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Leopard 2A4M CAN (Canada) - 1:35 HobbyBossLeopard 2A4M CAN (Canada) 1:35 HobbyBoss The Leopard 2A4 models were the most widespread of the Leopard 2 family to be built. Featuring an all digital fire control system, and an improved turret. Following the end of the cold war the Dutch and German Armies had large stocks of these tanks which were now not needed. The 2A4M CAN is an upgraded Tank purchased by Canada from Holland. The Tank was upgraded for use in Afghanistan where the Canadians have played an important, if often overlooked part of NATO operations in the region. It was originally planed to upgrade these tanks with the longer L55 gun as used by Canadian 2A6M tanks, however it was found the shorter barrelled gun was more suited to use in Afghanistan. To improve armour protection applique armour such as that found on the new 2A7 tanks was applied along with slat armour to the rear of the tank. Unlike the 2A6M Tanks the slat armour is only on the rear of the 2A4M CAN. The Kit The kit arrives from HobbyBoss in sturdy box with the main hull and turret parts in a segregated end compartment. In addition to the two part main hull and two part turret you get 10 sprues of plastic, 22 small sprues of track links, two photo-etched frets and a 300mm length of brass wire. All the parts are crisply moulded with no sign of flash or mould defects. Of special note is the slat armour provided. This has been moulded quite thin and HobbyBoss actually protect this sprue in a foam layer to stop it being damaged. Construction starts with the wheels. Two return/idler wheels, two driver sprockets and 14 road wheels need to be built up. Each are two part with a poly cap being sandwiched in the middle. In addition four inboard and four outboard return rollers need to be built up. . Once the modeller is finished with the wheels attention turns to the main lower hull. what look to be additional armour plates are added to the lower sloped are and the vertical sides. A large additional armour plate is attached to the bottom. Both sets of return rollers are also added along with the mounting arms for the idler wheels and drive sprockets. The torsion bar ends for the road wheels are also added. The rear of the tank is then added along with all the remaining wheels. Next up the tracks are built. Each side consists of 80 links. The track sprues here contain 8 links per set. According to the instructions the track centres are removed and clipped together with a central linking part. Then the end caps are added while still attached to the sprue. Once attached they can be cut from the sprues. The instructions indicate no glue to be used. The tracks can then be attached to the lower hull. While this all sounds great in reality after completing 8 links it is not that straight forward. The small links which join the track links in the centre are difficult to handle, with tweezers they just ping off an become fodder for the carpet monster so I found its better to do them by hand. It is then best once the centre part is on to lie it flat and join to the next link. The outer end caps are best done one pair of links at a time as its nearly impossible to line up more than one set at a time. While frustrating to put together they do look the part once done. Next up the side applique armour panels are constructed along with various PE parts. Attention then moves to the upper hull. The rear part is added along with various tools on the rear decking. A large applique armour plate is added to the front surrounding the driver copula. The drivers hatch along with light fittings and mirrors are added. The upper and lower hulls can now be joined, and the side armour added. A tow cable utilising the brass wire can be added. Next the rear slat armour is added to the hull. Attention now moves to the turret. The gun, and gun mantle are built up and these are added to the lower turret part. Once in the top and bottom of the turret can be joined. The rear turret bins are made up and added, along with the side mounted smoke dischargers. The side applique armour for the turret is built up and added, along with the rear sections of slat armour. The hatches are added long with various fittings and the machine guns & mount. Lastly the aerial mounts are added. Once complete the turret can be added to the main hull. Decals There is a small sheet of the minimal markings these tanks carried, plus a larger sheet of black rectangles which seem to be all over the tank. Conclusion The quality of the kit is first rate. Although not a widely used variant of the Leopard family it is great to see this one kitted. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of