Meng Leopard C1 conversion Build

After finishing off some appetizers, my main course for the Great Canadian Campaign is going to be trying to turn Meng’s Leopard A3/4 into a Canadian Leopard C1. Shooting for a relatively early model.

Started off with the running gear and I’m already unimpressed.

Drive sprockets have these great bloody things growing off the back. Sprues also helpfully connect to the rims rather than the spokes making clean up extra exciting.

Road wheels have a mould defect where the socket for the poly cap on every 4th wheel is too shallow so the caps need to be trimmed.

This is my first Meng build. I’ve only ever heard positive things about their kits so far, so I’m hoping the wheels are the exception for this kit.

There are also some general accuracy issues with the kit which I was aware of going in. Most of it will be helped by the C1 upgrade kit from Legend. What I need to consider are the road wheels them selves, which are shaped wrong but I think I can correct, and the barrel which is missing the thermal sleeve. After market parts for those upgrades would basically double the build price of this project, so I think I’m going to lean towards a little visual subterfuge instead.

Visually I want this to be an early C1 in the factory German Gelboliv. Haven’t decided if this is going to be parade fresh in Garrison or something dirty and on EX in the countryside.

More to follow in the coming days once I can find time to really tuck in.

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Finished up the running gear and suspension. Sad to say, the flash and mould lines continue. For what one reviewer praised as “…state-of-the-art moulding with crisp detail…” I’m a little disappointed. The suspension in particular reminds me more of a late 80s kit.

Not to worry though, in an effort to push my skills and avoid another monotone green lump I’ve decided this cat is going to be out in the field in winter. when complete. As such most of the lower hull is going to be muddy anyway.

I also added some texture to the lower hull (a little rougher than I’d have liked in places) and have started replacing the weld beads. The moulded ones are too fine compared to real life and it’s another technique that I need to develop.

Next step is fixing or adding welds on the upper hull and then trying to sort out all the goodies in my Legend C1 upgrade kit (good lord there is a lot of stuff in here).

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Welds fixed on the upper hull (kinda) and some texture added to break things up visually come paint time.

This is my first serious attempt at welds. I’ve tried both rolled epoxy and stretched sprue. I don’t think I’m very good at either yet, but sprue seems like less fuss. This Tamiya putty sticks to everything except the model. Once they cure I’ll sand down some of the lumper beads because as always, a grinder and paint makes me the welder I ain’t.

Also PSA, always work in a well ventilated area kids! Benzene fumes are no joke!

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not to sure why you are putting texture on the hull. it is actually really smooth except where anti- slip is applied.

So is the putty. It’s not so much texture in the physical sense as it is visual. It’ll break up the final paint layers. Even modern rolled steel isn’t mirror smooth and this hull sure as hell is.

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I am doing a Revell leopard 1A4 at the moment. The kit is 40yrs old😀
I am using the Legend AS1 conversion and it’s good kit👍
Looking forward to see how this turns out.

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So, not a ton accomplished today but I’ve finally tucked into the Legend kit.

This is my first time working with one of their kits and so far I’m both thrilled and a little stunned.

PE looks to be top notch and the resin material they use is beautiful to work with. Almost styrene like in terms of feel and workability. I’m wondering if it’s 3D printed. No more brittle chunky stuff that needs endless sanding!

Downside is the “instructions” are about as vague as it gets. Reference material is essential as is constant back and forth between the kit and the detail directions. I’m defiantly learning as I go, and for the quality I’m willing to measure 6 times and glue once (or twice).

Got a little bit done on the glacis. I’m starting to regret my decision with the weld beads. I need to find a mule to practice on more. It felt good to try something new though.

Also managed to (finally) get the PZB 200 night sight and it’s protective cage in place. First step was removing the existing locating marks from the mantlet. The Meng kit builds up with the sight on the opposite side from the C1.

Here’s where I ran into a dilemma. The Lengend set is technically for a late model C1. This means it comes with the expanded protective cage which is meant to cover a thermal pointer as well as the night sight.

The cage that is supplied with the kit just wasn’t doing it for me. It doesn’t line up with any of the reference photos I have in either shape or mounting. It was also meant to mount on the other side and the mantlet isn’t symmetrical.

I had briefly consisted scratching one out of copper wire or something but couldn’t figure out how to do that without soldering and I’m just not set up for that. Then I had a moment of clarity.

I just cut down the larger cage into something that worked.

PSA kids. Always check the alignment and orientation of your parts before gluing…

It’s not perfect my any means, in either shape or construction, but it’s still better than the supplied parts.

I’m waiting on some reference material to arrive before I go any further.

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Your Leopard is coming along but you are working your way into creating a version that never existed. You’ve mounted trousers on the glacis plate in a configuration that was only seen on late version Leopard C1s and C2s but you’ve backdated the PZB 200/IRS 100 protective cage to the original version.

Former Leopard C1 commander here…feel free to post questions as you continue.

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Here are some photos of a early Leopard C1, factory fresh for reference, and the best Canadian Leopard C1 & C1 MEXAS reference set on the market, with lots of photos and material to help anyone build a correct Leo C1. Available from trackjam models:https://www.trackjam.com/

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See. I saw that the gaps were there for the MEXAS blocks but I liked the look of it not really knowing what I was doing.

I was shooting for an early version of the tank so I guess I’ll have to go piece it all back together now :man_facepalming:

It’s what I get for going for aesthetics over research.

Thanks for the assist. I’ll probably have more questions as this gets going.




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Progress on the Leo.

Grouser blocks have been fixed on the glacis

Smoke launchers, commo wire spool and other bit added to the turret

Also ended up with an aftermarket barrel from Leopard Workshop. Not sure how happy I am with this one. There are some casting issues and the fit is a little dodgy. There’s a pronounced droop to the barrel when it’s all together. Such is life with niche short run kits however. I’ll see if I can live with it or if I stick with the supplied option which has a couple of great bloody seams to contend with.

Special thanks to @recceboy and @Jason_Bobrowich for their help. That DVD is spectacular and you’ve put me onto a new source for Canadian aftermarket goodies.

@Jason_Bobrowich, I have some questions about markings if you don’t mind.

I don’t know what your vintage is, but do you have any knowledge of the big number decals used on EX in Germany?

In the photos I’ve seen they look vinyl and either self adhesive or stuck on with gun tape.

Also, other than the maple leaf and call sign, would the early C1s have carried any other markings? Tac signs, unit identifiers etc?

Thanks in advance.

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Good updates and a pleasure to help out! The Reforger markings were commonly used to denote friendly and enemy forces during NATO exercises. They were a stick on type marking and some crews also used masking tape or gun tape to hold them on better.

You can source the markings from Echelon Fine Details in the form of decals in their “Reforger Markings” decal set. Lots of options for number and size combos.

https://echelonfd.com/products/details/D356280

Depending on the Squadron you would have the call signs on both hull bins and possible the rear turret bin for the PZB 200 and/or the driver’s tool box on the hull rear.

A Bridge Classification would be on the upper right side of the glacis plate below the driver’s periscopes.

Tac signs would be on hull rear and glacis plate. Archer Fine Details produces or used to produce a set of Tac Signs in a dry transfer format.

Echelon also has some decal sets for Leopard C2s that include a couple of generic Armoured Regiment Tac Signs.

https://echelonfd.com/products/details/D356006

Here is my Canadian Leopard C1 diorama…1986, RCD in Germany on a Combined Arms exercise.

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That’s Jason

I’ll take a closer look at those Echelon decals.

I’ve got a set of Archer’s tac signs and bridge discs so that’s those sorted anyway.

Your dio looks great. Herman the German is a nice touch.

No prob…Here’s a few other pics of my diorama to keep your motivation going.

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Aaah, draped cam nets! A man after my own heart.

A little more progress.

Lower hull is now together and it’s starting to actually look like a tank.

I’ve got all the wee bits stuck in where they belong (I think). I ended up chickening out and not using most of the PE tool brackets that I had. I have very little experience with PE of this detail and the amount of surgery that was going to be required to carve out the tools from the moulded styrene brackets was going to result in nothing more than butchering the tools and swearing a lot.


The detail on the supplied stuff is such that I don’t think I’m going to be unhappy with the end result anyway and the Legend kit was worth it to get those few things on here that make the difference with a C1 vs a regular A3.

In a major step forward in my game however, I decided this cat needed a crew.

I grabbed the “NATO Tank Crew” set from Verlinden. I know the only thing really making them Canadian is that I’ve stuck them in a Canadian tank, but there’s very little on the market for a Cold War Canadian armoured crew.

If I look at my display wall I can count the figures present with half of a hand, so these guys have literally doubled my bodies and I’m quite happy with how they turned out.

The blue stuff on the periscope lenses is liquid mask not paint.

Next up I need to get a barrel fitted and start work on my track links.

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Its looking AWESOME Don! The PE work, wiring all perfect! This is one of my favorite builds from the GCC!

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It’s a tank!

Base coat is on. Primed with Mr. Surfacer. Painted with AK Real Colours Gelboliv (late) with Tamiya Buff for the highlight coat.

Highlight are probably a little too subtle. Everything I’ve read and all my reference photos seem to show the Gelboliv being pretty bomb proof. Given that and that this tank is supposed to be reasonably new, I don’t see a lot of fading being present.

A few construction issues that I totally missed on the primer coat are now glaringly apparent with the green on. Debating how much work it will be to fix and repaint vs ignore. Will probably fix though.

Also sacrificed a travel lock for the commander’s MG to the carpet monster.




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Wow! That looks just perfect!

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