The Leopard 2 is one of the main battle tanks that really catches your eye with its large size and huge turret. Leopard 2 Maintenance is one of Tankogradís latest offerings, and unlike their usual editions featuring a history of a vehicle or area of interest, this one is a fantastic reference guide for the Leopard 2.
Here is the introduction that Tankograd released with this book:
Introduced in the middle of the Cold War, the Leopard 2 main battle tanks became the successor of the Leopard 1 MBT in 1979. From the day of its introduction the Leopard 2's design turned out to be the milestone of post-war German tank technology. The past years and decades saw quite a number of publications covering the Leopard 2's development, more or less detailed illustrating the various production batches. The background of this present book is therefore not to tell a well-known story all over again, but to focus on a particular aspect and highlight it to a hitherto unknown degree of detail: Maintenance and Repair. The pictorial walk aroundís aim at showing the tank in various stages of disassembly as carried out in the using units at company and battalion level. Among the procedures shown are track removal, removing the turret and the engine or dismantling the add-on armour components. These works are usually not accessible to the public but thus highlight certain design aspects of the tank that might be interesting to enthusiasts and modellers but not available in other sources. Training systems, storage facilities, halls and tools are also investigated.
This book is a high quality paperback offering with 222 colour photographs and 1/35th scale drawings shown over 96 pages. The book is broken into the following areas:
1/35th scale drawings
Unlike most books from Tankograd, this one makes no attempt at going through the history of the Leopard 2, instead concentrating on the details of the tank. It opens with a very short introduction, followed by a few action shots of the Leopard 2. This is followed by some general wide-angle walk-around pictures of the Leopard 2 under cover. We are then given a very good pictorial examination of the hull with the picture text supplied in German and English. The pictures are of a very high standard and even provide details on the hull, such as the tool storage area.
Next the book provides a guided tour of the running gear and tracks. After that, the next area examined in great detail is the engine deck. This section picks out details that would be missed by most or impossible to see without the turret removed as is the case here. Also in this segment is a series of pictures showing the turret race, and this makes interior detail visible that would not usually be seen in such clear detail. Another aspect in this portion of the book is that you get to see how items such as the engine hatch should look when removed from the vehicle. Finally, you get to see the engine compartment of the tank with the power pack removed.
The book then moves onto the power pack and covers it in great pictorial detail. The details provided cover everything from the correct method to support the power pack on the ground, as well as the lifting frame and how it locates.
The book now moves on to turret detail, and shows everything you could possibly want to see on the exterior of the turret after it has been separated from the tank. The details that have been highlighted in this section should satisfy everyone regardless of what your interests are. I say that, as it will be a godsend for the modeller, as well as allowing the person with an interest in the vehicle in general to satiate their curiosity.
The next area covered in this book is an interesting one, as it looks at the training aids for crew members. Being as the training aids are laid out the same as the turret of the tank, you get a good idea of interior detail. The ammunition available for the Leopard 2 is also covered, and provides the sort of details that anyone who has not done military service may want to know.
The last pictorial segment of this book looks at the service bay itself. The section covers the tools used for maintenance, and the signage around the workshop specific to Leopard 2 MBTs in German military service.
The last few pages of the book provide line drawings of the Leopard 2A6 in 1/35th scale; the drawings cover the front, rear, top and both sides with and without the turret attached.
Regardless of whether you are after a reference for a model, or just want to know about the nuts and bolts of the Leopard 2, this book is a must for your library. This is the first book I have looked at in this series, and it has me hooked. I have no fear of highly recommending it to you all as a must-have reference on the Leopard 2.
Highs: For me this is one of the best pictorial reference books I have come across so far. The pictures are of a high quality, and show in great detail all areas of Leopard 2, including areas not normally seen.Lows: There are no lows to this book as far as I am concerned, and I hope Tankograd release a lot more in this series.Verdict: A must-have book for anyone interested in the Leopard 2.
About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...