Meng Leopard 2 A7+

Published: August 4th, 2019     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Bob LaBouy, IPMS# 3064
Scale: 1/35
Company: Meng Models
Price: $82.50
Product / Stock #: TS-042

A Very Brief History of the Leopard

During the late 60's Germany began to plan for new primary main battle tank which would replace the M48 Patton tanks purchased from the US (in service through 1993). Early designs were grouped around the initial concept called the MBT-70, though it never got past the initial design with only a wooden hull constructed. For several years numerous prototypes were designed leading to the Leopard I design in 1965, which used a German built 105mm Royal Ordnance gun. These tanks continued in use through 2003 and included 4744 main battle tanks.

In the early 1970's additional development work began with the German Defense Ministry and the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH (known as KMW) leading to the development of the second series of the Leopard 2 which included it's 120mm smoothbore main gun and it's four major variants, the 2A4, 2A5, 2A6/A6M, and now the 2A7+. The primary difference with the Leopard 2A7+ is the increased armor protection (to combat the urban threats common in today's world) and the remotely controlled weapons mount (both of which is clearly visible on the Meng kit). The Wikipedia article contains a very detailed article on the Leopard 2 for those of you who wish to learn more and can't get enough on the Leopard 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_2.

The 2A7+ has currently seen use with the Canadian forces in Afghanistan, and in use by Hungarian and Qatar, as well as having been approved for purchase by Saudi Arabia.

This Kit

This model of the German Leopard is an excellent kit, providing the modeler with very fine details and engineering throughout the kit's assembly and construction. It is a complex and impressive kit in the number of parts alone; numbering over 937 (of which there are over 504 individual track pieces), including a large number which are likely used in other basic versions of the Leopard.

While I am reasonably familiar with various model tread types, these treads are some of the best engineered parts I have yet encountered. Each section is comprised of three individual parts and assembled as a totally moveable and articulated section. They work well and look great.

To further illustrate this point, the turret alone is comprised of over 176 individual parts! There are clear vision periscope blocks for the turret, headlamps, and sights. The hatches can be opened (though the kit does not contain any interior details) and the suspension and torsion bars are movable.

The overall engineering of this kit is beautiful. The parts match each other and fit well to the other kit surfaces. The kit appears to also accurately match Leopard's dimensions. I did run into a few minor issues, including:

  1. the fit of numerous parts (especially very small parts); grates around the engine bay are poorly fitted.
  2. some small amount of flash, including a large number of small stubs which require removal and some would actually block the assembly of the parts themselves.
  3. a few aspects of the instruction drawings continue to puzzle or confuse me, though very close inspection provides sufficient detail helps.
  4. There are numerous places where instructions for one side are intended for duplication or like inclusion of the other side, with little more than a drawing at the later instruction plate. Very careful attention must be paid in order to complete the model's assembly and to watch the detailed drawings very carefully (I often found myself searching for later detail drawings to verify the placement or positioning of parts shown in previous drawings).
  5. this was definitely an 'Optivisor' for my aging Mk I optics--there were numerous very small parts as well as some challenging PE parts.

The Build

The construction of this kit is pretty much straightforward. The instruction booklet contains 20 pages, including a color reference section and a separate full color sheet (as noted below). Possibly a sign of my age, but I have noticed that my much earlier practice of just opening any new kit and using my intuition to guide me through the basics of the kit's assembly, has now given way to first reading and then following the instructions step-by-step. I also find myself actually carefully reading the kit instructions (another sure sign of aging and possibly maturing). I Recommend reading the instructions carefully and follow them step-by-step (I also now check off the steps as I progress). These precautions help because many of the kits contain such a large amount of details, number of parts, and steps for construction.

Painting

I completed the painting using Mission Model Paints; Tan primer (MMS-006), NATO Brown (MMP-033), NATO Green (MMP-034), NATO Black (MMP-035), Black (MMP-047), and Worn Black Grey Tires (MMP-105). I had overheard Seattle Chapter member commenting about the NATO Black appearing too green and I agree. It was off color in my application, so I reverted to Mission's basic black instead. Some smaller parts (such as handles) were picked out using the appropriate colors. I completed my dry brushings, using my old standby Winsor & Newton's Artist Oil color Naples Yellow Light, No. 426.

I am sorry to see that Meng has chosen to only list AK Interactive acrylics for their color chart, as I have continued use and more colors from Vallejo, Mig, and Mission Models. There are scant color references, with only the box top Desert Tri-color, and NATO Tri-color paint schemes on the box sides and top, and a small enclosed two-sided print (five view) display of these two schemes.

Decals

There are only four kit decals, providing the modern Bundeswehr Balkenkreuz. I have seen a number of German armor pieces and this basic lack of individual or personal markings appears to accurately reflect their current practice.

Overall Evaluation

I strongly recommend this kit of the Leopard 2A7+. The Meng kit builds into a beautiful representation model of the Leopard, and along with other Leopard kits provides for the full range of these important tanks.

  • Front left
    Front left
  • Rear view
    Rear view
  • Right rear
    Right rear
  • Right front
    Right front
  • Turret detail
    Turret detail
  • Left front
    Left front

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