by: Mark Minnis [ ]
This summer I was tasked to create a Leopard C1 as a presentation model and thankfully Trackjam Models and Maple Leaf Models came out with their long anticipated Leopard C1 just in the nick of time for me to get this project done. It is an excellent kit that was a joy to build considering I only had about a week of evenings to do it. I must also say that I took great pleasure in building a Canadian Version of a model right out of the Box (well boxes) as we as a nation are often neglected in the model world.
The conversion needs to be added to the Italeri Leopard 1A4 kit which in itself is a good model, it has a few issues that I encountered but I am not here to review it. The conversion comes well packaged and has 20 plus pieces and a length of thin brass rod and styrene rod. The instructions for the kit are well detailed including 4 pages of color instructions and a page of color and black and white reference images. These are by far the best instructions I have received with an aftermarket kit yet! There is also a sheet of decals made by Quartermasters Depot which is very generous and gives one many different options for a CDN LEO from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, and there is a separate marking quide that leaves no doubt as to where the markings go. Also included is a Grief optical colored LLTV lens. All of the resin parts are well cast with no bubbles and the pour plugs are small and well placed for easy removal with very little cleanup needed. There was a slight amount of warping with the C-6 barrel and the back of the turret but both were very easily fixed using a bit of hot water and CA glue.
After I had completed the hull of the host kit I started building the turret. All of the parts pour plugs came off easily and cleaned up in about half an hour, the back of the turret took the longest as it is thin and the pour plugs are inside where there is a panel that joins the upper and lower sections of the turret. All of the main turret parts mated perfectly with the Italeri parts, except there was a slight warp on one side of the turret side that I needed to use CA and excellerator to get to come together. Following the instructions I then started on the mantlet, there are a couple of good choices here you can use the Italeri mantlet and barrel or use the kit supplied mantlet and a Model Point barrel. I used the Italeri mantlet and barrel (next time I am going to use the Model Point barrel as the kit supplied one didn't mate well and took a lot of work to clean up!) When one uses the Italeri mantlet they need to drill holes and insert styrene rod for the LLTV cage, the kit comes with a slick little jig that not only gives proper hole placement, but gives the proper angle for drilling as well. I did this but was in too much of a hurry and used too big of a drill bit for the holes, making it hard to align the styrene rod later. The next step is adding the turret details, there are a bunch of small tie downs to add and there are guide holes for where drilling is required and the brass rod needs to be bent to fit these holes. After doing this I added all the other parts as required and they all fit really well including the Italeri parts which must be added. There are two small corrections that must be fixed on the turret for which there are instructions included, one is the power supply cable hookup for the LLTV location and there is one anti-slip panel which is to big. I only changed the location of the power supply outlet which was easily done and didn't bother with the anti-slip panel as it isn't noticeable to me. The only change I made outside of the instructions was to add a small amount of the brass rod to the C-6 mount at the bottom to ensure a strong fit with the hatch ring and to use some lead wire to simulate the LLTV power cable instead of the unrealistic one supplied by Italeri. The last thing I did was add Guitar wire antenna's and added the LLTV cage, I found that the cage sat on the mount well but there is a bar accross the bottom that got in the way of mounting it over the LLTV itself, I cut this bar off and applied the cage which looks great.
Painting and markings
Like I said I was in a big hurry to get this model done for a change of command parade, I airbrushed the model and then picked some of the small details with a brush. This was going to be a presentation model for someones desk so I didn't weather, or detail much at all (I will only do this if there is a glass case to be provided.) I applied the decals in a hurry and ran into a problem, the manufacturer recomends spraying gloss applying decals then spraying dullcoat. I brushed gloss, applied decals then brushed dullcoat and the decals melted. After the build I told him about this and he didn't have an explanation, but now I do. I was in so much of a hurry I basically applied the decals to wet glosscoat then applied dullcoat too quickly and nothing had a chance to dry, and this with solvaset was just to hard on the decals. (Next time I will not be in so much of a hurry!)
This was a great conversion to build and I highly recommend it to anyone with basic skills. I have not done a lot of conversions but this was the easiest by far, I spent maybe 5 hours construction on the conversion and had no real troubles at all. I am going to build at least 2 for myself! At the parade there were a whack of armour types that were really impressed with the kit and its accuracy which says it all. After hearing about my troubles with the decals Paul Fredenburg the owner of Trackjam gladly replaced the decals for me at no cost and I would like to say that it was my fault with the Decals as they are a little fragile but really nice. Hats Off to Paul and JP for the good work and this is one modeler who will be purchasing more of the products they produce. This conversion can be found at:
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Copyright ©2020 text by Mark Minnis [ ]. All rights reserved.
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