Text and model by Joseph Bertucci
The idea of modeling a vehicle, unknown in France, of the AMX-13 family of vehicles ended in the will to build this non common vehicle as soon as I saw its profile by Dario Silva on the FAV club website.
Like most of the Southern America countries, Venezuela have a large amount of French and US materiel. The Venezuelan army experimented the 20mm twin-barrelled turret of the AML S550 Panhard but the project failed to meet the expectations and was cancelled. Designed and built by the Armor maintenance center (CEMANBLIN) Ó Fort Paramacay in the city of Valence, this ingenious system was equipped with a turret mounting two Bofors L70/40 guns. Coming from M-42A1 DUSTER vehicles, the turret is fitted to the chassis of a AMX-13 M51 light tank. This production was made thanks to the important stock of M-42A1 and AMX-13 M51 in perfect condition and according to the Venezuelan army policy. A series of AMX-13 have been stored since they were prematurely phased out to be upgunned and become AMX-13 C90 (90mm main gun) A total of 7 Phoenix type vehicles and at least 6 Rafaga systems were built, which was enough to equip two anti-aircraft self-propelled gun batteries in the Venezuelan army organization. Today, these vehicles have been phased out and replaced by air-defense missiles.
The AMX-13 RÓfaga
The oscillating turret with the 75mm gun has been removed and replaced with the M-42A1 DUSTER one.The latter is fitted above the side bins hence the Rafaga is higher than the AMX-13.
A searchlight can be mounted.
The crew is of 4 : a vehicle commander, a gunner, a loader and a driver.
Being a mix of two kits (AMX-13 C75 HELLER and M42-A1 DUSTER TAMIYA) it requires major modifications to the hull and the turret. EDUARD photo-etched parts will greatly improved the turret fineness.
A/ The running gear
Pending the replacement of the kit tracks by resin ones, the running gear has been weathered with a mix of rust and orange shades. HELLER vinyl tracks unfortunately are the weak spot of the kit.
B/ The hull
The left side bin is modified and on the right side, the front bin is raised. The headlights protections are redone as well as other details visible on the pictures.
C/ The turret
This is the master part which requires the most of caution and work. The turret well is fully scratchbuilt and positioned on top of the hull. The bins are made from plastic card, the tarp retaining eyelets are of metal.
The PE parts improve the whole set and gives a more current standard look to this old kit. Indeed, the turret gets most of the PE parts (bins, MG support, sight, handles, controls, etc...). It is still moveable and now fitted inside its well. On the shield, the eyelets are of metal too. The antennas are acupuncturist needles.
D/ Painting and decals
Having no precise information about the paint scheme, I based my work on the profile by Dario Silva as there is no color picture of this vehicle. I used a car primer and the following HUMBROL references : Green 91 and Sand 121. Both were diluted with 50% of white spirit. The camouflage was first realized with MASKOL. The soft edge between the shades was improved with ź essence F ╗ (lighter fluid). The decals are from Aztecmodels.