Glad to see a new mold of the AMX-30 and of post-World War II French armor! More than 3,500 of the tanks have been built since they went into production in the mid-1960s, and they remain in service today.
The kit contains well-formed parts, including clear parts and posable hatches, and there are markings for two vehicles.
Building the hull from the bottom up out of several parts presented no fit issues. The axles have enough strength to hold the weight of the model, and I had no trouble with the road wheels, which went together normally. The kit has optional suspension parts, so be careful to check your references. (You can find a few videos of this on YouTube.)
Assembling the tracks was a trial. The jig provided in the kit did not help the assembly; when it was loaded with the bottom half, the center would pop up and come apart. I had to glue them separately and more tightly, then snap them together. That is where a second problem came in: Intermittently, the tracks would come apart while I was handling them. I glued them together to prevent that.
Though it comprises several subassemblies, I found the upper hull easy to deal with. The kit supplies a form for bending the photoetched-metal muffler guards to shape. Mud flaps are optional. I didn’t add the mufflers until after I had painted the top of the hull. Then I added the guards. Tools are provided with and without straps, but the instructions only show the ones with straps.
The turret is in lateral halves, which leaves a seam that you will need to clean up after assembly. The gun mount, breech, and mantlet are subassemblies that build into one unit to be added to the turret front. Make sure to use acrylic paint on the rubber rain guard; enamel will eat it!
Mounting the turret baskets was a little tricky; the locating holes are not deep enough. I suggest drilling the holes deeper for a better fit.
The commander’s cupola comprises subassemblies of the rotating hatch, anti-aircraft cannon, and machine-gun mount. The anti-aircraft mount is a little finicky with the gun and searchlight installed on it. The searchlight pieces E59 and E8 did not fit together well; I sanded both halves for a better fit. I painted the main searchlight with Alclad II chrome and masked off the clear part before applying the camouflage color.
Because I chose to mark my 30B as a NATO-camouflaged vehicle, I painted my model with Tamiya NATO green, brown, and black. The tracks are painted with a Tamiya metallic. The decals went on fine with no silvering on flat surfaces. Tamiya pastels and a thinned overspray of mud provided the weathering.
Aside from the annoying track assembly, the kit went together smoothly. It took me 38 hours to finish Meng’s AMX-30B, with a good part of that time devoted to making the tracks work.
Not a bad kit, but because of the track issue I’d recommend it to advanced modelers.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2013 FineScale Modeler.