The Leopard 2 needs no formal introduction or lengthy description for modelers with an interest in modern armoured vehicles. The Leopard 2 has risen through the ranks from service with the Bundeswehr to become a very widely used tank around the globe for a variety of nations. The Leopard 2 has experienced a variety of upgrades and modifications over the decades of service in order to improve both performance and protection. From service in Europe with NATO to deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo and into the torrent of combat in Afghanistan the Leopard 2 has proven itself to be a very solid main battle tank and will continue to do so for many years.
Unfortunately the advances that the real Leopard 2 has seen over the years have not been paralleled by model producers. Kits of a variety of Leopard 2 variants have been produced over the years by a number of companies, but the majority of them fall short in regards to the level of detail present in other model kits given today’s model production slide molding technology and the wide variety of reference material available on the Leopard 2 variants. The Hobby Boss Leopard 2A4, kit #82401, has shown promise in improving the level of detail and accuracy over previous Heller, Italeri, and Revell-Germany Leopard 2 kits. While the Hobby Boss Leopard 2A4 is a good value and there are improvements, it still has some simplified and soft details that discerning modelers will want to improve upon.
One of the best answers to improving the Hobby Boss Leopard 2A4 kit comes from Perfect Scale Modellbau
. They have recently released a specific upgrade kit for the Hobby Boss Leopard 2A4 kit. The upgrade kit focuses on the parts present in the Hobby Boss kit that are lacking in detail and it also provides some unique parts and options not previously seen in any Leopard 2 based aftermarket kit. While this is not a review of the Hobby Boss Leopard 2A4 kit it will become clearly evident as to some of the details that need improvement while looking at the upgrade kit.
The Leopard 2A4 upgrade kit consists of the following parts:
•Braided copper tow cable
•Tow cable ends
•Clear plastic headlight lenses
•Pioneer tools (shovel, pick axe, saw, pry bar, and track wrench)
•Side skirt sections
•Armoured side skirt sections
•Armoured side skirt mounts
•Loader’s hatch ring
•MG3 mount, ammunition box, and hatch ring mount
•Folded fording tower
•Multi-barrel grenade dischargers
•Multi-barrel grenade discharger mounts
•Main gun simulator
•Main sight doors
•Photo etch fret
The photo etch fret contains the following parts:
•Rear mud flaps
•Main sight frame and top flap
•Grenade discharger cap retaining chains
•Ammunition hatch weld seam
•Pioneer tool brackets
•Pad lock brackets
•Stowage bin straps
•Access hatch grab handles
•Tow cable brackets
•Tow pintle latch
•Armoured side skirt bolts
•Commander’s sight top
In total there are 117 resin parts included in the upgrade kit.
There are several photo etched parts which are extra in the set. This is indicated in the instructions.
The upgrade kit comes packed in a sturdy little box with the resin parts and the photo etched parts in separate zip lock style bags. Styrofoam chips assist in filling out the empty spaces in the box during shipping. Upon inspection of the parts they appeared intact after shipping. Unfortunately there is nothing much that can be suggested to prevent the possibility of damaged parts, given the substantial amount packed together in the same bag.
The instructions come as four double sided printed pages with a generic cover page for the front, and parts diagrams for the last page. The remaining instructions consist of three and five black and white images per page showing the upgrade parts attached to the Hobby Boss kit. Part diagrams with labels and arrows show the proper positioning. It is excellent to see that verbal instructions are provided for some slight modifications that are required for the lower hull, side skirts, turret grab handles, and pioneer tools to ensure they fit properly and are accurate. I was impressed by the instructions as they will assist the modeler in making the most of the upgrade set and not simply replacing kit parts.
The point of the Perfect Scale Modellbau kit is to upgrade the original kit parts with parts that are more detailed and accurate. I compared the upgrade parts with the corresponding kit parts and I am impressed with the level of detail provided by Perfect Scale Modellbau. Details ranging from drive sprocket bolts to side skirt brackets to sight wipers have been added to the resin parts. While some of the details added appear to be fine tuning of the kit parts, other details added are to correct faults in the kit.
A major correction appears on the engine intake grills on the hull rear. The Hobby Boss kit has ten horizontal grills while the corrected Perfect Scale Modellbau part has eleven grills like the real vehicle. All of the upgrade parts will improve the look of the Hobby Boss kit involving little extra work by the modeler. It should be noted that some trimming of the Hobby Boss kit lower hull is required to fit the upgraded resin real hull. The modification is explained in the instructions.
The side skirt upgrades are impressive, and the first aftermarket kit to provide the modeler with the ability to choose the position of the armoured side skirt sections. The armoured side skirt sections can be assembled in the down or up stowed position. This is a very unique feature seen on the Leopard 2 during transport on rail cars and tank transporters to reduce the width of the hull. The parts include separate detailed armoured sections and hinged brackets. Some modification is required to the Hobby Boss hull. The other side skirt sections are also provided separately but they provide no detail on the reverse side if modelers are considering posing these side skirt sections flipped up. The simple pivoting locking clamps are included as photo etched parts. This really adds to the small details included in the upgrade kit.
While the Hobby Boss kit does include a small photo etched fret for detailing the kit, the Perfect Scale Modellbau kit includes the correct patterns for the circular engine air intake grills, gunner’s sight frame, and the weld beads for the welded over ammunition hatch.
Most of the other resin parts in the kit can simply be exchanged with the Hobby Boss kit parts during assembly with only minor alterations needed.
It should be noted that the Perfect Scale Modellbau L44 main gun barrel is not included in the upgrade kit and has been Reviewed Here
In this day and age with the ever growing use of technology used in producing models, some kits still have shortcomings. The upgrade kit produced by Perfect Scale Modellbau for the Hobby Boss Leopard 2A4 addresses head on the detail lacking in the styrene kit. The parts included are easy to use, full of detail, and will for sure enhance the building of the Leopard 2A4. If modelers of modern armour are looking for a way to start using both photo etched and resin parts without spending a large amount of money on conversion kits then this would be a great start. For experienced modelers you will find this kit very detailed and it will provide you with the ability to correct and improve the Hobby Boss kit very quickly without the need to kit bash or scratch build details.
Perfect Scale Modellbau has done an excellent job on the research and level of detail put into producing the upgrade kit. This upgrade kit will without doubt enhance any Leopard 2A4 project.