|PRICE:||$7.50 at the LHS|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Leopard 2 is a German main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s and first entering service in 1979. The Leopard 2 replaced the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve other European countries, as well as several non-European nations. More than 3,480 Leopard 2s have been manufactured. The Leopard 2 first saw combat in Kosovo with the German Army and has also seen action in Afghanistan with the Danish and Canadian ISAF forces.
There are two main development batches of the tank, the original models up to Leopard 2A4 which have vertically-faced turret armour, and the "improved" batch, namely the Leopard 2A5 and newer versions, which have angled arrow-shaped turret appliqué armour together with a number of other improvements. All models feature digital fire control systems with laser rangefinders, a fully stabilized main gun and coaxial machine gun, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment (first vehicles used a low-light level TV system or LLLTV; thermal imaging was introduced later on). The tank has the ability to engage moving targets while moving over rough terrain. It can drive through water 4 meters (13 ft) deep using a snorkel or 1.2 meters (3 ft 11 in) without any preparation and climb vertical obstacles over one metre high. The tank is powered with a turbo-charged multi-fuel V12 diesel engine that produces 1,500 PS (1,479 hp, 1,103 kW).
As many of you know, Revell AG purchaced Matchbox back in the 1990s and while it initially released their kits in Matchbox boxes, as of late, that has gone by the wayside and they are released in Revell AG boxes, complete with the higher price and different decals/instructions.
This particular kit is from 1994 and while the box side clearly states it is a Revell AG product, made in Korea, the box top and instructions state Matchbox. Molded in an overall olive brown plastic, the kit has 'run and section' track where the bit around the idler and drive sprocket are single tracks where the rest are a long run of links. This has the benefit of providing easy to paint plastic for the links, though any track sag cannot be easily duplicated without heating the long sections or something similar. Typical of modern tanks, this one has a load of small road wheels, each with rubber tires so I fear that the builder will be spending a lot of the construction time working on these items. I should take the opportunity to mention that the molding itself is very well done and nothing like what one thinks of when one thinks "Matchbox".
The lower hull is made of several somewhat flat pieces that are cemented together to form the usual box on which the upper hull and side skirts are eventually cemented. There is not much in the way of things that are glued to the upper hull as most are already molded in place. The turret is basically an upper and lower half with the back of the bustle and the gun as separate bits. The two upper hatches are also separate pieces but not designed to be displayed open, which is just as well as no figures are included.
Instructions are typical Revell AG with 12 well drawn construction steps, all paints using Revel references (so some have to be mixed), and the instructions themselves being on semi-newsprint quality paper. Both markings options are the same camouflage pattern of black, green and brown. If anyone knows the RAL numbers for this, that would be good information to include. The small decal sheet is fairly well printed and provides the few markings needed. These are 'old style' Revell decals so are not up to today's standards. They are for Pz.Bat 83 and 84 respectively.
A very nice kit of a somewhat modern tank. Though many are probably thinking it is 1/76, the sprues do state 1/72 so I'll go with that until I learn differently. If 1/72 scale armor is something you like, put this on on your list.
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