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  1. AMX-30 Family Photosniper 16 Written by M.P. Robinson, color profiles by Slawomir Zajaczkowski Published by Oficyna Wydawnicza KAGERO Vailable from www.shop.kagero.pl for €19,86 What is it? It's an 95-page softcover book that describes the specialist vehicles that were designed and produced on the lower hull/running gear of the AMX-30 main battle tank. The AMX-30 tank itself is not subject matter in this book. Therefore, "AMX-30 Derivatives", would have been a title that better describes the contents. What is in it? As mentioned above, on the basis of the AMX-30 MBT, quite a few specialist vehicles were designed and produced, the best known at the moment is the Au-F-1 155mm Self-propelled howitzer because Meng produced a brand new model of that vehicle in 2013. I'll look closer on the subject of the Au-F1 in the book last. AMX-30D Char de Depannage The AMX-30D is the recovery vehicle based on the MBT chassis. It's got a high superstructure with a crane, a dozer blade and all sorts of tools and equipmment on the hull sides. AMX-30 Bitube 30mm DCA This chapter describes how the chassis of the AMX-30 was used to build an effective anti-aircraft tank. The Bitube 30mm DCA turret was used on the light AMX-13 chassis before the AMX-30 was developed but it really was a haul for the little tank (of lieutenat Grueber...), especially when radar was added. The guns were two 30mm Hispano-Suiza HS831 belt-fed guns capable of a combined firing-rate of 600 rounds per minute. AMX-30R Roland-1 and AMX-30R Roland-2 This is the guided-missile SAM variant. Roland-1 is fit for clear weather operations while Roland-2 is an all-weather missile system. AMX-30 Pluton This was a French Short Range Ballistic Missile system, employing a 20-megaton missile with a range of 17 - 120km. Engineer vehicles One that is discussed but was never produced is the AMX-30H bridgelayer. Another was the EBG, the Engin Blindé du Génie, a vehicle based on the powertrain of the AMX-30B2. This vehicle was fitted with a dozer blade, a hydraulic arm that could be fitted with pincers, Rotary cutters or drills. A small turret contained a 142mm hollow-charge bomb-thrower and four anti-tank min throwers. The last type is the AMX-30B2 DT or Déminage Téléguidée or the remote-controlled mine clearing vehicle. CN 155 Au-F1 Or Canon 155 Automoteur-F1. This part describes the design, production and operations of the different variants of the self-propelled 155mm howitzer on AMX-30 chassis. From the earliest Saudi and Iraqi systems to the French Au-F1 H, Au-F1T, Au-F1TM and ultimately the Au-F1 TA. The differences between these versions are well described, I concluded that the Meng kit is Au-F1TM from the photos and the text... Presentation Apart from guiding us through the AMX-30 derivatives, the book also contains numerous photos of the different variants on 14 Juillet-parades, exercises or deployments to the Balkans. What is very nice from a modelling perspective is the inclusion of a walk around of an Au-F1TM. The outside is well catered for but what increases the value very much for me is the inclusion of photos of the inside of the turret and the ammunition racks since the Meng kit offers these inside details too! The package is rounded out with some very nice profiles of Au-F1's and Roland's. What do we think? The book in itself is very readable and interesting but the extra text and photos (operational & walk around) on the Au-F1 gives it also very good value to modellers. Highly Recommended! We like to thank Kagero for supplying the review sample.
  2. Kagero Photosniper 3D #14 (0014) Panzerjäger 38(t) Hetzer & G-13 Vol. 1 Publisher: Kagero Written by: Mariusz Motyka, Hubert Michalski, Mike Koenig, Stafan Draminski Available from Kagero for € 20,65 Introduction I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hetzer tank. Compact and functional in design adorned with a wide variety of pretty cool camo schemes. This subject has been issued in ‘our scale’ by a couple of companies: Tamiya, Dragon and Academy to name a few. It’s not too hard to find good reference material as quite a number of examples survived the war and the fact that Switzerland used their G13 variant after the war. From the top of my head I can name about 3 museums in my vicinity that have one on show: The Army Museum in Brussels, Wings of Liberation Museum in Best (Netherlands) and the National Military History Museum in Diekirch (Luxemburg). Once a year the museum in Overloon (Netherlands) host a military vehicle show where a driving / functional Hetzer can be seen and even be hitched a ride on. So here we have a new reference book by Kagero on this little tankhunter. Taking the above into account, my expectations are high. Let’s go through the chapters and see what we get: History and Development The first few pages deal with the development of the Hetzer and Technical Information. These pages are accompanied with superb line drawings that are clearly made with the 3D model that was made for this book, showing the different Hetzer versions from different angles. This is a drawing style I haven’t seen before. The technical drawings with side and upper profiles are in 1/48 scale (clearly the modeller was in mind here). Walkaround Before we are taken to the 3D rendered images we get a large section with walk around photo’s made by Mike Koenig. The Hetzer we see here is a restored G13, but with all the details of an original german 38(t) version. This vehicle is owned by 2nd Armoured Productions in Clarksville, Indiana, USA. The walk around covers all the external details as well as the complete interior. The nice thing about this Hetzer is the very complete interior that serves as a great modellers reference. Paint, ammo, instruments… it’s all there. The fact that this Hetzer is still in driving condition gives us a good idea of the wear and tear on the wheels and suspension. 3D renderings About half way through the book the 3D renderings pop up. I am familiar with Kagero’s high level detail 3D artwork from (amongst others) their Fokker DVII book, but these Hetzer renderings are something else. The cut away style we see on real engines or weapons is used, highlighting the cut-lines with red colour. Step by step the outer armour of the Hetzer is peeled away, revealing the interior in clear detail. This is what should please the modeller. After the renderings have taken us cross-section wise through the interior, the gun is shown separately from different angles. And last but not least we are treated to huge full page views of the interior. Honestly, these titles keep blowing me away. Conclusion / Verdict If you have any plans of doing a Hetzer in the near or distant future, treat yourself to this book. All I can think of is that when these ultra detailed 3D drawings were ever used to 3D print a model, that would be pinnacle of armour modelling…. From 1 to 10 I’d rate this book a 10. That’s how much I like it J Very highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Kagero for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
  3. Kagero Photosniper 13 (0013) Sturmgeschütz IV Publisher: Kagero Written by: Lukasz Gladysiak, Grzgorz Okonski, Jacek Szafranski Available from Kagero for € 19,86 Introduction As a modeller I’m always on the lookout for good reference material. For my models I prefer ww2 black and white photo’s for accuracy and inspiration, and modern detailed, well lighted colour shots for building reference. This book is 13th in line of Kagero’s excellent Photosniper range (after subjects like the Jagdpanther, BMW motorcycle and P40 Kittyhawk) and caters to the latter. It’s actually a very well documented walkaround and report on the restoration of one recovered Stug IV from the river Rgilewka in Poland. Personally I don’t trust restored vehicles in museums or collections that much. Often we assume aspects in their appearance to be right, because we see what we see. This book shows us exactly in what state this tank was found and what was done in order to get it to the pristine condition it is in today. Design development The first few pages take us through the development stages of the Stug IV backed up with some black and white photo’s. Personally I am pleased that this chapter doesn’t take up too much pages, since this just isn’t that kind of book. And by the way: if you’re interested in the development of this tank, there are other titles that cover that topic much more in depth. Technical Description In my humble opinion the same goes for this subject. We’re here for photo’s of the real thing! And luckily the technical data that is served here, is being backed up by nice photographs of the recovery of the Stug IV as it was found in the polish river. The state it which it was preserved was so good that the white balkenkreuz was still visible on the sides of the superstructure. As a matter of fact, after they pulled it out of the mud (which had protected it for so many years) it looked like it was still able to drive off… Inside the tank about 50 rounds of ammunition were found, alongside weapons and other belongings of the tank’s crew. Walkaround This is what the book is all about. The carefully completely restored tank is now on display in the Armoured Weapon Museum in Poznan. Sporting a three tone camouflage scheme and complete range of accessories. Every corner and detail of the tank is covered in this section. Inside and outside. Colours In the final chapter 3D renderings and side profiles of the tank give us a number of colour options. Conclusion / Verdict As said, as a modeller this is exactly the kind of book I’m always looking for. Invaluable reference for, if not now, future builds. The lay-out, set-up and quality of the photographs are high grade. From 1 to 10 I’d rate this book a 9. Very highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Kagero for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
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