by: Darren Baker [ ]
When it comes to replicating the Leopard tank in all of its various forms Perfect Scale Modellbau must be the company that has done the most to help modellers achieve this goal. Perfect Scale Modellbau has 41 products ranging from conversions and detailing sets all the way through to full kits. Their products are in 1/35th scale and a combination of resin and/or photo etched parts. This review looks at the product released by Perfect Scale Modellbau to convert the Revell/Italeri kit into an accurate model of the Leopard 1 Early Batches.
Inside a fairly robust cardboard box you will find:
Four sheets of A4 paper with instructions printed on both sides;
A ziplock bag with three photo etched frets and a length of twisted copper wire in it;
A solid resin turret;
Forty pour plugs of individual track links; and
Nineteen pour plugs with various parts
I should start this review by saying that there are a number of very finely cast parts that go together to make up this product. Despite the packaging being very robust some of these parts were broken in transit. I can hear you all thinking well thatís not good but there is good news, I sent an E-mail to Perfect Scale Modellbau and two weeks later the replacement parts arrived at my door. I wanted to start with this information as I feel it shows that Perfect Scale Modellbau take customer satisfaction seriously.
Starting with the turret which is a large single piece resin moulding,I have examined the turret under a magnifier with a light source and could not find any air bubbles in the casting, due to its size if there were going to be any air bubbles this is where I would have expected to find them. From the mid point on the sides of the turret there is a ridge travelling around the rear of the turret, this ridge is damaged on the turret and going by the Leopard 1 at Bovington Tank Museum should not be there and may be a result of the casting process. The parts that have been broken off are in the bag the turret was supplied in and so this leads me to believe it is a result of poor handling during transit. The Leopard 1 I am comparing this kit to is a 1963 prototype and so some changes may have occurred over its life time. Looking at the instructions indicates that it is a result of the casting but I cannot be 100% certain of this.
On the underside rear of the turret there is a circular depression which is slightly more pronounced than in my reference pictures, also the depression has a raised area of waste material that will need to be removed. Texture on the real turret is very subtle and has been very well replicated on the turret resulting in a very realistic finish. There are some other subtle differences between the vehicle I am using for reference and the turret in the kit but I again believe this is due to my reference being a prototype vehicle.
The gun barrel has been very well replicated with all of the detail appearing very accurate with the only possible area of concern being the very end of the barrel which appears ever so slightly thicker than my reference indicates. Moving away from the turret for a moment we look at the front mudguards and fenders. This area has quite detailed resin parts with the amber lights being present but in a slightly different format than on my reference. The represented tread pattern also differs in that the resin parts show a two bar alternating pattern and my reference uses a four bar alternating pattern. Examining AFV Weapons No. 18 and 19 appear to show both tread patterns in use but picture quality is not good enough to be 100% sure. Also well replicated here are plates where the wing mirrors are mounted and the rubber mudguards and their securing strips are very well done.
The rear hull is accurately detailed depending on the reference you are using and I suspect to some extent which specific tank you are building. I have no doubt that Perfect Scale Modellbau has done their homework on this as I have managed to find book references that show this exact same set up. The instructions allude to this also with the choice being presented to you of using a resin casting or the kit part for a box on the right hand side of the hull's rear. The finesse of the resin castings is very good as the detail is very crisp and sharp.
One other area I wanted to cover specifically is the individual resin track links which are very well moulded and should be easy to remove from the pour plug. The detail imparted on these track links is of a very high standard. The track links do have one weak area which is the end connectors on the track links which can only be manipulated where they join the next track link, this does mean that as the end connectors run straight off of the link it is attached so you will get some slightly unnatural looking bends when added to the model similar to the issue with the tracks supplied with the DML M1A1. That said they are very well done and will add to the look of the finished model.
The photo etched parts supplied with this conversion set are off a high standard on an easily workable thickness of metal. What I like about the photo etched parts supplied in the kit is that they are there because they need to be to accurately depict the detail on the real vehicle rather than as eye candy. The resin castings are of a very high standard with the finesse of some parts being the reason that damage has occurred during transit when handled roughly.
The instructions included with the conversion set uses pictures to identify all of the parts for the product. They also clearly identify what was and was not a part of batches one through four. The instructions guide you through construction using full colour photographs which should be easy enough to follow for most who are comfortable working with photo etched and resin parts.
This is the first product I have looked at from Perfect Scale Modellbau and as they say you donít get a second chance at first impressions. This product has impressed me with its level of detail, extremely well cast parts, and perhaps most importantly in this day and age level of customer care. The level of customer care means that I have no concerns about purchasing products from them as any issues are dealt with quickly and painlessly. I did not encounter any of the issues common to resin parts and while I have no doubt the odd air bubble will show up, I know they will be very few and far between. Because of what I have found here I have no concerns about highly recommending this product to you, and perhaps more importantly my experiences mean that I have no concerns at all about purchasing items from Perfect Scale Modellbau.
Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank 1965 Ė 1995 Ė Osprey Publishing Ė ISBN 1 85532 520 9
AFV Weapons 18 Chieftain and Leopard (Development)
AFV Weapons 19 Chieftain and Leopard (Description)