Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The AMX 13/105 is an export version of the AMX 13 light tank used by Argentina and the Netherlands. The venerable Heller kit which was re-released a couple of years ago is the only injection plastic model of this vehicle.
I am assembling the kit mostly as produced, with just a few minor modifications based upon the following picture.
If you want to add some sort of locking ring to the turret to allow it to rotate without falling off of the hull every time it is touched, I would recommend putting the turret together and affixing it to the hull (steps 9 and 10) before actually putting the hull together (step 1).
The antenna mounts should be trimmed down on part 20, because they are way too long. The painting guide in the instructions actually show them at about the right size.
There is no mention of adding part 10 in the instructions, but there are some locating guides on the turret. The Dutch version of the tank does not seem to have this feature, but it appears on the box cover and in my reference picture. The jerrycan was mounted in opposite orientation to the instructions because of a sink mark and ejector pin mark on the other side.
The angles used to indicate the positions of parts 22 and 16 are particularly poor. I've added a couple of pictures of these parts on actual tanks as reference.
A couple of support bars are shown in the instructions, but do not appear on the model itself. I'm not sure if this is because of issues with the molds, or if they were never there to begin with.
The support bars were added using plastic strips. I also added the canvas bellows using Kneadatite to cover the join between the two sections of the turret.
I cut notches in the drive sprockets, and drilled out some holes in the rear idlers (which really should be two pieces).
I will use the original rubber band tracks, but they are really awful looking. I'm thinking that some replacements from a Pz.Kpfw. IV might not look bad, but these types of tracks may be unique to Israeli AMX 13s.
The kit is provided with Dutch markings, but I will probably find equivalents for the spurious French markings from the 1980s Heller release, which I believe appeared on other types of AMX 13s. This is for no particular reason except to have a French tank in French markings.
I may get another one of these in the future, and make an Israeli AMX 13/75. I think that it would be primarily a matter of omitting various parts that are included in the kit (i.e. parts 10, 15, 16, 22) and drilling out the rear idlers (or using replacements from a UM Hetzer). The primary concern would be the barrel of the gun, but a comparison of the Altaya AMX 13/75 and the Heller AMX 13/105 seems to indicate that the barrels are almost identical (assuming that both models are accurate).