by: Anthony Sewards [ ]
The German Leopard 1 series has been in service with many countries over the years and the need for a device to clear minefields was needed for operations and training.
The Track Width Mine Plough unit (TWMP) was designed and built by RAMTA, a division of Israel Aircraft Industries, and allows the clearance of anti- personnel and anti-tank mines from the path of the tank tracks. The plough action moves the mines aside without detonating them, and can be adjusted to give a clearance depth of 200, 250 or 300 mm. The TWMP clears a lane about one metre wide in front of each track, and there is an unploughed lane 1500 mm wide between the tracks. In this uncleared area, the TWMP drags a “dog bone” which is used to detonate tilt rod mines. The total weight of the installed equipment is around 3 tons.
The TWMP comprises a main frame, which is attached to the tank in a similar manner to the dozer attachment. Push beams provide support to the ploughs, known as moldboards. Skids are located on the push beams to regulate the plough depth. Lifting mechanisms allow the left and right moldboards to be raised and lowered independently. An electrical harness, feeding though the armoured conduit cover, connects with the control box in the driver’s compartment. This provides the driver with the means of operating the TWMP and also allows him to fire the quick disconnect cartridges, which allows the whole assembly to be jettisoned in case of damage.
If you wanted to build an accurate mine plough version, the wait is over as Perfect Scale Modellbau has come out with a resin kit of this much needed Leopard accessory.
13 Resin Sprues of parts
1 fret of photo-etch
2 sets of chains
The TWMP kit can be built straight out of the box and the kit includes alternative parts for Australian, Canadian and Danish versions. So, please follow the instructions closely to make sure you model the correct version that you plan to build.
On page 1 of the instructions gives building recommendations, and the kit contents the resin sprues, photo etch & chains.
Page 2 deals with the upper plough motor and upper hull components. The next steps deals with the support arms that hold the mine plough itself. At this point follow the instruction path to which country you plan to model.
Page 3 deals with adding the photo etch and the straps that are used to raise and lower the plough. At this stage you will have the option on how you want to model the plough assembly in the raised / lowered position. At this stage you will have to decide if you plan to build the plough blades in the folded / open position.
Page 4 deals with adding the photo etch chains to the blade upper/lower connections to the main blade. Also, that is included in the kit is the armoured cable cover for the mine plough, the scope that has the cable connections that supplies power to the plough. If you plan to add the kit to a C2 MEXAS you will have to modify the front hull armour as seen in the build-up photos. If doing this , make sure you have a good set of reference material handy to show how the modified plates are added and were the power cable go under the plates to the power connector.
The assembly is straight forward , easy to follow, detail is crisp on the resin. Great addition to the Leopard tank range from Perfect Scale Modellbau.
I commanded Canadian Leopard C2 MEXAS in Afghanistan in the summer of 2007 fitted with the TWMP and this kit is a great addition for anyone wishing to build a Leopard fitted with the Track Width Mine Plough. The kit replicates the plough in great detail and, you will have to have a great set of reference material to see how the plough is added to the Leopard to get it just right.