Leopard 2 A7V
Vespid Models, 1/72 scale
Reviewed by Graham Carter
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) designed and developed the Leopard 2A7 main battle tank (MBT) for the German Armed Forces. The subject of this kit, the initial Leopard Main Battle Tank, the MBT Leopard 2 A7V entered service with the Armed Forces of Germany in 2014 and was also ordered by the Canadians.
The new battle tank is a further development of the Leopard 2A6 and features enhanced protection and reconnaissance capabilities. It can operate in low-intensity conflicts and high-intensity warfare. The Leopard 2A7 features the latest generation of passive armour and belly armour providing protection against mines and IEDs.The Leopard 2A7 is fitted with adapters for mounting additional armour modules or protection systems against RPGs. It is a further improved version. The upgrade package included Hull mine protection, 17 kw Auxiliary Power Unit, Air-Conditioning Unit, Solar reducing Barracuda matting, Battlefield Management System, Attica thermal imaging unit for both Commander’s Independent Sight and Gunners Sight, Spectus multi-spectral driver’s vision device and Fire Control System modifications to program DM 11 High Explosive 120mm rounds.
All of these modifications and additional equipment has resulted in modifications to the rear of the turret giving it a new distinct look compared to other Leopard 2 Tanks. Currently it is one of the best main battle tanks in the world.
The MBT’s primary weapon is a 120mm L55 smoothbore gun, which can fire standard Nato ammunition and new programmable 120mm HE-rounds with a high elevation aiming angle from -15° to 70°. The tank can be integrated with a 7.62mm machine gun and 40mm grenade launchers or a .50 machine gun. Smoke grenade launchers can be mounted on either side of the weapon station to conceal the tank from enemy observation. It is equipped with a modular protection kit with passive armour modules to offer 360° protection to the crew from anti-tank missiles, mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire.
It is powered by an MTU MB 873 turbo-charged diesel engine, which generates 1,500hp. The tank can also be fitted with additional power generators with increased power rating for conducting checkpoint missions. It can attain a maximum speed of 68km/h and has a cruising range of 550km.
These Vespid kits provide us with a great range of vehicles in the ‘one true scale’ with wonderful detail and lovely mouldings, along with a massive parts count and realistic sectioned tracks. Unlike many kits in this series there are very few parts that are not used from the sprues. The kit itself comes in a very strong top-opening box with a rather nice illustration of the tank in the standard green/brown scheme as one of the decal choices. This was the first of Vespid’s Leopard kits and is of the first generation of the Leopard 2 family. It is very similar to kit VS720015 for the export Leopard 2 A7+ variant as well as VS720016 for the latest variant, the A7V. Airfix did the Leopard 1 yonks ago, and Revell has presented us with the 2A5 and 2A6 variants while Takom have also done a 2A7 but I have not had the opportunity to examine these and would expect the Vespid kit to be superior.
The kit consists of several sprues, all in separate sealed bags, with one large one containing the two sprues for the running gear and hull details, another with all of the new turret, two medium sized ones with sundry parts, and the separately packaged hull top and bottom and turret.
This kit also contains a turned metal barrel for the main weapon, although a plastic one is provided as well, and there are two miniature towing cables for the hull. Also included are two PE sheets for the engine vent gauze covers and sundry handles and external fittings, some of which would test my eye-sight!
Finally there is a small decal sheet with markings for two identically coloured examples with no identification.
The schemes are the standard Bronzgrun/Lederbraun/Teerschwarz (green/brown/black ) patchy scheme which is illustrated in full colour in the last two pages of the instruction booklet. Both examples look very attractive. With other nations employing this MBT there are sure to be other schemes and markings to be applied.
The plastic itself is of top quality, beautifully moulded with superb surface details that will come up a treat under a layer of paint. The sectioned tracks will go together to produce a realistic fit and sag in this scale - each length consisting of eighteen long and short pieces, the latter to help get around the drive and idler wheels. Each link is very nicely detailed. The wheels and tyres are moulded as whole units so no separate rims to fiddle with!!
Harking back to the ancient Airfix kit, you can still rotate the rather bulky turret and the barrel looks like it can be elevated.
Instructions are in the form of clear exploded annotated drawings - eighteen steps in a folded double-sided A5 booklet with colour camouflage drawings and a table of recommended paint colours from MrHobby, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya. A couple of those new-fangled QR code thingies will direct you to more information.
Once again Vespid has produced an absolute cracker of a kit and is likely to attract many small scale modern AFV modellers.
Highly recommended to the small-scale builder.
Thanks to Vespid Models for the sample https://www.facebook.com/vespidmodels/
Text by Graham Carter