Leopard Fibel ~ Snow Leopard – Leopard 1A4

Passing in Review … a series of modeling reviews by Ned Barnett


Snow Leopard – A Bundeswehr Leopard 1A4 on Winter Exercises Somewhere in Germany in the Mid-1980s

Model and Article by Mike Shackleton

Publisher: Leopard Club, © 2014

$1.80US/ € 1.40 UK  – 10 pages


History: The Leopard 1A4 was the Bundeswehr’s final production version of Leopard 1. With delivery starting in 1974, a total of 250 vehicles were built – 215 being built by Krauss-Maffei and 35 built by MaK. The tank remained in service until the late 1980s, when it was replaced by the Leopard 2.

The 1A4 was externally similar to the previous Leopard 1A3, but it included an computerized fire-control system. This included a ballistic computer-controlled stabilized panoramic telescope for the tank commander and a gunner’s primary sight – with integral stereoscopic range-finder – both coupled to a fully stabilized main armament. This new equipment reduced the ammunition load compared to earlier Leopards to 55 rounds, of which 42 were stored in the magazine to the left of the driver. Though it still lacked a laser range-finder, this Leopard 1A4 was the first main battle tank to have a modern fire control.


Monograph: This well-written and extensively-illustrated ten-page modeling monograph follows the Leopard Club format, describing the build of a single tank at a specific moment in time. The build itself, of the Italeri Leopard 1A4 kit from the late 1970s, was largely out of the box, but with the addition of Eduard photo-etch, tow cables, chains and buckles. The kit was carefully detailed to give it a more modern-production look-and-feel, but it is basically out of the box.

The painting description takes it in stages, from undercoat to snow covering whitewash, which – working with the hairspray technique – is intentionally rough, to reflect the prototype vehicle. He effectively achieved the look of temporary paint which could have been applied by crewmen in the field using a mop and bucket. After detail painting, the author used a series of oil washes, MiG pastels and other techniques to bring out details and weather the vehicle, followed by a spray of dried mud-color. The monograph goes into the techniques in detail, and anyone wanting to follow this build has enough information to do so.


Recommendation: If you just like to view and read about an exceptional kit build, or want guidance on how to model an in-the-field tank in mid-winter, this monograph is highly recommended. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Special thanks to Mike Shackleton and the Leopard Club for the sample review copy!

Passing in Review” is a series of modeling kit, accessory and reference material reviews, written exclusively for the MHISC Forum by Ned Barnett – IPMS Life Member and Former IPMS Quarterly Journal Editor.


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