Italeri 1/72 Leopard 1A2 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2005||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||7031||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed exterior||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$15.00|
The Leopard 1A2 was developed in the 1960s by the West Germany to provide that country with its own combat vehicle industrial base. Up until this point, the German Heer had been operating surplus US Army tanks, but the growing number and quality of the Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces pressed Germany into developing a tank to European requirements.
The resulting Leopard tank was not only successful with the Heer, it also armed the armies of Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Italy as well. The Germans didn't stop there. Together with Rheinmetall, they developed the even more lethal Leopard 2 series armed with a revolutionary 120mm main gun. So revolutionary that the US Army adopted the same gun for the M1A1/M1A2 Abrams.
Italeri has re-issued the ESCI 1/72 Leopard 1A2 kit. The ESCI 1/72 armor kits were VERY nicely detailed and easy to build. I can recall having more than a few build tanks on my shelf many years ago before my son decided that he liked them more.
Molded in olive green styrene, the kit is presented on three parts trees and to look at the molding, you wouldn't know that this kit isn't all-new tooling.
As was typical of ESCI engineering, the road wheels and track are assembled on separate lower hull sides before being joined to the hull bottom. The turret comes next with a load of details from smoke grenade launchers to hatch rings and turret baskets. The upper hull is the final subassembly with fender, engine vent and other assorted details rounding out the project.
At this stage, the upper and lower hull halves and the turret are all integrated and the final details installed including the side skirts.
Markings are provided for three examples:
- Leopard 1A2, 19 Gruppo Esplorante, Italian Army
- Leopard 1A2, 6th Panzer Grenadier Division, German Army
- Leopard 1A2, 1st Corps, Belgian Army
This will build up into a nice rendition of this early Leopard main battle tank. Whether for war gaming or the contest table, this project will definitely be an eye catcher. Recommended!
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!