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Andreas' Armour Pages

The Leopard 1 Tank family has seen considerable growth in the last few years. The most recent Kits are based on the old but very good Italeri Kit of the Leopard 1A4.
What we are still missing is a good kit of the “original flavour” Leopard of the first few production batches. I have tried to fill this gap in my Leopard collection. The conversion is rather easy and should be possible for anyone interested.
The Revell Kit of the Leopard A1A1/A1A4 has about all necessary detail needed for this easy conversion, although in the meantime REVELL has released the Leopard 1A2 version which might be ever better as a basis.
I have built the chassis almost straight from the box.
All early Leopard tanks had the fender parts no. 38 + 39 and the very early ones/ first batch also sport the square infantry telephone box part no.36. The early batches did not have the lifting rings parts nos. 66 and 40. The notches will have to be closed with putty and the body side “noses” sanded. The snow growsers (parts 95-98) were not attached and the tracks not covered by the additional armour as usual on all later versions. Therefore parts 88 – 91 are not used, too. Instead the kit gives us the early type mudguards parts 100 + 101.
Parts 61 + 62 (rear mudguards) are not used, too.
The tow chains will have to be cut to abt. 2/3length (see photos) and the attachment points relocated. The lighting system needs only one minor change, part no. 92 has to shortened, use part 94 as reference. I have not attached the rearview mirrors as in those days road safety restrictions were not as tight as nowadays and crews used to leave the mirrors off to avoid loss or damage. You will have to add two plugs on the frontal armour plate, these are common to all Leopard 1‘s, but on the now bare front plate you really miss them if not attached. All periscopes armour will have to be reworked, i.e. thinned and the “roofs” cut.
The turret needs only little work. All additional armour plating goes to the spares box. Revell has given us the necessary indications for the handles that need to be attached directly onto the turret, four handles could be used from the box after careful sanding and another set of two has to be made of wire. The plastic parts can be used as guideline. Four lifting devices (parts 136) have to be attached to the turret front and rear. These as well are leftovers from the old Italeri Kit and Revell simply forgot them although they have to be used for any Leopard 1, too. Although Revell forgets it: both gunner’s periscopes need and armoured cover. Do not attach part no. 212 (warning light) but only the base fitting. The antenna‘s are abt. 5cm long.
Finally a big difference is the main gun barrel. The early Leopards did not use the thermal sleeves affixed to all later tanks. I used an M60 barrel (thanks Tamiya), cut it right behind the fume extractor and inserted a piece of aluminium tubing instead. I am pretty sure that most modern armour freaks have one of these barrels left over.
The last and most difficult problem is the track. I used a leftover from an old Tamiya kit (the toy-like thing) instead of the Revell tracks as these are only suitable for upgraded Leopards. It would have been better thought to use the Italeri M47 track instead. The end connectors are far better that on my version but you have to slaughter an M47 for this...
The early Leopard’s markings were attached in a slightly different way, the number plates and unit markings high on the front and the weight class on a BIG yellow sign. I purchased these from Truck line. The body colour is Revell’s M46 and finally the kit was washed with thinned black and brown.

Sources :
Walter J.Spielberger - Waffensysteme Leopard 1 und Leopard 2
ISBN 3-613-01655-9 Motorbuch Verlag
Michael Jerchel - New Vanguard Leopard 1 MBT 1965-1995
ISBN 1-85532-520-9


Copyright © 2000 by Andreas Hüger. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written consent is not permitted.