Haynes the car book producer has released another title to attract the fans of armoured vehicles and this offering covers the Leopard 1 MBT; from the modeller to military enthusiast this book has a little to a lot for every one of us. So as the book states on the cover this title provides an insight into the Leopard 1 MBT 1965 to present (all models and variants). The Leopard 1 and following variants has to be the greatest export earner since the Centurion MBT where armour is concerned and this book takes you for a tour of these vehicles. So letís take a dive between the cover.
This offering from Haynes is in the usual format of a good quality hard back cover. Inside there are 188 pages of good quality glossy paper that as anyone who has used a Haynes manual when fixing the car take a lot of abuse and remains intact. The authors of this offering is Michael K. Cecil and Michael Shackleton; I do not know a lot about Michael K. Cecil, but Michael Shackleton is known to me and I suspect many other modellers for his excellent titles on the Leopard tank.
The following information is provided by Haynes:
Michael Shackleton is an authority on the Leopard family and author of the Leopard 1 Trilogy published by Barbarossa Books (2003), which at 600 pages in three volumes is probably the most detailed history of the tank ever published.
Mike Cecil: Australian military historian and author Michael K. Cecil is a former Head of Military Heraldry and Technology at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia. He is widely published on post-war armoured fighting vehicles including the Leopard. Michael also restores military vehicles.
The contents of this title are laid out as follows: Forward Introduction Development of the Leopard
The French Contribution
Industrial Group A
Industrial Group B
Industrial Group C
Trials and Results
Series II Prototypes
Series-O Pre-Production Tanks
Anatomy of the Leopard 1
This chapter has more entries than I care to cover individually, but it covers everything from the cooling system to the crew heater and even turret stowage.
A breakdown of the countries that have used or are operating variants of the Leopard 1
Operating and Maintaining the Leopard 1
Running, Servicing, Non-Technical Inspections and Refitting
Verbal Order for Vehicle Control
The first chapter of this offering looks at the birth of the Leopard family of tanks and a tank that quickly became a stunning success story. The chapter covers the situation after the Second World War and how France, Germany, UK and the USA looked at producing a joint MBT, but as we know this fell about with each country going their own way with the possible exception of the British providing the main gun for the Leopard 1.
The second chapter is a real delight in that covers a host of specific areas on the tank and provides the information in both written and visual terms; the result will be a really big plus for the modeller who likes to get detail just so. The photographs are of a very good quality and more than satisfies my expectations from a visual view point. The end result of this section is a plethora of details that you may wish to add.
The next chapter covers the growth of the Leopard 1 and the changes that were made. This chapter enables you or more accurately helps you identify the changes made and so be able to say what tank you may look at in an unrelated platform. This is a very helpful section of the book for the modeller that ends with a flow chart showing which export countries took what. I would have liked a few more pictures here of the later models, but space is what it is.
The fourth chapter looks at the vehicles that were based on the Leopard 1 and is a chapter that appealed to me greatly due to an interest in the Gepard. The text in the book covers changes made to the vehicles for the new usage and even covers aspects such as the relocation of the battery packs. It needs to be remembered that these vehicles based on the Leopard 1 are a part of the book rather than the focus so the coverage is limited. This chapter also comes to a close with a flow chart showing which countries took any of these vehicles in.
The fifth chapter of the book does exactly what it its title indicates and shows the Leopard 1 family of vehicles in use with many countries armed forces and clearly shows what a great export product the Leopard 1 was. I found an answer to a question I saw some time ago about the Gepard models released with side skirts in place; it would appear that the Dutch always fitted side skirts. One of the biggest assets here for the modeller is the country specific external modifications and camouflage colours used.
The final chapter of the title covering keeping the Leopard 1 operational in the field covers everything you could wish for. The section covers everything from checking oil levels in the field by crew members to complete refits in a production line. I do feel that this chapter of the book is the one weak area due to the very limited photographic content and with maintenance being Haynes bread and butter I would have liked to see more from this chapter.
With Michael Shacklton being involved in this release by Haynes covering the Leopard 1 family I expected a lot from the title and for the most part I was provided with well written information and good quality photographs as expected. I did feel a little underwhelmed by the section covering maintenance from a photographic aspect, but I also accept that books have a limited amount of space and what you provide in one chapter detracts from the space you can provide another chapter. I do feel this is a good one stop shop book on the Leopard 1 which will provide the modeller with a broad selection of reference.
Darren Baker takes a look at the latest armour release from Haynes covering the Leopard 1 MBT 1965 to Present (all models and variants).
About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís 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 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...