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Bergepanzer BPz3 Buffalo ARV (84565) 1:35


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Bergepanzer BPz3 Buffalo ARV (84565)

1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd




The Büffel as it is known as in its native Germany, is an Armoured Recovery Vehicle based upon the chassis and lower hull of the well-liked Leopard 2E Main Battle Tank, which itself is a variant of the 2A6.  Most of the hull is identical or similar to its progenitor, but the turret is missing, replaced by a crane, a winch and a bulldozer blade that allows it to retrieve damaged or immobilised tanks from the battlefield even if the fighting is still ongoing thanks to its armour.  It is also equipped with an MG3 machine gun for self-defence purposes, a set of smoke grenade launchers to hide itself and its charge from those that wish it harm.  It is powered by a large 12-cylinder diesel engine from MTU Friedrichshafen, a division of Rolls-Royce, that outputs almost 1,500bhp that allows it to travel at good speed across all sorts of terrain, but also to pull its immobilised compatriots, whether they were retrieving Leopards or PzH2000 SPGs, or anything up to a similar tonnage.


The BPz3 was a joint project between Rheinmetall Landsysteme of Germany who produced an initial 75 for the Bundeswehr and a further 25 for the Netherlands, where its name lost its umlaut over the U in translation.  It was also sold to other countries including Canada where it is known as the L2-ARV, and Spain where it is known as the Leopard 2ER Búfalo, with Switzerland a surprisingly large 25 export, and Sweden taking a number on charge after adapting them to their specific needs to improve armour and customise their electronic systems.  For service in Afghanistan, the German vehicles and some Canadian machines were upgraded with new high quality vision systems by Karl Zeiss for the drivers that would give them 24/7 visibility, no matter what the conditions.  The crane is electrically driven, and can operate independent of the power-pack, so even the unusual sight of a Buffalo replacing its own broken engine isn’t outside the bounds of possibility, presuming they have enough electrical charge in the vehicle.  At time of writing, the type is in the middle of another extensive upgrade programme to give it more capability on the interconnected battlefield.



The Kit

This is a partial retool of the 2015 release from Hobby Boss, adding a substantial number of new parts to depict the differences between the Buffalo and the original Canadian variant that was tooled.  The kit arrives in a typically sturdy top-opening box with a painting of a Buffalo at work on another tank, and inside are twelve sprues and two hull halves in sand-coloured styrene, a small sprue in black, a clear sprue, two trees of poly-caps, a length of braided wire, two Photo-Etch (PE) sheets of parts, two flexible black lengths of track, the decal sheet and the black and white instruction booklet that has the colour painting guide between the centre pages.  Detail is good throughout, as we’ve come to expect from Hobby Boss’s armour models for the most part, although there is some thought that the hull is around 4mm narrower than it should be, but that’s a question for your micrometre, not mine.






















Construction begins with the lower hull, which has the suspension and return roller details added while the road wheels are prepared, consisting of fourteen pairs of main wheels, two drive sprockets and two idler wheels, all of which have a poly-cap sandwiched between the two halves.  Once the swingarms with stub-axles are glued in place, the road wheels can be pushed into place for removal during painting if required, thanks to the temporary nature of the flexible polythene sleeves.  Quickly, the bulldoze blade is built from large, bulky parts, adding the supports and pivots, plus a large towing eye at the front of the blade.  It is joined to the hull by a pair of large pins that you can leave unglued if you wish to move it later.  The track runs are of the “rubber-band” style, but have good detail throughout, and you are advised that they will accept standard plastic glue and paints during creation.  There is an overlap of two links on each run, and once the glue is dry they are slipped over the running gear so that attention can turn to the partial interior that is included.




The interior is begun by taking a floor panel with upstands around much of the sides, and detailing it with three crew stations and their copious equipment and comfortable seats.  The completed lower half (there is more to come) is glued into the bottom of the hull along with an insert against the lower glacis plate, and at the same time the rear bulkhead with towing eyes and shackles are put in place along with the convoy-light shield that has a PE bracket over it.  The “more to come” begins with the upper hull half, which first receives an insert over the front that has two holes in it, and creates the roof of the casemate in which the crew sit.  A very detailed insert is made up into a four-sided assembly into which a lot of equipment is placed over the space of five steps, including tools and even some decals.  That is glued into the casemate and backed up with a box and some brackets, then more equipment and wall panels are dotted around the left side of the casemate after being detailed in rather busy steps around the main diagrams.  Similarly, the right side is built around a long insert with five steps that increase the level of detail exponentially, and includes PE and styrene parts as well as some decals for stencils and dials.  The driver’s console with lazy D-shaped steering wheel is inserted into the glacis plate, then the assembly is turned over to detail the exterior, including some spare track links from the black sprue, and additional towing eyes that are mounted on the back of the casemate.  Ice cleats are placed on the flatter areas of the deck in groups, light clusters, grenade launcher packs, hooks and a pair of coils in braces, as well as all manner of small parts are all dotted around the upper hull, in diagrams that are again somewhat chaotic, so it might be an idea to cross them out once you’ve completed each little section.  The numerous hatches around the casemate are prepared with handles on both sides, and can be left open if you wish to show the insides, and one has a large retraction mechanism embedded in the open door.  The driver’s hatch is given clear vision blocks before it is inserted into the hole, and at the rear the bulkhead with hanging mudflaps, and short mudflaps at the front bracket the hull.  The two hull halves are joined together, and more detail is used to clutter up the engine deck with its moulded-in cooling fan grilles that includes pioneer tools and other equipment that would be useful.  The side skirts on the left side are moulded as a main run with a separate rear part around the drive sprocket area that are repeated in mirror-image on the right, and back on the engine deck a substantial frame is built up from a substantial number of parts, including some fine PE brackets, attaching to two blocks on the middle of the deck and raised slots on the rear of the casemate.  Additional towing bars and equipment boxes are festooned on the diminishing free space on the engine deck, with another raised platform that contains spare wheels and other tools/parts, additional rear-facing grenade launchers, and two large honeycomb platforms that sit over the twin cooling vents, with enough room to allow them to do their job.


The remaining hatch is for the commander/gunner, and has a ring of six vision blocks, central laminated hatch, periscope and a remote variant of the MG3 machine gun on a crane-like mount, with the finished assembly dropped into the hole in the top if the casemate.  Much bracketry is fitted around the rear bulkhead, and a short arm is locked in place on the right side of the deck, then the main crane is started.  Built around a single three-sided jib, the hydraulic lift cylinder is mounted at one end within the three sides, then closed over by the forth side, with a V-shaped cut-out to allow the movement of it and its ram, which is attached to a two-part topper with the turntable beneath it, mating by inserting the ram into the cylinder and positioning the pivot-points at the bottom of the jib with those on the base so that pins can be inserted without glue.  Even the crane doesn’t escape the application of tools, with several items on both sides, plus more details and of course the block and tackle that performs the heavy lifting.  The pulleys are assembled with brass wire linking them, so some care will be needed, gluing the outer parts and the lifting hook in position, then locating the top pulley into the end of the jib, securing it with a pin from each side, again without glue.  Another two towing rods are built with eyes glued to the ends and located on the rear bulkhead by a pair of clamps, rear view mirror, and towing cable that is cut from the brass wire to a length of 115mm and tipped with styrene towing eyes and draped across the engine deck.




There are two options available from the sheet, both wearing the same three-tone green/black/brown NATO camouflage.  There are instructions to decal the two jibs, the decals for the main jib being on the instruction booklet, while the smaller one on the engine deck is in colour on the main sheet.  From the sheet you can build one of the following:






As usual with Hobby Boss, there’s no description or era of the subject matter, so a bit of Googling will be in order if you’d like to know a little more about your model.  The decals are well-printed, in good register and sharpness, and are suitable to the task in hand.  The instrument decals for the interior equipment with dials has a grey background, although much of the interior is painted white or NATO green.  Again, Google is your friend.




It’s a well-detailed model of a niche, but extremely important vehicle in the Bundeswehr and other operators, with a lot of attention that has been paid to the interior, as well as the exterior.  You don’t get the engine, but that’s not a big deal.


Highly recommended.


They’re out of stock presently at Creative, but check back soon as it has been a popular subject.



Review sample courtesy of


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  • 4 weeks later...

Its only the lower hull suspention arm's and tracks used all parts underneath you don't see! the rest is new tooled completely. it's the new Hobbyboss leguan bridge layer that shares most its part's with the old Canadian version its an awful kit waste of money but then the buffel is pretty much a whole new beast! So HB are forgiven for making this stunning kit! Only a few issues like more missing cameras from front and rear and other wee bit's here n there but alot easier to fix than the leguan/ Iguana as they called it! It's basically a Y model kit with a corrected mounted left sided camera on cantilever arm but there's loads still missing and wrong! It's the prototype they have made so basically useless to us armour guy's as was never in service, just used as a demonstration vehicle the same as Bordor model's new Kodiak as that is also a demonstration vehicle so waiting to see what is missing from that kit next to put right! But it's a Kodiak don't care really just get it released already lol!

Edited by Modeler8522
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