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.
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
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?
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
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!
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.
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