The Rheinmetall 120 mm Rh 120 mm tank gun was an outstanding choice as the main armament for the Leopard 2. At the time of production it was likely the best tank cannon in the world and it still has a great deal of potential with new ammunition development for the future. The L44 is such a good tank gun that it has been produced under licence or an equivalent developed for a variety of tanks around the world including the M1A1/A2 Abrams, Korean K1A1, Japanese Type 90 and Type 10, Israeli Merkava III/IV, the French Leclerc, and the Italian C1 Ariete.
Leopard 2A4 kits have provided a variety of L44 barrels. These have all had the standard two parts barrels with that nasty seam. Several years ago Revell-Germany released an updated Leopard 2A4 kit with a number of very nice details. Even with the improvements the kit still has the generic two piece plastic barrel requiring seam clean up. From the aftermarket world several metal L44 barrels have been marketed over the years. Some of them have had basic details and others have been very well detailed. The downside to the all metal aftermarket barrels was the steadily climbing price.
The Leopard Workshop has continued their Leopard lineage with a new L44 barrel designed to be assembled and simply be exchanged with the Revell-Germany Leopard 2A4 kit barrel.
The LW017R Leopard 2A4 Barrel set consists of the following parts:
1. L44 Barrel
2. Early Counterweight
4. Fume Extractor- smooth finish
5. Fume Extractor- Fine Fibreglass texture
6. Fume Extractor- Rough Fibreglass texture
7. Barrel base for Revell-Germany Leopard 2A4
These seven parts provide the ability for the L44 to be built in a variety of configurations based on the production batch and barrel details.
Examination of the parts brought a smile to my face with plenty of large and small details. The barrel has subtle drainage holes, the Collimator has excellent angles and bolt detail, and the barrel base has a very nicely moulded dust jacket.
Selecting to use either the muzzle counterweight or the Collimator will depend on the version of your Leopard 2A4. The counterweight was used from initial production to about 1991. From 1991 onward Batch 8 Leopard 2A4s were fitted with the Collimator. If you do your research you’ll be fine.
To top it off you are provided with a selection of three different fume extractors each exhibiting a different level of finishing on the outside. I can 100% verify that the fume extractors used on the L44 barrels have variations in the external texture ranging from smooth to very visible criss-cross fiberglass texture. I believe that Leopard Workshop has gone above and beyond with providing the three options. You and I as the modellers get to reap the reward.
Assembly of the barrel is very simple once you clean up the parts. The fume extractor needs some clean up from the inside out of the smaller front hole in order for the barrel to fit snuggly. The barrel base will fit exactly like the kit barrel into the mantlet.
A slight bit of clean up may be required to attach the counterweight or Collimator parts. Note that the Collimator attaches to the barrel with the mirror on the right side of the barrel.
The instructions show the breakdown of the parts and explain part clean up, the different fume extractors and provides images of the real tanks showing the counterweight and Collimator set ups.
This is a superb set for the Revell Leopard 2A4. I am very impressed with the multiple fume extractor options. Even the most discerning modeller should be impressed with the quality and the value for their Revell Leopard 2A4 project.
Highs: Excellent detail and well thought out variation options. Lows: Tactful cleanup and careful part alignment is required.Verdict: Very highly recommended.