A1 Halftrack Vehicles - historical/variant photo report
5) Xtreme Detail - The M2 - Walkround of a preserved example
6) White Elephant - Building an M4A3E2
7) Keeping Track - New Release Overview
8) M3A3 - Upgrading the Tamiya Bradley
In Detail - 3 'themed' articles
It isn't the easiest task in the world to actually review a magazine, so in this case, it's easier if I do an overview of the reason I purchased it - the M2 Half-Track articles. The magazine wasn't billed as an 'M2 Special' but it comes very close... Building the M2: Taking DML's U.S. M2 Half-Track as the starting point, David Parker (the magazine's editor) goes intio building the kit in a series of step-by-step photos and a considerable amount of informative text. Apart from three (simple) After-Market sets the model is built OOB. The author concentrates on simple (but very effective) improvements such as improving the roller brackets and adding some additional detail to the tool stowage. This is NOT a rebuild, but something that the average modeller will find simple to do - with good results.The author also weathers and paints the vehicle using some very worthwhile techniques which could be applicable to almost any vehicle. M2 History - The U.S. M2 and M2A1 Halftrack Vehicles : This seven-page article is written by David Doyle whose published works on U.S. vehicles should need little introduction. Doyle concentrates on archive images from (principally) the War Department technical manuals which are extraordinarily well chosen and reproduced showing the 'layout' of the (bare) vehicle. with some useful images of the engine block, the suspension and the interior arrangement of the vehicle. Although many people will already have some of these images, it's still of enormous value when combined with his informed explanations of the photos. Xtreme Detail - M2 Halftrack :Once again, written by David Doyle, seven pages are dedicated to a nicely restored M2 in the form of a very complete WalkRound. Many enthusiasts will have similar images in their archives, but it never does any harm to have them explained in the manner Doyle does so competently
The Remainder - a brief overview:
88mm Flak 36 A simple, but very striking diorama of an abandoned Flak 36 in its emplacement. This article is useful in a number of areas - Groundwork (particularly recreating snow), finishing and weathering of the gun and a useful lesson in composition Scram (part two) The concluding part of an article which began in the previous issue, looks at a diorama of an Elefant crew bailing out of their vehicle into a (still-occupied) Soviet trench This part concentrates on the groundwork of the diorama and the various interesting elemnts such as the trench and the nicely-done foliage.An article (even missing part one) which gives some excellent 'pointers' for those who work in dioramas. White Elephant - Jumbo M4a3e2 This is a useful article for anyone who wants to tackle a white-washed vehicle with some very original approaches to a difficult area. It's also notable for a less-popular (but equally complex) area for Armor modelers - convincingly reproducing Sommerfield Matting. M3a3 - This article looks at buildng a Bradley CFV which is a fairly involved process including scratchbuilding the updates.It's quite a short article and perhaps suffers from a lack of (written) detail although still very useful.
The magazine is, in my opinion, worth its cover price for the M2 material alone. However, there are few people who wouldn't get something out of the other articles which are superbly edited and well-illustrated. I've been pretty impressed with some of the newer magazines which have been published in the last year or two but this really looks as if it might be worth investing in a subscription. I like the style of the magazine - it assumes a working knowledge of the subjects covered (which may not make it suitable for complete novices) but it isn't pitched at the 'uber-experts' either. The work that is presented in this issue goes well beyond the merely 'competent' to the very good indeed. Nor does it suffer from the (irritating) tendency of some magazines to provide a nice 'chatty' format. It's Armor-modeling at it's best, it could be seen as pretty hard-core but is also very competently done and presented.
AFV Modeller is someone different from other magazines on the market tending to concentrate on fewer articles but in considerably more detail than some of their competitors. Not only does it cover the vehicles themselves, but also related areas such as diorama groundwork and coverage of their 1:1 scale counterparts.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...