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  1. Leopard 2A7+ German Main Battle Tank 1/35 MENG MODEL via Creative Models Like many modern weapons system the Leopard 2A7 is not a brand new system but a continuing development of the Leopard 2 family. These are converted ex Dutch A6NL tanks. Using lessons learnt for the Peace support programme, and combat operations in Afghanistan. While retaining the same 120mm smooth bore gun of the earlier variants the 2A7 is able to fire the latest programmable High explosive rounds. The tanks armour has been upgraded with modular armour with frontal protection being improved as well with passive armour and underneath armour for enhanced IED protection. Internally there have been upgrades to the air conditioning system and power systems. More modern sights/thermal systems/rangefinder have been added. The German Army has ordered at present 20 units. With now talk of a Leopard 3, there was talk the 2A7 could be the last of the line. However the 2A7+ has been developed. This MBT has been developed to operate in both low and high intensity conflicts. Additional modular armour has been added similar to that used by Canada on its tanks in Afghanistan. This gives extra protection from mines and RPGs. The main gun can now fire High Explosive rounds. The most obvious difference is the remote weapons station which has been added to the turret roof. This FLW200 system can be fitted with a 12.7mm/0.5 cal heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher. There is a colour camera system with x10 magnification which also has a thermal imaging system. The FLW can also carry additional smoke grenade dischargers. To date the 2A7+ has been ordered by Qatar and Hungary. The Kit Following the 2A7 from Meng a couple of years ago this was sure to be on the Horizon, The box arrives packed, though the lid now fits unlike the 2A7 ! Construction starts with the lower hull. Holes must be drilled in the lower hull before construction starts in order to add the additional underside protective plates. The driver and idler wheels are built up along with 14 main road wheels. The suspension components plus the return rollers then need adding to the main lower hull. The rear armour assembly is constructed and added to the lower hull. Next up the bars for the working torsion bar system are added, these slot through from each side and end plates are attached to them. The wheels can now be added, and as the hull is upside down the additional armour plate can be added on the man hull. Additional protection for the engine compartment are also added at this time. Next up are the tracks.. Unlike other Meng kits, and like the Meng Leopard 2A4 the tracks come as individual links on sprues. Each link has 3 parts; the main track, the connecting rods with end caps, and the track pads. Meng provide a jig to enable 6 links to be put together at the same time. There are 84 links to be joined for each side. Once the tracks are on construction moves to the upper hull. The additional armour is mounted on the front, then Mirrors, spare tack, headlights etc are added. At the rear air filter covers, tools and the tow cable are added. The tow cable supplied in the kit is poor and really needs replacing with a suitable aftermarket one, a shame as the rest of the kit is well above standard. The Cooling fan housings for the rear deck are constructed from the included photo-etch. The top hull can now be joined to the lower one and the armoured side skirts added. Next up is the turret and gun. The gun barrel is a two part one and the muzzle brake one part which fits to the front. The gun then fits into a five part mantlet. I have read on the web that the gun is a slightly weak point of the kit, the fume extractor being a little skinny and short. It is noticeable that the fume extractor on some vehicles has a fibreglass texture to it, Meng have tried to replicate this, but as the part is split down the middle this will no doubt be lost sanding any seams down. The vision blocks can be added to the upper turret and then the two parts can be joined making sure the gun seats properly between them. The upper surface of the turret has sections which feature a rough texture for walking on and Meng have reproduced this on the part. There are then additional plates and fittings to add to the turret. Once the turret is together work can start on adding all of the additional armour pieces to it. These are V shaped and fit to the front. The base plates are made up along with the armour parts. The base plates being fitted first, followed by the armour. Grab handles are then added to the outside. Large side armour plates are then added. For the rest of the turret the commanders periscope is made up and added, along with the gunners hatch and machine gun. Smoke dischargers are added to both sides along with antenna mounts and the gunners sighting system. To the rear of the turret the large AC system and main stowage boxes are added, along with additional stowage boxes at each side. The last part to be fitted on top of the turret is the remote weapons station. This is a small kit in its own right. Decals As there are still none of these in service there are some small decals provided for the German test one, two schemes are suggested of normal NATO tricolor and a dessert tricolor similar to that German vehicles have used in Afghanistan. Conclusion This is a great looking kit from Meng and their attention to detail is to be commended. Overall Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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