Book Review
leopard 2
Leopard 2 NATO's First Line of Defence, 1979–2020
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series and is on this occasion looks at the Leopard 2 NATO's First Line of Defence, 1979–2020. This book as with all of the titles in this series are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models available to replicate the Leopard 2 tank as a scale model.

The following portion of the introduction is from the Pen and Sword website:
When the Leopard 2, a third-generation main battle tank, first entered service with the Bundeswehr in 1979, at the height of the Cold War, it was indisputably the most advanced and potent tank in the world. During the last four decades it has undergone numerous upgrades and modifications to ensure it remains one of the most powerful tanks operating today. It currently serves with the armies of seventeen nations, from Canada to Turkey and including many European states.

The Leopard 2 is also a popular subject for modellers which is why David Grummitt’s highly illustrated expert guide is so valuable. As well as describing in detail the Leopard 2’s design, development and combat history, he gives a full account of the wide range of modelling kits and accessories available in all the popular scales. Included is a modelling gallery, which features six builds covering a range of Leopard 2s serving with different nations and a section of large-scale colour profiles which provide both reference and inspiration for modellers and military enthusiasts alike.


This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by David Grummitt; David Grummitt is likely best known to us modellers due to being the editor of Military Modelcraft International. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:

German tank development after the war
The development of the Leopard 2
Leopard 2A0-2A3
Leopard 2A4
Leopard 2A5
Leopard 2A6
Leopard 2A7
Leopard 2 in foreign service
Camouflage and Markings
Model Showcase
Modelling Products
Leopard 2 in foreign service (2)
Leopard 2 in combat
Further reading

This offering from Pen and Sword tries to cover a lot of ground in very few pages, but despite this the author has managed to provide the reader with a good quantity of information that is of a good quality being well written. The text is again split by the modelling section which I really wish was not the case; I cannot help feeling that the book and the series would flow more easily if the sections were kept together. The text covering the differing versions produced does cover the changes that have taken place and so makes it easier for the modeller to look for differences. The result of all this is that despite being extremely condensed the information is appropriate for the average modeller.

What I think of as the modelling sections of the title starts with the camouflage and markings and this shows a number of Leopard 2 versions in a good mix of camouflage, but the views are all from the left side of the vehicle. Looking at these drawings shows that the artist knows how to drag the viewers eyes over the image in order to drink in the detail. Something that I particularly like about these drawings is that the artist has shown weathered vehicles rather than clean ones and has also included added camouflage attributes; the results of this work is some truly stunning drawings. The models covered here are a reasonable mix with some details on what is used over and above the base kits with one being a true kit bash offering. The models are as follows:

Leopard 2NL, 41 tank battalion, exercise Griffin Enforcing, Lower Saxony, Germany, August 1997, This offering was built by David Grummitt using the Meng Model in 1/35th scale
Leopard 2A4FIN, Hame Armoured Battalion, Finnish Army, 2015, This model was produced by Imad Bouantoun using the Meng offering in 1/35th scale
Leopard 2A5, 3 Kompanie, Panzer bataillon 33, Bundeswehr, Combat Manuever Training Centre, Hohenfels, April 1997, This model was produced by Chris Jerret using the Tamiya kit offering in 1/35t scale.
Stridsvagn 122, 191st Mechanised Battalion, Norbotten Regiment, Exercise Trident Juncture 2017, This is another offering from Chris Jarrett again using the Tamiya 1/35th scale kit mixed with the Hobby Boss offering
Leopard 2A6 CAN, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, May 2008, This offering is provided by Lester Plaskitt and is a true kitbash using the Tamiya, Hobby Boss and perfect scale Modelbau offerings in 1/35th scale
Leopard 2A6, Panzer Bataillon 104, 10 Panzer Division, Bundeswehr, Germany 2012, This is a stunning offering from David Grummit using the Border Models offering in 1/35th scale; the foliage at the front is a very well tackled aspect of the model

The models and aftermarket offerings are as you would expect from David Grummitt very well covered, and I was very pleased to see that he pulls no punches when it comes to good and bad replicas of the Leopard 2. Reading through the section Hobby Boss comes in for some severe critique on the accuracy front. I was very pleased to see the companies who cater to the aftermarket modeller being well covered and the smaller companies that produce some first rate parts get some deserved coverage.


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft book series looks at the Leopard 2 family and the author has done a lot with a little space. This offering is the equal of those that have gone before and more than meets my expectations on this occasion. I appreciate that the photographs are a decent size in most cases which increases their value. On the downside I wish the text was kept together rather than split by the modelling sections, but then again the whole series follows this route thus far. As a title aimed at the modeller I think most of us will be very pleased with what it offers, but if you are looking for a lot of information this will only whet your appetite and why it is good to see a further reading addition at the back of the book.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the latest offerings from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series covering the Leopard 2 NATO's First Line of Defence, 1979–2020.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781526774101
  Suggested Retail: £16.99
  PUBLISHED: Nov 29, 2020

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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.


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