by: Pete Gay [ ]
Originally published on:
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.
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…
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.