Academy 1/48 Leopard 2A5
The Leopard family of armored vehicles has been the backbone of the Bundeswehr (German Army) for many years. Originally developed to replace many of the US-built 'surplus' tanks, the Budeswehr wanted a platform that could keep up with the threat and survive. As a result, the Leopard has evolved along with the armor developments of allied forces and adversary alike. The later Leopards were also the first to employ the 120mm smooth bore main gun that would later be adopted by the US, UK and others.
The Leopard 2A5 represents the current main battle tank in use by the Bundeswehr and exported to Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain. It features advanced armor protection, improvements in road mobility as well as sensors and targeting systems.
Academy has just released this kit as part of their series of remote-control armor kits in 1/48 scale. Molded in medium green-colored styrene, this kit is actually a snap-together model. The kit is flash-free and also free of any visible injector pin marks.
The transmission is pre-installed in the lower hull. The tank is powered by two electric motors, one driving each track. Rubber-band-styled track are provided, though the track pattern is accurate for a US tank, not the Leopard. This really isn't a big deal since you'd be building this tank to hunt cats and other household pets, not to win contests.
Assembly of the tank looks to be nothing more than an hour or so of clipping, filing and snapping into place. Painting will probably take a little longer than assembly, as the tank will require a splinter camouflage scheme if you want to replicate the Bundeswehr examples.
The wire leads will have to be attached to the two motors in the hull, and while a simple 'strip and twist' will work, I'd recommend soldering the leads into place. The batteries are housed in the remote controller, and while it will accept C cells for power, the unit has an interesting adapter included to allow the use of AA batteries instead.
This kit is designed for fun, though a serious 1/48 scale modeler can omit the motors and wiring and achieve a decent Leopard (if you also replace the track). It is buildable by all skill levels, so I can recommend this kit to all modelers for fun or competition.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!