Meng, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The AMX-30 is a main battle tank designed by GIAT, and first delivered to the French Army in 1966. The first five tanks were issued to the 501st Régiment de Chars de Combat (Tank Regiment) in August of that year.
The production version of the AMX-30 weighed 36 metric tons (40 short tons), and sacrificed protection for increased mobility. The French believed that it would have required too much armour to protect against the latest anti-tank threats, thereby reducing the tank's manoeuvrability. Protection, instead, was provided by the speed and the compact dimensions of the vehicle, including a height of 2.28 metres. It had a 105-millimetre (4.1 in) cannon, firing an advanced high explosive anti-tank warhead known as the Obus G. The Obus G used an outer shell, separated from the main charge by ball bearings, to allow the round to be spin stabilized by the gun without affecting the warhead inside. Mobility was provided by the 720 horsepower (540 kW) HS-110 diesel engine, although the troublesome transmission adversely affected the tank's performance.
Due to the issues caused by the transmission, in 1979 the French Army began to modernise its fleet of tanks to AMX-30B2 standards, which included a new transmission, an improved engine and the introduction of a new fin-stabilized kinetic energy penetrator, amongst other improvements. Production of the AMX-30 also extended to a number of variants, including the AMX-30D armoured recovery vehicle, the AMX-30R anti-aircraft gun system, a bridge-layer, the Pluton tactical nuclear missile launcher and a surface to air missile launcher.
As early as 1969, the AMX-30 and variants were ordered by Greece, soon followed by Spain. In the coming years, the AMX-30 would be exported to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus and Chile. By the end of production, 3,571 units of AMX-30s and its variants had been manufactured. Both Spain and Venezuela later began extensive modernization programs to extend the life of their vehicles and to bring their tanks up to more modern standards. In the 1991 Gulf War, AMX-30s were deployed by both the French and Qatari armies, and Qatari AMX-30s saw action against Iraqi forces at the Battle of Khafji. However, France and most other nations replaced their AMX-30s with more up-to-date equipment by the end of the 20th century.*
F i r s t L o o k
Meng Model’s 1:35 scale AMX-30B is packed with parts – 370 in green plastic, 360 parts in brown for the individual track links, 17 in clear, 20 polythene caps, one photo-etched fret and markings for two vehicles.
All the plastic parts are cleanly moulded and sprue attachment points are fine, so cleanup will not be a chore.
The suspension is very impressive with workable shock absorbers and torsion bars. Wheels are attached via polythene caps trapped between the halves. Tracks are workable too, being made up from two pieces for each link. An assembly jig is supplied to assist assembly and alignment.
The complex engine deck is particularly well done with its network of vents, grilles and mesh covers. A modest photo-etched fret supplies the mesh exhaust covers and some smaller details.
The turret is also worthy of note thanks to the flexible vinyl dust cover behind the mantlet, and the tall Commander’s cupola – quite literally the crown of this model. I particularly like this busy area with the Commander’s machine gun and integrated spotlight, chunky periscope and all-round vision blocks.
The fine baskets around each side of the turret should look great when fitted too.
Markings are supplied for two vehicles - one in overall green and the second in three-colour NATO camouflage. The decals are printed well and in register. The colours look good.
C o n c l u s i o n
Meng’s 1:35 scale AMX-30B Main Battle Tank looks great in the box, and judging by reports from modellers who have worked on their earlier releases, this one should be a pleasure to build too.
I am not going to wait around too long to find out though – I will be starting on my AMX-30B shortly. The only question is, what finish will I apply?
* History courtesy of Wikipedia. More details may be found here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMX-30
Thanks to Meng Models for the sample www.meng-model.com
Text and Images by Brett Green