by: Darren Baker [ ]
The following introduction is supplied by the publishing house.
This is a brief discussion of the iconic Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tank families, touching on some of its best-known members. Serious students of the Leopard family are encouraged to seek out the Leopard trilogy (2003 Barbarossa Books) written by Michael Shackleton, the Tankograd special series, or the concise Osprey New Vanguard titles by Michael Jerchel. Excellent written, digital and web based reference covering the Leopard's use by the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Spain- and naturally Germany; have all appeared in recent years as well as a wide range of excellent model kits.
Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 MBTs are of course completely different vehicles in concept- and they come from different stages of the Bundeswehr's Cold War armaments program. They nonetheless have a number of similarities and are together the most commercially successful and widely sold European tank designs from the 1960s to the present day.
This new offering published by Kagero is a soft backed book printed in a portrait style. There are 116 pages of a good quality matt paper in this offering looking at the Leopard 1 and 2. This is a duel language title in Polish and English, English on the left and Polish on the right of each page. The authors of this title are M.P. Robinson, Vitor Costa and Chris Jarrett.
This book can be considered a book of two halves, it begins with 39 pages that look at the vehicles history as it progressed into a 1st rate tank that has gained great respect on the export markets of the world in Europe and further afield. This section is accompanied with a good quantity of photographs of the various vehicles in the Leopard family. These photographs offer some excellent visual reference but perhaps it is the images of the tank in the field that will prove the most appealing visually.
The next offering looks at a Tamiya Leopard 2A6 in 1/35th scale built as a Polish vehicle by Vitor Costa. This build is covered in 44 pages with a good quantity of aftermarket sets such as photo etch and some minor scratch work such as grab handles. The application of these parts has been well covered and explained in my opinion.
The painting and weathering steps taken on this model are again well explained and have resulted in a very appealing model, this has been presented in a series of images at the end of the build. Reading the text covering the approaches taken during the production of this model was a relatively easy task, but the text is a little clunky in places; this may be due to the translation of the text.
Next up we are presented with a build of the Tamiya 2A6 in 1/35th scale as a Dutch Leopard, this build is the product of Chris Jerrett. This offering has been built using the Legend Productions resin parts along with photo etch and scratch parts in plastic. The result of this work is a very nicely finished build with a lot of finesse. The photographs are well presented, but I would have liked to see captions with each
The painting and weathering process followed in this model is well explained, the weathering will prove popular with those that like to have a dirtier model in this case. The processes and techniques used by Chris Jerrett are well known to many, but he does achieve a finish of which I am jealous. I know that heavy weathering is not popular with all but the result does make for a very eye catching finish that I cannot fault. I found the text that accompanies this built easier going as it tends to flow more naturally in English at least.
The book itself comes to an end with some drawn colour images of the Leopard 2, these images number eight in total and are only shown from the side.
This is a nice offering from Kagero due to a nice mix of the factual offering and the two very nice builds. The aspects that grabbed my attention most was the painting and weathering of the models that I found the most interesting to me visually. Some of the scratch work done here may encourage a modeller to tackle it themselves and be aware of the results that can be had.