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AFV Modeller 53

AFV Modeller 53 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2010 Title AFV Modeller 53
Publisher AFV Modeller Ltd. Published 2010
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) less than $10.00


When I attended the 2010 IPMS/USA National Convention, I was honestly surprised to see a table for AFV Modeller Ltd. on hand complete with some of the staff. I used to look forward to every edition of their armor publication (ironically called) AFV Modeller and their sister publication AIR Modeller.

For those of us who've been around a while, we've seen many good magazines come and go and one of my favorites was the Verlinden series because each issue followed the editorial rule that one photo is worth a thousand words, so each edition was worth millions of words. Each featured project was photographed step-by-step to show you clearly in images how the final breath-taking model vignette or diorama was achieved. There were captions with each image along with a short textual summary, but you could spend hours pouring over the photos and learning some new techniques. While the Verlinden series was a shameless promotion of the many Verlinden products used in each project, this didn't detract from the artistry of the modeler nor the excellent photography. Most importantly, there were few, if any, advertisements in each title - every page was worthwhile.

When AFV Modeller appeared on store shelves, they not only achieved the same editorial style as the Verlinden series, but the work was more diversified (more to learn) and every issue was timeless - you could enjoy it years later and you want to save every one. I remember wishing that they would do an equivalent modeling title for aircraft modelers and not long afterwards, AIR Modeller appeared. Like the armored version, each aircraft title was full of great ideas and great photography.

So what happened? The hobby shop that carried this series (as well as took care of my other hobby needs) went out of business about five years ago. The sole surviving hobby shop caters mostly to radio control and model railroading, so like many of you, I do my hobby shopping online. Even when I go on travel and visit one of the remaining shops around the country, I'd never seen this title on shelves, so I assumed that AFV Modeller had shuttered its business like so many others.

Now I can happily report that AFV Modeller is not only alive and well, they've spun off a third magazine called MAX Modeller. MAX is a general modelling magazine with the same editorial style of AIR and AFV, but it seems to cover a full range of hobby subjects from aircraft to figures and from automotive to science fiction. Unlike the other two titles, there is some advertising, but the vast majority of each issue is quality modeling coverage. Like the first issues of Fine Scale Modeler and any of the Aerospace Modeling Magazine issues, MAX is all about content, not overloaded with advertising.

In this edition of AFV Modeller, coverage includes:

  • Hill 122 diorama (cover image)
  • 10.5cm leFH18 auf 39H(f) Geschutzwagen
  • Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.C Poland '39
  • AMAC Model Show
  • BT-7 Model 1935
  • Sherman Up Close (photo walk around of real subject)
  • One Sixteenth Superking (Part Seven)
  • Keeping Track (new releases)
  • T-72 in Chechnya with KMT-7 Mine Roller

After the IPMS show, I was contacted by the US distributor for AFV Modeller and was assured that you can still purchase this series at any of 2500 hobby shops nationwide and they've recently dropped their US price from $16.00 to $14.00 USD. If you're in the same situation that I am in (no hobby shops within 100 miles) then you can actually save some money and hassle. AFV Modeller has an issue price of under $10 USD (no distributor mark-up) and you can subscribe for six months for $40 USD (per issue price of $6.67) or one year at $75 USD (per issue price of $6.25). Why pay $14 or $16 for the same issue - subscribe directly and have it mailed to your home.

You can get more information about AFV, AIR, and MAX Modeller from the publisher's website.

My sincere thanks to AFV Modeller for this review sample.