Loading... Please wait...

Blog

Chinese Power Vehicles Techniques and Camouflage Guide Book Review

Posted by

Product review “Chinese Power”

Published by AK Interactive

Reviewed by Glen Broman

And now for something completely different I thought as I was letting my fingers do the walking through the “upcoming good staff” page of the Last Cavalry web site. A new book by the folks at AK Interactive on Chinses armored vehicles called “Chinese Power”. It seems a logical product with the influx of kits from Chinese modeling power houses like Trumpeter, Hobbyboss and Meng, not to mention all the love the Chinese digital camo schemes have been getting in the modeling press these days. I was a little hesitant to pull the trigger with the $55 price tag with nothing more to go on than a picture of the cover, but, as you may have guessed by now, I bought it.

So was it worth it? In a word, yes. First, this is a book about Chinese armor, published in Spain and written by European, Chinese and American contributors. Tell me that isn’t a veritable smorgasbord of the world modeling community. Secondly, I don’t know that much about Chinese armored vehicles, most of my exposure having been to vehicles they sold other folks. It turns out the Chinese are the Bargain Bobs of the world arms markets these days, which adds to the appeal. Type 69’s in Iraqi, Pakistani or Bangladeshi schemes anyone?

So what do we get for our hard earned modeling shekels? For starters this is a 243 page book, so it’s not small. It’s a heavy card stock cover, and it’s completely color on high quality paper. The book is organized with a brief history of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) armored component followed by a listing of most vehicles since 1945. For me this was the most valuable part of the book as it lists the Type number as well as the Chinese State Factory number, for example, the Type 96, ZTZ 96 Main Battle Tank (MBT). So let me go on the record as stating that the Chinese designations can be confusing as hell with all of the different versions and sub variants. This book definitely helps clear up the confusion. This section is also full if color profiles of vehicles in Chinese service as well as export customers. Very impressive. The next section covers modeling techniques which consists of different ways of making digital camo schemes. There’s also a section that shows the various camo schemes over the years with the colors matches to the AK paint line. The final section covers build articles on various kits with emphasis on the painting and finishing techniques.

There are a few weak points in the product. One of them is a pet peeve of mine, indifferent editing and translating. Overall, the translation is good, but there are a few that leave me scratching my head, along with the occasional sentence fragment that looks out of place. To be frank, good editing fixes problems like those, that but I fear that editing is becoming a lost art. I would also have liked to have seen more on early Chinese armor from the 1945-49 civil war period. The only profile from this period is a Japanese Type 97. Finally, the profiles are all captioned, but the photographs are usually not. Captioning the pictures would help with knowing exactly what variant you are seeing, along with some context, but this is a minor issue.

On to the strong points; the illustrations are excellent, with a combination of color illustrations and color photos. The modellers involved in this project are all world class builders and painters. Probably most significant is that this is the first up to date book in my library on Chinese armor. That alone makes it worth it in my opinion, the build articles and technique articles are just icing on the cake. Even if you have just a passing interest in Chinese armor and only have a few kits of in your stash, this is well worth the purchase price as a reference, especially if you are looking for some way cool paint schemes.

A few final random observations as I read through the book. First, the PLA has got a lot of vehicles, but they do not appear to be as modernized as I originally thought. According to the book, the most prevalent tank is still a transitional 2nd/3rd generation MBT, the Type 90/96, developed following the first Gulf War when the Type 69s the Chinese sold to the Iraqi’s got their butts handed to them by Coalition armor. What is also interesting is that the Chinese designs are largely derivative. The Type 58 is a T-34/85 clone, as are most tanks up until the most recent ones, although even those tend to resemble modern Russian vehicles. The Type 80/88 is a reverse engineered T-62 with a German diesel engine and an L7 105mm gun. The utility vehicles covered in the book are all HMMWV, Land Rover and jeep clones with just a little soupcon of UAZ and UAL thrown in. Chinese wheeled armored and amphibious vehicles appear to be the exception, as they show some interesting capabilities and the amphibious assault vehicles look to be ahead of those in the West. From a camouflage perspective, the Chinese are really fashion forward with the razzu, high speed digital and naval schemes. I’ve always wanted to paint an armored vehicle blue. Now I have my chance.

Overall, I recommend this product; it represents value for money, it’s well done and has a ton of great possibilities for interesting subjects and schemes. And finally, if you’ve ever had trouble sorting out Chinese vehicle designations, here’s your Rosetta Stone.

I purchased my copy from Last Cavalry at www.lastcavalry.com.

 

Soviet Armor in Foreign Wars Book Review

Soviet Armor In Foreign WarsEgypt – Iraq – Libya - Vietnam - AfghanistanInside The Armour PublicationsReviewed by Glen BromanNormally I’m not a big fan of junkies. They lure you in with something that makes you feel good, start feeding that Jones with ever better stuff and boom, you’re hooked. I say normally I’m not a [...]

Read More »


The Weathering Special - How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles

Oh Lord, I’ve died and gone to Heaven. A whole book dedicated to painting and weathering 1/72 armor. If you have misspent your life building armor in pipefitters scale, AKA 1/35, you should reject the Dark Side and come over to the Light side, we have milk and cookies. So let’s talk small scale advantages, do you [...]

Read More »


Inside the Armour Modelling Churchills #1 Book Review

Most of you that know me understand my unhealthy fascination with large green British Infantry tanks named after famous British Prime Ministers. We have our own support group and everything. “Hi, my name is Glen and I build Churchills.” A lot of them, so sue me. Like junkies feeding my habit the guys at ITA Publications produced another of their [...]

Read More »


Modeling the Gulf War 1991

Modelling the Gulf War 1991By Abrams Squad Reviewed by Glen BromanI’m convinced that many of the publishing houses that are catering to the modelling crowd these days have discovered a way to electronically monitor my purchases and observe what books I have on my shelves from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit over my house. I’m convinced [...]

Read More »


David Parker's B-17G Big Bird Modelling Guide

Have you ever been asked, “What is your favorite aircraft?” I have a feeling we all have been asked that many times and many of us have answered, “The Boeing B-17 Fortress”. I've been to airshows and have seen the B-17 doing flyovers and loving the sound of those beautiful radials. I've paid my $5.00 and moved throughout the aircraft, [...]

Read More »


Scratchbuilding Masterclass Book Review

Product Review“Scratchbuilding Masterclass”David Parker, Alex Clark, Stephen Tegner George Moore, Chris MeddingsPublished by Inside the Armour PublicationsReviewed by Glen Broman“Wow”.This qualifies as my shortest review ever. When I picked up this book from Dave Youngquist at Last Cavalry and told him I would write a review on it, I think he was expecting something a little more [...]

Read More »


Vallejo FC Model Tips Book Review

Product ReviewFC Model tips Volume 1By Federico Colada Reviewed by Glen BromanChristopher Walken loves cowbells. Robert Duvall loves the smell of napalm in the morning. Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann loves his Marine Corps. Me, I love modelling technique books. I also love the smell of napalm in the morning, but that’s a story for another [...]

Read More »


Vallejo Paint Stand and iModelkit Review

Ok, we're now in the beginning of a new year and it is the time for renewal, commitment, and organization. So I have taken that to heart with one product that I have found online and one that we now carry on the website.The first product is a great new paint organizer from Vallejo. The organizer comes in [...]

Read More »


​Modelling the BTR Eight Wheeled Abrams Squad Review

Modelling the BTR Eight WheeledPublished by Abrams SquadReviewed by Glen BromanThis is another Abrams Squad Special, following on the heels of their recent Abrams project. The title may leave one in suspense, “Modelling the BTR Eight Wheeled”. “Eight Wheeled “what? The Grammar Nazi in me is screaming for another noun, but the Modeler in me is screaming “who cares, [...]

Read More »