Italeri 1/35 Leopard 1A2 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2015||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||36507||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice details, easy build||Cons||No decal options for 'real' subjects|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$39.99|
In the mid-1950s, the Bundeswehr issued a requirement for a modern 'Standard-Panzer' to meet the increasingly hostile threat from the east. This new tank was to be armed with the new British L7A3 105mm main gun and given a power-to-weight ratio to give it agility on the battlefield. The Leopard project was initially a multi-nation collaboration with Germany, France, and Italy working together, but the partnership was ended and France went on to develop their similar-looking AMX-30.
The first tank off the production line was the Leopard 1 which was a limited run for evaluation. The Leopard 1A1 was the next batch that included the armored skirts and a gun stabilization system. Incremental improvements were made in armor during the Leopard 1A1 production run with a number of the earlier tanks being retrofitted to meet the (then) current configuration. The Leopard 1A2 featured an improved armor turret and some would also receive PZB 200 night vision system and digital communications. Italy would be the primary operator of the Leopard 1A2.
There's been a long-running conversation in the hobby community about how to get folks from computer games to the modeling bench. Several venues have succeeded to varying degrees including a series of kits from the World of Warcraft. I remember when World of Tanks first launched and they were trying to attract modelers into their online armor wargaming world. This online gaming environment has since expanded to XBox as well as Windows platforms.
Italeri has teamed up with World of Tanks to offer a number of their 1/35 armor kits to allow gamers to create models of their online vehicles. In this release, Italeri has reissued their Leopard 1A2 kit which has been hard to find lately. Let's take a closer look:
The kit is molded in olive green styrene and presented on three parts trees plus two runs of silver-gray-molded vinyl track. Construction of the kit is basic and will be a good project for modelers with basic skills. Among the features and options:
- Nicely detailed suspension
- Vinyl mesh for engine grille instead of photo-etch
- Individually rendered pioneering tools (not molded as part of surface of upper hull)
- Positionable travel lock
- PZ-200 unit on mantlet mount
- Optional main gun simulator on main gun barrel
- Optional tank commander figure
- World of Tanks poster
- Game codes for you and your friends to play
The instructions provide four different paint schemes using color call-outs for Italeri paints, but all schemes appear to be variations of World War 2 German panzer camouflage which is evidently the norm inside the game environment. The kit also comes with a set of decals common to all of the Italeri World of Tanks releases but only provide one of each marking on the sheet so you can't do both sides of your tank. There are at least two of each national marking provided: Wehrmacht, Bundeswehr, two styles of Soviet red star.
Despite the game-oriented markings, this is still the best Leopard 1A2 kit on the market. Meng has released other versions of the Leopard 1 including the cast (round) turret 1A5 which was a modernized Leopard 1A1, but they haven't tackled the 1A2 (yet). This kit is a straightforward build of this subject and AMS modelers can find the Eduard photo-etch set should you wish to enhance the kit's details.
My sincere thanks to Hobbico for this review sample!