In-Box Review
Leopard 2A4

by: Sabot [ SABOT ]

in the box

One of the first things I notice when comparing this kit to the earlier Dragon Leopard 2A6 is the type of plastic used. The earlier Dragon 1/72 scale kits were molded in a light gray plastic that had a soapy look to it, almost as if it had a transparent coating. The newer kits are molded in a light gray plastic that has a solid look to it that makes the detail look much sharper than the old style plastic.

The kit has all sprues bagged separately with one bag containing all the ďspecialĒ parts in a cardboard backed bag. Including the bagged upper hull, lower hull, upper turret and lower turret, there are seven polybags containing all parts.

In addition to the styrene parts, the kit includes pre-painted vinyl tracks, a vinyl mantlet dust cover, a length of twisted tow cable, and a pair of photo etched intake grills. These are contained in the special parts bag along with the kit decals.

Construction begins with the lower hull. It is a three-sided tub with a separate rear piece. There are three holes on the bottom surface of the hull. One large hole has a plastic plug that covers a spot where the upper hull can be secured with a screw. No screw is included and this is most likely a feature of a pre-assembled and pre-painted display kit. The other two holes are likely spots for the pre-decorated model to be attached to the display base. These could be easily be plugged with a piece of sprue or styrene rod and puttied over. There is ample suspension and torsion bar detail on the lower hull sides. The bottom hull has a rectangular escape hatch detail molded in below the driverís compartment.

The new upper hull has a separate driverís hatch and separate engine intake grills. The kit includes two different intake grills sets. The pair called out in the instructions will be used with the photo etched grills. The second pair not called out in the instructions can be used by modelers not comfortable with photo etch. The main detractors regarding the upper hull are the molded on tools and the non-slip surface. While the tools are molded on, they look very sharp and more in scale than separately molded tools would look. The molded on non-slip surface makes the upper hull look like it is covered in bath mats. The wire provided for the tow cables looks too thick for the scale and are larger than the styrene cable eyelets.

The new turret is well molded with separate commander and loader hatches. The molded on non-slip surface looks much better than the hull surfaces. The edges are squared and the overall surface patches are flatter and more in scale. The turret represents a sixth batch or later production model with the welded over ammunition supply hatch. Optional parts include a Hoffman device used to simulate tank gunfire during maneuvers and an amber flashing ďkillĒ light (aka whoopie light) used to denote a destroyed vehicle. Extra parts include the 120mm main gun used on the Leopard 2A6.

The pre-painted vinyl tracks are steel colored with black pads. They will save the modeler some time during detailing and will look nice with just a little weathering to suit your needs.

One of the nicer features about this kit is the decal sheet. It includes markings for nine Bundeswehr tanks, a Polish tank, Swiss tank, Finnish tank and two Dutch tanks. Paint schemes are the standard NATO 3-color pattern, the NATO pattern with winter white added, a Finnish black and green pattern and the overall green color used on Dutch tanks.
Overall conclusions

In conclusion, this is one of the best Leopard kits on the market. There are some minor hiccups, but overall this kit is recommended for Leopard fans, especially those who want to build non-German Leopards.

Our thanks to Dragon for providing this review sample.
Dragonís latest modern armor kit is the third Leopard 2A4 in 1/72 scale (counting the Revell/Monogram/Matchbox as one issue and the old late 1980s Hasegawa kit). A part of their Armor Pro series, this one is by far the best of the three. While this kit shares the same lower hull, road wheel sprue, side skirts and tracks of Dragonís Leopard 2A6 (#7232), the rest of the kit is new.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7249
  Suggested Retail: $11.00
  Related Link: Dragon Models Website
  PUBLISHED: Jun 16, 2005

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