The Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank in Danish Army service has evolved over the years with a variety of upgrades and several paint schemes. One of the most unique paint schemes used was on the Leopard 1A5DK’s used by the Reconnaissance Squadrons of the Jydske Dragoon Regiment. The “Recce” Leopard 1A5DK’s were painted in what is described as a “very” dark green that closely resembled flat black. The blackish green was selected by the Reconnaissance Squadrons as they believed that the green in the standard Danish green and black camouflage was too light for operating in the dark forests in Jutland, and under the cover of darkness when conducting recce missions.
There is speculation that thin coats of black paint was applied over the existing green and black camouflage paint resulting in the “very” dark green colour. The tanks became known eventually as the “Black Recce Leopards” due to the dark colour and the ominous and deadly task of night reconnaissance. Both regular gun tanks and dozer equipped tanks received the eye catching paint scheme.
The markings appear to have been kept to a minimum. There was the standard vehicle registration numbers on the front and rear of the hull and the turret sides. Sometimes the red and white Danish crest and a yellow unit crest flanked the hull registration numbers. Recce Squadron tactical markings were applied on the side skirts and driver’s tool box consisting of a white diamond with the letter ‘R’ to denote the Reconnaissance Squadron tanks. Some tanks also had stylized artwork on the searchlight bin door on the rear of the turret. Other tanks had literally no markings except for the Recce Squadron tactical markings.
Echelon Fine Details
has produced a decal set specifically for the Danish “Black Recce Leopards”. This decal set is based on images taken by Andreas Kirchhoff and posted on HOWTIZER.DK
. The images were takes by Andreas during 2001-2003 at the Danish Oksboel military training area. The images show the placement and details of the markings very well and Lawrence Goh of Echelon Fine Details has faithfully reproduced them for Leopard 1 fans.
The decals come packaged in a clear zip lock type baggie with a two sided paper insert. The paper insert includes a variety of images of the Recce Leopards and shows several Leopards to assist modelers with the decal options and correct placement. Modelers would be wise to refer to the images on HOWITZER.DK in order to see the same images in much higher resolution. There are several configurations of markings, and the tanks are not all marked the same way.
The decals consist of the following:
• 6 x white tactical diamond markings with the letter “R”
• 6 x small yellow bars for marking the back deck
• 8 x red and white Danish crests
•4 x red lettered “Leibstandarte 3.6 Nissen” (for 62.434)
•1 x white lettered “Leibstandarte 3.6 Nissen”
• 4 x 3 in white and 1 in black registration numbers 62.481 (gun tank)
• 4 x white digits registration numbers 62.434 (gun tank)
• 4 x white digits registration numbers 62.419 (dozer tank)
• 10 x unit yellow and black unit crests
• 1 x white cartoon character face (for 62.481)
The decals appear to be printed very well. The colors are vivid, the registry looks dead on, and the accuracy when compared to images of the actual Leopards is as good as it gets.
A nice addition on the paper insert is the direction to modelers that the Danish Leopards are not the standard Leopard 1A5 as used by the German Bundeswehr. They are instead updated versions of the Leopard 1A3 and Leopard 1A4’s. There is a recommendation to use the Accurate Armour C072 Danish Leopard 1A5DK conversion kit. I can attest that the conversion kit is top notch and a good investment in building a Leopard 1A5DK.
This is a unique decal set for a unique set of Leopards. The “Black Recce Leopards” are somewhat shrouded in modern AFV mystery and this adds to the attraction. The ability to accurately model one of these tanks has now become much easier due to this decal set. The set is based on actual images which make it easy for modelers to get the markings correct. This set provides complete decals for three Leopard 1A5DK’s if a modeler so chooses. Echelon Fine Details has done a very good job in doing their research and seeking out the correct information to produce this decal set. The Echelon Fine Details site states that only 500 sets of this decal set will be produced.