Ref: Heller #81137
Scratch by Didier Lecru

To begin with, I’d like to warmly thank the website "Ruedas y cadenas" from which I gathered all the necessary documentation to build this uncommon model.

In the seventies, Venezuela acquired from France some AMX30Bs. Concerned about the power of the engine, the government decided to replace the latter. Many manufacturers from various countries were contacted for that. The contract was won by Cadillac Gage (USA). This motorization needed the lengthening of the hull rear part and subsequently the lengthening of the tracks and a new engine deck. These changes led to other transformations such as a new turret bustle, the mounting of a 0.50 MG, a new gunner sight, the move of the jerrycans to the turret front, the installation of a sensor on the turret and at last new side skirts.

To do that, I bought the well-known Heller kit. Then I “kitbashed” a Tamiya M60 kit to get the 2 air filters and the 0.50 MG.

1/ Hull

At first, I cut away the engine deck from the upper hull. Concerning the running gear, I just removed the rear part in order to lengthen it. Then I made a cardboard template matching the various pictures of the vehicle I had. In fact, I made two of them as the first one was too small. Once done, I shifted to plastic. With the template it’s easier. Thus one can make from scratch the rear part comprising the grilles over the engine, the two side bins, and the air filters.

The sprockets are redone. Once this step complete, both air filters are set in place. Very quickly, one can see the Heller kit is out of scale. In my opinion, this model is neither long enough nor wide enough. That’s it, one must adapt itself.

On the front part, the side bins are removed and new ones done accordingly to the Venezuelan version. The driver hatch is modified. The engine cover plates (on the glacis) are sanded away. The headlights and their brackets are redone. The latter are protected by meshed protections. 4 spare track links are links and fitted to the glacis. New shortened fire extinguishers are made.
An auxiliary power unit is made and fitted on the left side of the engine deck. The infantry phone box is redone and adapted tot its bracket. The pioneer tools are (shovel, mattock, crowbar, spare track links, etc) are installed on both sides of the vehicle.
The front and rear mudguards are added. Both side skirts are made and added.

2/ Turret

The original gunner sight is removed, a replacement one is made. The old bustle is removed and again replaced by a new one. Between the TC cupola and the loader hatch a kind of metallic sheath is added as well as a sensor. A mount for the 0.50 MG is made and fitted with the MG onto the antenna base on the turret front left side.
The turret basket is modified and detailed. The smoke dischargers are detailed. A large stowage bin is added to the right turret side. Two jerrycan holders are made and fitted to the turret front on each side of the gun.
The kind of rubber flap over the gun mantlet is redone from lead foil.

3/ Tracks

They are lengthened by 5 links and attached with a bit of brass wire.


All three are Tamiya references issued with either the M60 or Abrams kits. One is modified in order to have his arms opened.

5/ Decoration

The tank got a coat of primer then a two tone camouflage (beige and “bottle glass” green Humbrol refs #121 and 88). There is no strict pattern for this camouflage hence the variations from one tank to another. I applied the one of an existing tank. I applied some washes and used some pastel chalks.
The Venezuelan national markings are totally made from scratch.