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In-Box Review
135
AUF1 – SPH
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by: Seb Viale [ SEB43 ]

Introduction

The AUF1 155mm is a modern self-propelled artillery vehicle currently in use by the armies of France and Saudi Arabia. It replaced the former Mk F3 155mm in French Army service. The GCT 155mm's primary advancement is that it incorporates and provides nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) protection for its crew of four, while the former Mk F3 155mm offered no protection and could carry only two of its four crew members. Though 60% heavier than the American M109, the AUF1 155mm is both faster, and incorporates a more sophisticated fire control system. The AUF 155mm saw combat with the Iraqi Army in the Iran–Iraq War.

Though the French Mk 3 155mm would remain in production through the 1980s, by the early 1970s the French Army realized there was an urgent need for its replacement. The Mk. 3 155mm lacked an automatic loading system, but more importantly it lacked nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) protection for its crew, and could carry only two of the four crew members needed to operate it (the remaining two having to be transported in support vehicles). Development of the AUF1 155mm began in the early 1970s, and the first production version, known as the AUF1, was introduced in 1977. About 400 have been produced, with 70 having been upgraded to the AUF2 variant.

The AUF1 is based on the AMX-30 main battle tank (MBT) chassis and equipped with a 155mm 39-caliber gun with an auto-loading system, giving a rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute, and a sustained rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute. It is also equipped with a roof-mounted 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun. The AUF1 has an effective range of 23,500 meters firing conventional rounds and 28,000 meters using Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAPs).

The first production AUF1s were delivered exclusively to the Saudi Arabian Army, while the French Army received their first deliveries in 1980, deploying the GTC 155mm AUF1 in regiments of 18 guns each. In addition, the Iraqi Army received a small number of GTC 155mm AUF1 variants in 1980, which they employed during the Iran–Iraq War.

Kit Content

  • Upper Hull
  • Lower hull without louver
  • Casemate
  • 14 tan plastic sprues
  • 1 transparent sprues
  • 1 pair of flexible tracks
  • 2 PE frets
  • 1 copper wire
  • 1 decal
  • Instruction booklet
  • One color painting guide

So, this AUF 1 from HobbyBoss is not the first on the market, one noticeable difference with the previous one is the absence of casemate interior and flexible tracks. It is important to notice also that the suspension is simplified with no torsion bars present and the build will be easy.

Review

The complete build of the AUF1 is done in 26 steps.
Step 1 covers the build of all the wheels, idler as well as sprocket wheel. You need to take special care when removing the sprocket wheels since the attachment points are located within the teeth and not on top of then, cleaning can be tricky. The assembly of the wheels is straightforward. The idler wheels are super detailed with extra PE rim in the inner part of the wheels.

Step 2&3, these step cover the assembly of the suspension and in particular the building of the four hydraulic shock absorbers that are not moveable. Different details are glued on the lower hull. The fit of everything here is quite good. Rear hull walls are detailed with the addition of the tools and also further detailed by the use of PE.

Step 4 covers the attachment of the wheels. During this step you realize that the absence of torsion bars make it easy to get all wheels perfectly aligned.

Step 5 covers the attachment of the tracks. It is not vinyl but look like new thermoplastic elastomers. You need to remove some ejection marks from inside the tracks and on the side. The level of detail is great. If you want individual link tracks, HobbyBoss has it; kit number 81010.

Step 6 is dedicated to the top hull that comes in one piece.

Step 7&8 are for both fenders with the gluing of the front lights assembly as well as rear louvers. Extra use of PE increases the level of detail.

Step 9 finishes off the top rear wall via the construction of jerry can racks both in PE, the level of detail you get with this media is incredible.

Step 10 & 11 attaching the rear wall as well as the right fender.

Step 12 covers the attachment of the other fender and the gluing of the central ventilator grill in PE. Exhaust pipes are also assembled and glued onto the fenders. Only one option for them, they have to be open.

Step 13 & 14 are to finalize the assembly of the exhaust pipe, front glacis assembly and extra armor plates. The small details are also glued in place such as extra tracks, tow cables (real brass wire). Lot of PE is used in step 12 and 14 to ensure perfect detail. All tools are attached to the hull, they are really fine and nicely sculpted.

Step 15 is the closing of the Hull. Nothing to mention here, in my review sample, the fit is perfect.

Step 16 is the beginning of the assembly of the gun with the mantlet. You need to slice off firing port from the mantlet.

Step 17 is the quick assembly of the turret since it is empty only the rear ammunition rack can be display open.

Step 18 & 19 is mainly focused on the guns shock absorbers assembly on the front of the turret. The level of detail is pretty amazing here as a lot of small parts are used to finalize the small hydraulics underneath the gun. Storage boxes from each side of the gun are glued onto the turret.

Step 20 is for the grenade launcher assembly nicely detailed and the presence of seam line is really easy to clean,

Step 21 is for the main gun, it has been engineered in the way that post gluing cleaning is easy. The muzzle is attached after the main barrel so you can smoothly sand off all remaining glue on the longitudinal axe. Some PE is used also to increase the level of detail.

Step 22 is for the side of the cabin, with the gluing of the doors and the small details with the PE and a lot of PE with more than 4 pieces for each side. HobbyBoss did not provide transparent windows for the doors as well as for the hull. Same comments for the search light on top of the hull. Small transparent pieces need to be scratched. Rear doors for the ammo cargo are attached, all doors handles are really thin and special care is required.

Step 23 is for the construction of the TC hatch with transparent windows for some good detail and all remaining detail on the roof of the turret. Again with the help of PE, the detail is really great.

Step 24 covers the build of the M2, the barrel is drilled and M2 can be used directly without much cleaning of the seam line.

Step 25 finalizes the build of the turret with the hatch, MG, handles etc.

Step 26 just drop the turret inside the upper hull.

Conclusion

The level of detail provided by HobbyBoss supersedes the previous released AUF 1. The good use of PE in all aspect gives you a great level of details. TPE tracks are nicely detailed and their manipulation is really great. One main drawback is the absence of inside turret detail, but after closing the turret up not much can be seen from the doors. HobbyBoss really dedicated effort on external details and great engineering of the pieces. The build is really easy. If you want to increase the level of detail, individual link tracks are also available.
SUMMARY
Highs: Easy build, great details, perfect use of PE.
Lows: No interior detail.
Verdict: Highly recommended, best AUF 1 kit in the market to date.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  PUBLISHED: Nov 12, 2013
  NATIONALITY: France
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.06%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.94%

About Seb Viale (seb43)
FROM: PARIS, FRANCE

Back to Europe, I am living in Paris since december 2011 with my Wife. We have a nice 6 years old daughter, and a 3 years Baby boy. I am doing AFV modern era. I started when I was a teenager , back to business after 10 years of break due to Sport (Baseball, yes european plays baseball) and Unive...

Copyright ©2019 text by Seb Viale [ SEB43 ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

So in conclusion, HB offer a better engineering model that the Meng.
DEC 02, 2013 - 07:31 AM
Thanks for a good review. I have the Meng kit already, and although not much can be seen, I DO like the interior details. Maybe those with deep pockets can do the ultimate kitbash?
DEC 02, 2013 - 09:31 AM
Rob You are right I will put the Meng interior into the HB one for sure. This will be the perfect model with link by link from HB. WELL if you can kitbash both kits you have cash for the fruil tracks. Right???
DEC 02, 2013 - 10:35 AM
Bonsoir Messieurs, As a former artillery detachment commander, I would like to bring a technical point about the AU F1 GCT. It is a self-propelled howitzer and NOT a self-propelled gun. Why ? Because a howitzer is made to provide indirect fire on a target, with a secondary direct fire capability. A gun is made to bring direct (horizontal) fire on a target. So, the AU F1, the CAESAR, the M109, the Archer, the 2S7, are self-propelled howitzers. The Russian ASU-85 is a self-propelled gun. Hoping not appear too invasive... Best regards, Marc
FEB 15, 2014 - 05:12 PM
Hello, Huge necropost. So between the MENG and the HOBBY BOSS kits, which one is "better"? Thanks!
SEP 14, 2016 - 12:09 AM
Having built the HB kit, I can tell it is full of flaws. You'd better go with the latest Meng Au -F1 TA which the best.
SEP 14, 2016 - 12:30 AM
Thanks! Even better, it's the cheapest boxing as well.
SEP 14, 2016 - 01:13 AM
Not really, both guns and howitzers are indirect artillery pieces; ie. cannons. Guns have long barrels and relatively flat trajectories; think M107 SPG (Self-Propelled Gun) or M40 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage). On the other hand, howitzers have short barrels and low-angled trajectories. You are correct that the pieces you listed are all howitzers.
SEP 14, 2016 - 04:26 AM
My understanding of the difference between gun and howitzer is the ratio tube length/caliber. From 32 or 35 and above (can't remember) it's a gun which makes the Au-F1 a gun and not a howitzer. As an indirect fire supported one, never mind the name as long as the rounds hit the expected target
SEP 14, 2016 - 01:00 PM
   

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