Book Review
Char Leclerc
Char Leclerc Photo Sniper No 19
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The Leclerc is the only battle tank serving in operational combat units in the French Army. Designed as a Cold War era tank killer that could take on numerically superior enemies, the Leclerc has served the armies of France and the United Arab Emirates for over twenty years. Since 1989 when the first Leclerc prototype appeared, it has been counted amongst the world’s most complex and deadly AFVs. Despite its fame, relatively little has appeared on the Leclerc in English, and much of the information about the Leclerc on the web is incorrect. Even in French, it has been ten years since the Leclerc was studied in a published work. Char Leclerc by MP Robinson and Thierry Guillemain is a survey of the Leclerc’s development and service in the French Army right up to the present day. It explains the differences between the eleven Leclerc production batches produced for the French Army, the different Leclerc derived vehicles, and the changes that have transformed the French armoured force since the Leclerc first entered service. This latest addition to the Kagero Photosniper series is illustrated with over 220 unpublished photographs and ten colour plates, making it an ideal reference for historians and modellers alike.


This latest title from Kagero and supplied for review by Casemate Publishing is one of those titles that has mixed reference for the modeller and information for the armour fan very as well. The card cover is suitable for protecting the book and keeping it serviceable for many years if looked after. The paper is a good quality semi gloss offering and this paper does a good job of presenting both text and photographs. The 95 pages in the book are packed with information both pictorial and written.

The text in the title is well written and provides a great deal of information on the Leclerc and its various production batches. The information will prove of use if you opt to build a model to match a specific batch model Leclerc. I found the text rather interesting and the information it provides easy to take on as it is not technically heavy and instead uses plain English. The conclusion was of particular interest to me as it highlights a common issue affecting most of Europe and for all I know the US as well, and that is that as Europe has not been involved in a major war for many years, the population and governments no longer see the benefit of defence and only see it as costing a lot of money for no return; A very short sighted opinion in the World we live in today and one we may yet live to regret.

The photographs and prints in the book will in my opinion meet the needs of the modeller very well. For the most part the photographs show the Leclerc doing the tasks it was designed for as part of the French Army both at home and as part of a UN force. The Leclerc is also in use by the UAE who are the only external user due in no small part to the high unit cost. The photographs that adorn this book will for the most provide you with a wealth of information as a modeller on weathering, but there are also gems looking at the power pack and the like. Towards the end of the title is a dedicated walk around of the Leclerc and this is where you can find all of those finesse parts that need to be just so on a model. Also aimed at the modeller is a series of 1/72nd scale drawings, but unfortunately no 1/35th scale offerings. The title finishes with 8 artists renditions of the Leclerc in side profile and these will provide the modeller with some interesting finishing options for a potential model.


This publication from Kagero publishing has a lot going for it due to its appeal to more than just modellers; this is due to the fact that it would be equally at home on the bookshelf of someone interested in the Leclerc or modern armour. The balance between text and photographs really is very well done giving this title its broadest possible appeal.
Highs: A great mix of easy to understand text and photographs.
Lows: There are no obvious lows to this title as even the price is good.
Verdict: If you are interested in the Leclerc or armour generally in any way this title is well worth adding to your library.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-83-64596-35-3
  Suggested Retail: £16.99
  PUBLISHED: Jun 02, 2015

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Well, doesn't matter, I just ordered mine.
JUN 03, 2015 - 01:41 AM
They seem to be available lots of places, Ebay, SprueBrothers, etc. I wouldn't worry about it being discontinued!
JUN 03, 2015 - 07:12 AM
To answer the questions about the content of the book: 1. Christopher, it has nearly nothing about the latest update programme linked to the Scorpion programme. Only a couple of words telling it will undergo a new set of upgrade. 2. Graham, all the versions and variants are covered even the UAE one though this one lacks pictures of the rear part. 3. to backdate the Tamiya kit, you can also have a look at this article http://olivier.carneau.free.fr/kits/france/leclerc_rt5_djiti_1/index_gb.htm It deals with a late Series 1 upgraded to the RT5 standard seen in Kosovo. 4. backdating the Tamiya kit to a very early batch is feasible but your main trouble will be to redo the sprocket hubs. This point is well see nin the Kagero book. Probably a Heller sprocket would be useful. 5. if you need pictures of an early Leclerc, you can have a look at Prime Portal or my own site. Enjoy your build. Olivier
JUN 04, 2015 - 10:47 AM
Hello Olivier, Christopher, and everybody:
JUN 10, 2015 - 01:51 PM
The book only touches on the Scorpion and is focused closely on the French versions. The reason we avoided attempting to explain too much about the Scorpion is that concrete info was (and probably remains) hard to find beyond the fact that the whole Leclerc fleet will receive a common electronic upgrade. The exterior factors like armour upgrades and additional equipment visible on the outside will be variable according to mission. It is likely that a UAE style remote weapons station will be installed on the turret roof. For the UAE Leclercs, we assembled what information we could: Nexter and the UAE military are generally very quiet about the UAE Leclercs and we respected this. Equally, because the Leclerc is in service we avoided long discussions about the vehicle's armour protection. I myself am going to model some early Leclercs one of these days, they are my very favourites of the family... especially prototypes, T1, T2 and T3 (that is the first 3 batches).
JUN 10, 2015 - 02:00 PM
All in all, the book was intended to provide the English language reader the real picture of what was intended with the Leclerc, what this translated to as a production tank after the Cold War ended and how the design has evolved with the changing face of the French Army these past 25 years. At the time we wrote it, most of the English language info on the Leclerc was a mixture of facts and fiction and the capabilities of the different versions were very mixed up on most internet sources. Our main sources beyond my co-authors' excellent technical knowledge of the type, was by direct interview with officers and men who crew Leclerc MBTs or with the officers who participated in the development program. For a detailed look at the development of the Leclerc the reader is advised to get hold of the Marc Chassillan book, but this is only available in French, so there is a very brief summary at the beginning of our book.
JUN 10, 2015 - 02:22 PM
For what my opinion is worth I think you got the mix well balanced and the result is a book that should provide most with what they need.
JUN 10, 2015 - 05:01 PM
thanks for the kind words Darren. It was great writing with Thierry and I am looking forward to studying the French Armoured Corps' AMX-13 and M47 period next.
JUN 11, 2015 - 03:04 AM

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