by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The Leopard tank, designed and engineered in Germany, is one of the most exported tanks in the world, including to Australia. In 1977 the Leopard AS1, based on the Leopard 1A3, entered service with the Australian Army. These Leopard's replaced the ageing Centurion tanks that had served since 1956. The Australian Leopard's did include the SABCA fire control system, addition stowage, improved trunion bearings, and combustion cleaners. The Leopard continued to serve with the Australian Armoured Corp until 2007, when replaced with the American M1A1.
While there has never been a plastic kit released of the Australian Leopard AS1, that I am aware of, a new release from Legend Productions provides the parts to convert a Meng kit.
Various Resin Cast Parts
3 Frets of Photo-etched
3 Lengths of vaious wire
Length of String
The Leopard AS1 conversion set from Legend Productions comes in the standard small box. Inside the box are a instruction sheet and two zip lock bags. The first bag contains several resin cast parts while the second bag contains three frets of photo-etched parts and lengths of wire and string.
Starting with the resin parts, they look to be very well cast from Legend Productions, as usual. The parts include the spare road wheels, various stowage, and some smaller detail parts. The stowage includes packs, six various jerry cans, and some other small bits. There is also a cast ring tarp, which from pictures found on the internet is mounted on the rear of the tank. Legend has also included two cast blocks with various rivets for adding some extra details.
Some of the other resin details include the antenna bases, side stowage boxes, and other surface details. As with most Legend resin casting, a lot of the parts include large casting plugs, and will require careful removal. I would suggest a good micro saw.
The photo-etched frets mostly contain the parts for assembling the rear turret stowage basket. This includes the bracing and screen parts. The assembly of this stowage basket does look to the hardest part of the conversion, and I would suggest that these be soldered together for strength.
Various lengths and sizes of wire are included to provide the wiring details for multiple parts including the head lights and the infra-red light on the mantlet. This should provide some great looking extra details. Also a length of string is included, and I can only presume it is for replicating the tow cable, as the use is not shown in on the instruction sheet.
The instruction sheet is a standard 8.5"x11" sheet of paper printed in color on both sides. For those not familiar with Legend Productions instructions, these are not the standard step by step flow, but are images of the parts in place as required during the build. At times this can be a little vague, and I would suggest when not really sure, refer to any reference images you can find. A look at this sheet does not show any usage or placement of the stowage items included in the set.
While Legend Productions stated the conversion set is for the Meng kit, I would think that it could be used on other available kits. It should also be noted that no Australian Army decals are included, so after completing the conversion, you will need to source the decals elsewhere.
Overall Legend Productions has provided another great looking conversion set and is very interesting. The casting of the resin looks to be very well done, and the photo-etched looks to be well done. The inclusion of bits of wire and string will add some great extra details. The only real drawback I see in this set will be the assembly of the turret stowage basket, it is all photo-etched and could be tricky for those not that comfortable with working with photo-etched. The details and stowage added in this conversion set should all work together to build a great looking Australian Leopard AS1, highly recommended.