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In-Box Review
135
Leopard 1 Upgrades
Leopard 1 Upgrades for most releases
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by: kenneth oestergaard [ KEO ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Review

This review covers the following sets.
  • LW001-1 Leopard 1 Replacement Road Wheels and Idlers – Standard Wheels ”Type 1”
  • LW002 Leopard 1 Replacement Road Wheels and Idlers – Curve Inner Rim “Type 2”
  • LW008 Leopard 1 Welded Exhaust Grill
  • LW010 Leopard 1 Suspension Upgrade

Although they have only been in existence for a very short time Leopard Club have already established themselves as a valued source for aftermarket products for the Leopard tank. Especially as Meng’s Leopard 1 A4/A3 requires a number of upgrades for Leopard tank fans. It is in this area that Michael Shackleton of Leopard Club comes to the rescue.

All four of these products are cast in resin and arrive in small cardboard boxes, this is better than some aftermarket producers who supply their products in overly large boxes. All of these sets have been produced using CAD package and then as a 3D printed master, this enables Leopard Club to produce their products with a high level of detail not seen in other mediums.

LW001-1 and LW002
The biggest drawback in Meng’s Leopard release are the road wheels and the idlers as they are poorly rendered and the inner road wheels have no detail except for a large round disk. Both kits offer new idlers with a much higher degree of detail, and the inner wheels are correctly depicted. All in all you get an improved set of wheels for your model. I particularly like that they have been detailed on the inside – you can’t find many road wheel sets with these details for many tanks.

There are many types of road wheels for the Leopard tank. The most common ones are those found in LW001-1, these were found on original vehicles. The later wheel was a slightly more “curved” on the inner face. This one replaced some of the original ones and was also introduced to the export versions. This version is found in item LW002. The modeler therefore has to make a thorough study before choosing which kit to buy. Both set can be used with all Leopard offerings whether that is Meng, Takom or Italeri/Revell Models. The suspension arms have a different sized attachment pin on the kit suspension arm and therefore the diameter of the hole in the road wheels needs some attention. This is, however, thoroughly explained in the instructions. The build-up is therefore a very easy one.

Some may argue that it’s a waste of time and effort to put detailed inner road wheels on a model as they can hardly be seen! But when one thinks of the amount of effort and money we spend on many other, often much smaller items, I say “why on earth not”? A highly detailed model must surely also include the inner road wheels, wouldn’t it?

LW008
Another huge disappointment with Meng’s Leopard tank kit was the exhaust grills. Unfortunately they look like the Heller offering from the 1970s. With this release a better finish can be obtained. The buildup is relatively easy. I do wonder though why the producer has opted for a replacement part that involves cutting in the kit. Why not simply make a replacement part that fits? (the replacement grills are deeper than the ones supplied in the kit) It’s not that this is tricky; it is a thing that I believe most modelers can do without too much difficulty. But it’s always more cumbersome to make cuts that needs filling than just to replace a part, done thoroughly, though one will find the fit is very good indeed. The instructions for this are very clear. As these are intended for all kits of the Leopard Tank the instructions includes steps for Meng, Takom and Italeri/Revell models.

There is one thing I found out, however, that I would like to pass on. One has to remember that the grills are set on an angle to the deck. The cut through the deck therefore has to be at the same angel too. The instructions says the cut is to be made 2mm from the engine deck; I made mine a little less and then sanded the cut at the correct angle flush to part under it. This made an almost seamless join.
Together with the two exhaust grills the kit also provides two C-brackets for the side skits. This is a highly welcomed item ad this small yet important detailed is often missed on many Leopard models. A high five for this inclusion Michael!

LW010
The last kit in this review is an update for the suspension system this comprises of 46 parts including suspension arms, return rollers, shock absorbers and damper brackets make up this kit. All parts are highly detailed and will make a huge different on any model. The previous mentioned road wheels, indeed all Leopard Club road wheels kits, are actually made for this kit. This kit too includes good instructions for placing the parts on any Leopard kit.

Some may argue that this is hardly needed as the skirts are going to cover most if anyway – which is true. However, if one plans to build one during maintenance, or if the modeler are seeking the highest degree of detail in general, then this kit will give you just that.

Verdict

The level of detail in these kits is very high, and they will all improve the level of detail on any Leopard kit. The casting of the parts I have found to be flawless and so too the fit to a Meng Leopard 1 A4/A3 kit. The way the parts are engineered is logical and sound, although I do find that a simple replacement part for the exhaust grills would have been easier that on that requires cutting in the donor kit. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow; they also include instructions for both Meng, Takom and Italeri/Revell models.
SUMMARY
Highs: High degree of detail, clear castings and much needed upgrades
Lows: May be more appealing for the enthusiasts?
Verdict: They may appeal more to the Leopard buffs than the general modeler – but then again, there are many such kits. I can´t recommend them enough.
Percentage Rating
98%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: See Text
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 20, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.57%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 92.21%

About kenneth oestergaard (keo)
FROM: NORDJYLLAND, DENMARK

Copyright ©2018 text by kenneth oestergaard [ KEO ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Michael of Leopard Club made the following comment at his Facebook group regarding the exhaust grill. Leopard Workshop exhaust grille comparison I have been asked why the hull has to be cut to fit Leopard Workshop grilles LW008/09. The problem with all of the kit grilles is that the inlets/grooves/call them what you will, do not have enough depth. This is partly due to the fact that they have to sit on the existing hull surface, plus the fact that the back plate of the grilles have additional thickness. To get any kind of depth to the grilles, as in reality, the hull has to be cut because LW resin grilles have more depth to them giving a much more accurate depiction of the real thing. All of the plastic grilles are also innaccurate in that their slats are all equall width and equal distance. In reality, they are not. That explains it to me; there is an illustration too that shows his point.
FEB 20, 2015 - 12:48 PM
Thank you Kenneth fo a nice review. Can I further add that early Leopards did not use side skirts (nor the variants based on Leopard including Gepard) which is where the suspension upgrade comes into its own. Also, the photo at the bottom shows a Leopard 1 with a smaller idler and upgraded hydraulic dampers, not the vertical volute springs in the kit. These idlers and dampers are available in the 'Export Suspension' kit LW012.
FEB 20, 2015 - 02:13 PM
What about the use of these on a Tamiya Leopard to make an Aussie 1A$???
OCT 21, 2016 - 04:40 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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