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Built Review
135
AMX-13/75
IDF Light Tank AMX-13/75
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by: Pete Gay [ SABER7 ]

Introduction

(Citation)
From Walter Spielberger “Armor in Profile N0#12 AMX-13” and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMX-13

The tank was designed at the Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) in 1946 to meet a requirement for an air-portable vehicle to support paratroopers. The first prototype ran from 1948. The compact chassis had torsion bar suspension with five road-wheels and two return rollers; the engine runs the length of the tank on the right side, with the driver on the left. It features an uncommon two-part oscillating turret, where the gun is fixed to the turret and the entire upper turret changes elevation. The turret is set to the rear of the vehicle and holds the commander and gunner. The original 75 mm gun was loaded by an automatic loading system fed by two six-round magazines located in on either side of the automatic loader in the turret's bustle. The 12 rounds available in the drum magazines meant that the crew could engage targets quickly; however, once those rounds were expended, the vehicle had to retreat to cover and the crew had to reload shells from outside the vehicle.

From 1966, the 75mm high-velocity gun was replaced by a 90 mm (the AMX-13/90) medium velocity gun firing more effective HEAT ammunition, with the French upgrading all existing base models to this specification. By the early 1970s, export models were available with an even more potent 105 mm gun. Although there were many variants on the turret, the basic chassis was almost unchanged until 1985, when changes including a new diesel engine, fully automatic transmission and new hydro pneumatic suspension were introduced.
Production halted with the Model 1987. After sales support and upgrades are still offered through GIAT Industries (now Nexter).

The AMX-13 tank was phased out of service with the French Army in the 1980s. Current French armored vehicles with a similar role are the ERC 90 Sagaie and the AMX 10 RC.

Box Contents

A medium box with 14 sprues, 1 PE sheet, 1 rubberized oscillating turret dust cover, 10 track link sprues. 1 sheet of decals (markings for IDF, Lebanese, and Venezuelan), Lower Hull and upper Turret. A nicely printed color guide. Color info and profiles by Ammo Mig Jimenez. There are 4 profiles; 2 IDF, 1 Venezuelan, and 1 Lebanese. This is my first ever TAKOM kit and I have read previous reviews equating TAKOM plastic with Tamiya plastic. While I am no chemist the plastic does seem similar although a touch softer.

Detail overall appears crisp and defined. The road wheels are molded in 2 pieces. The actual steel wheel itself and the rubber wheel is separate and fitted over the steel wheel. This will make painting a defined edge between wheel and rubber MUCH easier. The tracks come in a single row of 18 links individually molded. Well let’s get on with the build…

The Build

This is an Out Of the BOX (OOTB) build of the Takom. There will be no additions or aftermarket. Only clean up, sanding, and assembly of what is presented in the kit. No painting, no filling, no scratching something better. I think this will give you a good idea of what your money will get you.

First things first. As is typical the running gear, lower hull, and suspension assembly. No major problems here. My hull is a little warped but the top plate and front plate should help straighten that out. One note maybe that the attachment of parts to the sprue are ”2 dimensional”. The connecting sprue hits the piece at half of its dimension. So, you end up trimming from the sprue, then trimming a small portion of the sprue connector from the back of the piece, perpendicular to the first cut. It makes clean up a bit more tedious but the pieces are crisp. Just pay attention here as you can foul up a part easily by cutting carelessly. See “Sprue Photos.” You see these spots on the model pics as small white spots where the sprue made the connection. Looks bad but the piece will sand out smooth without filler.

Now we move on to assembling road wheels, hull top plate, and hull front plate. Easy peasy! At this point in terms of the instructions I skip ahead to step 7 to assemble the tracks while the running gear is easily accessed. Each side will get 86 links. The links are easily separated from the sprue and come off with little to no clean up required. I laid out 4 strips of low tack 3M blue tape. 2 strips get 46 links and two strips will get 40 links. This makes laying a line of tracks easy. Then I apply a coat of Testor’s liquid cement on one strip. I start with the bottom strings (46 links). After applying the glue, I wait around 4 to 5 minutes. The glue has begun to set but the links are still pliable. With the vehicle on its back I lay the string of tracks down and form them to the running gear. This will take some adjusting and playing around but don’t freak out if small sections come undone. Just set them aside and work the tracks on the running gear, then address the problem sections with a small amount of glue. Be careful to avoid gluing the tracks to the running gear. When set and dried I do the top half that runs over the return rollers. The goal is to be able to remove the tracks and have 2 halves to each run. This way you can remove them for finishing and detailing then reinstall for the finished project.

Clamshell turret dust cover is made of what appears to be a vinyl. Argh! I don't like vinyl as it always seems to be resistant to its own existence and purpose. I tried to follow the instruction in step 20, fit and glue the piece to the lower half of the clam shell turret assembly. However, after multiple attempts I thought I would just leave it off as I could not get the piece to sit as I thought that it should. Not once did it sit properly with the upper portion of the turret in place. Finally, my dog figured it out “Bark, bark, woof” Which roughly translates to: try fitting it to the upper half and then install the upper half on the lower half. Well holy hell in a handbag! Worked perfectly. I don't know why but it did. Well actually it fit because the form on the upper half of the dust cover is formed to the bottom of the upper turret half. You still have to be careful with the fitting that assembly to the lower half of the clam shell but it is WAAAY easier! And the last word on the vinyl piece, it glued quite easily with the use of Tamiya thin. The only “nit-pick” issue I had with the turret was the rear wall turret plate with the shell extractor door. The plate needed a small amount of attention but leaves to tiny holes visible only from the bottom of the turret. The holes are in the 2 corners formed by the rear plate meeting the turret. This is NOT a major issue but due to the dental mirror wielding judges out there you should be aware. Other than that the turret is quite busy but an easy build. Be careful handling it or you will snap off an aux sight post (TC Side) as I did. Easy fix.

The build finishes up with hull front end additions. Mainly what I would call a trim vane assembly, main gun tube travel lock, and external pintle mount .30 cal MG. I have to say the MG is REALLY nice. Check the pictures. The barrel is bored out, the cooling sleeve is detailed. The operating section could be a little better but not much. No need for a 15-dollar upgrade there. The main gun is a 2 half affair as is typical for main guns in 35th scale. The halves are thin but go together well. A little bit of high grit sandpaper will turn it into one solid piece as it should look.
SUMMARY
Highs: Nice crisp detail, great looking .30 Cal MG, Good looking running gear.
Lows: Turret rear wall a bit fiddly and will require precision placement to avoid gaps. Some use of PE could have been done in plastic, much easier.
Verdict: Overall this is great kit. Highly recommended for all modelers and would give a new modeler confidence to move further into the hobby. This kit definitely falls into the “Fun to Build” category.
Percentage Rating
94%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 2036
  Suggested Retail: $40.00 US
  PUBLISHED: Jul 13, 2016
  NATIONALITY: France
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 94.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.41%

Our Thanks to Takom!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Pete Gay (Saber7)
FROM: KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES

U.S. Army retired 19D40B4. Also spent 4 years as an Aviation Machinist Mate AD3 (Jet Mech) in the Navy. I now work for the Department of the Army in the information systems and network security arena. I do some teaching in community and tech colleges. I am chapter president for an ISSA chapter.

Copyright ©2019 text by Pete Gay [ SABER7 ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Great review, thanks. I'm building the version with the SS-11 ATGMs. Yours has the early-model two return rollers; mine has four. I like how you handled the tracks, which I have not done yet but I will follow your lead. My hull was warped enough that I had to glue in a thick piece of sheet plastic to straighten it up, but it's fine now.
JUL 13, 2016 - 05:36 AM
Good kit but I thought the tracks were a nightmare.
JUL 13, 2016 - 06:55 AM
Thanks Burgesses!
JUL 13, 2016 - 07:19 AM
The tracks were a bit needy... But patience and slow glue will win the battle! I like the look of single link tracks so it is worth it.
JUL 13, 2016 - 07:20 AM
great review. i prefer those kind of tracks to vinyl, so I'm happy they are supplied with the kit. will go on my wishlist
JUL 13, 2016 - 01:55 PM
Thanks metooshelah!
JUL 13, 2016 - 04:45 PM
Thanks for review
JUL 13, 2016 - 07:37 PM
No problem hanb7323!
JUL 13, 2016 - 10:32 PM
I think I'm going to go with the Tamiya AMX-13, because it looks easier to build. But Takom's decals offer more interesting choices. They should consider selling decals by themselves, like their tank tracks. I might draw and print my own decals.
JUL 16, 2016 - 06:55 AM
   

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