by: Darren Baker [ ]
When Italeri/Revell released their version of the Leopard 1A5 the general consensus was the kit is ok but could be better. In order to try and provide some of these improvements Eduard released set 36159 in June 2011 specifically for this kit. The photo etch set can be best described as a general improvement product rather than an improvement for a specific area of the model.
The photo etch set is packaged in typical Eduard style, being a reseal-able plastic sleeve with a card stiffener in the packaging to help prevent damage to the set. The photo etch set is then placed on one side of the card which is viewable through a clear window, the instructions are packaged in the other side of the card stiffener. The set consists of a single photo etch set.
Firstly some information on the photo etch fret. The fret is 0.14mm thick which makes working with the photo etch easy but unfortunately also easy to damage if care is not taken. A number of the parts have printed colour on them, I however am lost as to why this has been done.
The photo etch set starts off by replacing the grills and the tool brackets on the engine deck, to my mind replacing the engine deck grills is the biggest single improvement a person can make to the model with the possible exception of the tracks. Then it moves onto improving the detail on the rear wall of Leopard, where most notably you replace the rear mudguards, however as can be seen by the instruction scans a large number of details are replaced or improved.
After this the set moves on to replacing the tool racks and clasps along both sides of the Leopard, along with this you are also offered the chance to replace the shovel blades. The hardest part of these changes will be removing the moulded on clasps from the various tools. Supplied with this set are the retaining brackets for the front mudguard.
Now the set goes to work on the turret or more specifically the main gun where you replace the barrel shroud clips. The covers for the smoke grenade launchers are also supplied, the only thing I am not keen on is the 2 dimensional appearance of the chains but that is a matter of taste. Finally you move onto the MG where you add the rear sight and which is further improved with a short photo etch belt of ammunition. In closing there is an item which is a nice inclusion on the fret of this photo etch set which is hexagonal holes in 2 sizes for replicating bolt detail, this does make it worthwhile keeping parts of the fret for future projects.
A good general purpose upgrade set for the Italeri/Revell Leopard 1A5, which goes some way to improve the overall look of the model. The set should not over tax any one's ability, but care will need to be taken due to how thin the photo etch is.