Leopard 1A1

My latest build is the ancient Leopard from Italeri (No 374) advertised as a 1A2, but it is in fact a 1A1. I started the build ages ago (sadly a recurring theme) then abandoned it but have recently dusted it off and set to. It’s not that bad a kit although I was horrified by my inattention to detail back when I started it at least a decade ago: poor fit and glue seams everywhere. That said, the kit was a little deficient in that an episcope was missing and sink marks and knock-out pins abounded. I replaced the engine cover with an excellent etch set from Perfect Scale Modellbau which was a vast improvement over the kit’s mesh. I also added chains to the smoke dischargers -always a must I feel on Bundeswehr models, and obtained a set of plugs for the mantlet cover from Leopard Workshop, and very good they are too although a bit of a test for the eyesight!

The kit tow ropes were not very good at all and I ordered some from Karaya; sadly, excellent though the cables were I could not get them to seat in the resin ends, they just would not engage. In desperation I utilised an ancient Verlinden accessory, which sadly, was a sort of thin nylon string, but at least it fitted the ends. However, the end results still look a little weedy to my mind and I may try and beef them up a tad by thickening them with PVA glue.

I modelled the ammunition hatch open as I hope to depict this with an ammo replen in progress. I generally like my models to look as though they’re engaged tactically so I tend to add camouflage nets and sometimes foliage; I just think they look a little more aggressive and “busier” when thus adorned. To effect this I used my normal method of gauze bandage, diluted PVA glue and used tea leaves (fresh, not from bags).

I’ve described this in an earlier post but it might be useful to repeat here: first cut pieces of gauze into roughly 2 inch squares (any larger and they become difficult to handle). Dilute some PVA glue into a saucer or similar shallow receptacle - if a bowl it all becomes difficult. Using tweezers - x2 - immerse the gauze into the glue mixture and slowly withdraw; this can be tricky as the bandage will sort of go “slurp” (metaphorically!) and soak up the liquid - which after all - is what it’s designed to do. However, gently withdraw from the saucer across a piece of paper towel using the tweezers to tease it all out into its original shape, or the nearest you can manage. You can always rearrange it once on the model. Apply to the model. Repeat as necessary until you’ve covered the model for the effect you desire.

Let the model dry; make your self a cup of tea using fresh leaves and spread out the used leaves on a paper towel on a plate or similar (they will need to thoroughly dry out). Apply a slightly less diluted PVA mixture to the gauze on the model; depending on the effect you’re after leave some of the netting visible eg for my Leopard, to be shown as the early/mid 70s, the scrim panels were just sparse enough to reveal the netting beneath; you’ll need to check your references for this. Let dry again.

Go over the tea leaves with a further mixture of glue, about as diluted as the first application; the leaves will soak it all up but this helps to seal them as it were.

At this stage I apply primer; this is normally followed by the base coat and then I pick out the details on the model including the netting and scrim, again, check your references for colours etc. Some leaves may still be dislodged and you may also require more than one coat, as despite the PVA “sealing” they still seem to soak up paint, however, you may have to experiment a bit.

This may be old hat to some, and I know that some modellers have other methods.

Anyway, here’s my Leopard:

Brian

14 Likes

They keep getting better and better Brian !! And I am sorry to everyone if I keep banging on about your damn cam nets, but they are the best scratch ones I have seen and these on the Leo are spot on. I remember them well from having them scream past me on the Stapel Trg area in the then W Germany while I plodded along in my Chieftain lol … very well done.

Thanks again John; as always - a pleasure (it’s so nice with the new site to be able to contribute a bit more with pictures).

I know, the ease of posting images now is a real show stopper for me…

I was in Germany in 78-79 and this kit looks spot on so far. I just know you want to send me a camo net and I won’t stop you. :smile: This Leo has the right look and I am looking forward to seeing it when you finish.

1 Like

Sorry @TopSmith , I am getting the first cam net … you’ll have to get in the queue lol

That is a nice looking cat, I just love a freshly painted tank! I’m intrigued by something I’ve seen on different (internet) builds, I’ve noticed a few modelers will assemble the entire kit with all it’s external stores, spray it, and then paint the various parts, cables, tools, road wheels etc… The results are surpriseingly well done. I have always built in sub assemblies or gathered each part that gets a like color, squirt it/them and carry on with construction. I’m anxious to see how your Leopard turns out, the netting looks fabulous, in fact I could take it as is. I’ve been dedicated to US armor for years but I admit I’m becomeing a fan of the Leopard and it’s different generations. Intresting technique regarding your camo nets, I had considered the same process with cheesecloth and ground up lichen to simulate Kudzu for a dio I’m working on, your netting gives me confidence it might have an acceptable appearance. Thanks for posting.

1 Like

Thanks Terry

Regarding the construct and painting: I find it depends on the model. For instance if - in those rare cases I require a model to be relatively clean - I will paint the suspension elements separately and mask off appropriately. Ditto items such as stowage rack contents, Commander’s MGs etc. In this case, as the suspension will be pretty dirty it’ll probably get a coat of dark earth and my all time finisher - Tamiya Buff - so no detail painting as such required, though I’ll probably paint the hub caps red, but they’ll end up obscured I’m sure. However, as I’ve painted a few Leopards in my time I find I can (just about) paint the details once installed, it takes a bit of doing but I reckon I can get away with it(!) Next stop will be the overall paint scheme using Tamiya Khaki Drab XF-51, which I use to get a decent Gelboliv. In the meantime I’ve also to convert some figures for the model.

On occasion I use tea leaves for other purposes; for instance I used them as ground scatter under the fir trees in my T-64B model (see separate thread).

Thanks again for your supportive comments.

Brian

1 Like

Wow! Nicely done so far! I am building the same kit as my first Leo with a goal of building the entire family. You are using Tamiya XF-51 Khaki Drab, but the instructions call for Olive Drab. Is Khaki Drab more accurate?

Thanks!

Bill

William, thanks! I found the kit needed a bit of work even though I’d started over a decade ago; some of the fit wasn’t brilliant so keep an eye out for that - loads of scope for Mr Dissolved Putty etc . Italeri seemed to have missed an episcope next to the Comd’s hatch - or at least I couldn’t find one in the kit instructions or amongst the parts. If looking down from above at the turret say, with the gun pointing south, it is sort of at 7 o’clock from the hatch between the Comd’s sight; hope this makes sense and of course you may well have your own references. It is shown on the kit instructions’ schematic.

Re colour: for years as a keen Bundeswehr modeller I used Revell’s enamel No 42 which is Gelboliv - that is Yellow Olive. Bundeswehr vehicles were always in this brownish shade until the adoption of the tri-colour NATO scheme some time later. I always referred to it as Bundeswehr Brown; however, although the Revell colour is pretty accurate I feel it is a bit dark for 1:35. You could always lighten it of course with perhaps a bit of yellow, but I found eventually that the Tamiya paint mentioned is just about spot on, and would recommend it. Sadly, a lot of modellers, in accordance with the kit instructions (of whatever model) abide by often bland instructions to use an olive drab or worse, a green; this is completely wrong and Bundeswehr Brown is the order of the day!

I am of course, aware that colour perception is a very personal thing and I hope I haven’t rattled any cages here, but for me, Tamiya Khaki Drab XF-51 works.

Brian

Brian,

Thanks for your quick response! I appreciate it. I went to my LHS immediately after posting to get the Tamiya Khaki Drab on your suggestion, and it looks nice on my model. I am new to modeling Bundeswehr armor but have modeled American modern armor as well as WWII German, American, Soviet, and British. Therefore, I am learning.

Bill

Roger that Bill, good luck with it all; 'glad I was able to help.

Brian

Brian,

One problem I have noticed with the Italeri kit is that the mirrors are simply hollowed out “cups”. There was no attempt by Italeri to model the mirrors themselves. How did you handle this?

Bill

Bill,

On the real thing they are in fact recessed deep in a rubber sort of cup; on my model I simply folded them down as I was trying to portray it as on exercise, or at least a scenario where the Driver wouldn’t be using his mirrors that much. However, on other German models with this type of mirror I’ve simply painted the bottom of the insert using a Molotow Liquid Chrome pen or used chrome adhesive tape (the type that you can get from motor accessories stores - or used to be able to). If the bottom of the recess isn’t particularly smooth then I fashion a small piece of card, glue that in then paint/apply tape as necessary.

Brian

Nice.
It may be “old hat” but still not everyone can pull it off that well. For US cammo (I don’t know if it differs from Bundeswehr cammo) I used to use parsley flakes and oregano leaves. It’s a little larger than tea leaves and represents the little squiggles quite well. Tried valerian tea a few times. Other than putting me to sleep, was more ideally suited for ground cover. Kinda twiggy…

Brian,

I have to say that I like the “folded down” approach because it is very fragile as provided in the kit. I have been tempted to replace the provided mirror supports with staples bent to shape. I will have to research how they look when folded down.

Thanks!

Bill

Brian,

I am also considering reflective silver tape or actual small mirrors found in any craft store.

Bill

Well thanks Robert, very kind of you to comment.

'Love the bit about Valerian - I might use that as my excuse when I have the odd nap and my wife remonstrates - “I’m only modelling dear”.

Seriously, I think US-type cam nets from that time period were constructed in a slightly different way; I can just about get away with stowed US nets using the tea leaves method but if deployed, then I haven’t as yet found a solution. The sort of crinkle cut plastic panels were affixed in a more linear way, or, it may have been the actual cut itself I think; that said, I haven’t any plans to show a US deployed net in any case just yet but we’ll see. My first encounter with US equipment was way back in 1971 when a US Box Bodied Vehicle turned up at our Corps HQ in the field and my 17 year-old eyes had enough to contend with let alone check out things from a modelling perspective, mind, I hope I haven’t forgotten too much.

Thanks again.

Brian

Tin foil makes a nice mirror.

Looks great with all the updates. Worse part of the Italeri kit is the engine intake screen.