Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale
Armor Pro Kit No. 7249; Leopard 2A4
by Cookie Sewell
118 parts (113 in grey styrene, 2 etched nickel, 2 pre-painted vinyl,
1 section of braided steel wire); price about US $10.95
Advantages: nice, cleanly done kit with plenty of options to match specific
user countries' fits; pre-painted tracks (!) something really new
Disadvantages: no explanation in kit as to which parts go with what variants
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all modern armor fans
Back in 1987 I read a Russian article that assessed the three main combat
threats the Soviets saw in the NATO armies. The Challenger 1 was dismissed
out of hand as "quaint" (mind that this was pre-Operation Granby)
due to its design, suspension, and two-piece manually loaded rifled gun.
The US Abrams was considered a severe threat but not with the 105mm gun.
The German Leopard 2, however, scared the daylights out of the Soviets
with its 120mm gun and layered armor arrays. (Note that the LeClerc did
not even rate a mention!)
The Leo 2 was something else when introduced, and with a 1500 HP diesel
engine was the equivalent of the US Abrams in most areas of performance,
exceeding it in mileage. Even ADAC, the German auto club, had warnings
in its magazine on what to do and what not to do when encountering one
on the autobahn. They noted the tank could cruise at 60-70 kph (up to
42 mph) and had brakes sufficient to stop it in less than 75 feet from
that speed. They showed a stunt driver tailgating one when it hit its
brakes, and the result was a squashed Opel. (They did have a roll cage
around the driver!)
Overall, this was a great tank and even in its initial form is a serious
battlefield threat. German training films show the gun staying rock steady
(with stabilizers engaged) as the tank turns "neutral steer"
360s underneath it. The early models (2A1 to 2A4) were rather chunky vehicles,
even with a turret fully as large as a WWII light to medium tank, and
most modelers have shown a preference for the later long-barreled 2A5
or uparmored 2A6 with the "wedges" on the front of the turret.
However, many NATO countries bought the earlier versions and use them
today, including the Poles, Finns, Swedes, Swiss and Dutch.
DML is now offering this version of the tank as part of its "Armor
Pro" series kits, which includes new cut molds and more options for
a slightly higher pricetag. Among the details are the multitude of "non-skid"
plates on the top of the hull for crew safety.
This kit provides two different guns (the shorter original gun and the
longer L/55 barrel of the 2A5), two types of engine fans (plus etched
brass screens for them), two types of smoke projectors, and training aids
such as a Hoffman gunfire simulator and a "whoopie light" on
a mast for the rear of the turret. The suspension is a full one with separate
road wheel arms, twin wheels (not "siamesed" as with the T-34
kits), and very nicely done skirts.
Many modelers (me in particular) will be very pleasantly surprised that
the vinyl tracks come pre-painted – a brownish metallic color with
the rubber pads in the Diehl tracks painted black. These look really good
and capture the look of tracks with a bit of use (e.g. paint worn off)
but not bright rust red.
The model comes with two sets of markings – a very thorough decal
sheet and a set of stick-on "exercise" markings for German force-on-force
training. These are red Xes and simulate the real thing, which also just
stuck on. The kit provides markings for eight German Leo 2A4s to include
four in winter camouflage, one Polish, one Swiss, one Finnish, and two
The problem I have is that the directions do not differentiate one tank
from another, as I recall they use different smoke projectors and arrangements
but all the kit does is indicate "optional" parts and not which
vehicles use them. The same goes for the engine deck fan covers (the plastic
bases, not the nickel screen). This is a bit of a shame, as the kit is
otherwise very nice and complete. (You will need references to check on
Overall, this is a nice kit and should please a lot of NATO fans.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.