by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Leopard 2 main battle tank can easily be regarded as a child of the depths of the Cold War. When the Leopard 2 was first fielded in 1979, it already was by far the best MBT in the world as it not only stood out from other tanks in all important parameters such as protection, mobility and armament, but also in secondary aspects like ergonomics, maintenance friendliness and reliability. Besides its high performance, its growth potential, adaptability and durability are the main characteristics of the design. Based on current plans, the Leopard 2 will be used by the Bundeswehr till at least 2040, which means a usage period of 60 years.
Part 1 offers 112 colour photographs and one five-perspective drawing in 1/35 scale drawings
Part 2 offers 290 colour photos, 18 graphics and two 1/35 scale drawings
These two offerings from Tankograd Publishing are offered as duel language books that we are all familiar with, German text is on the left of the page and English text on the right. When I first looked at these duel language books I thought I would find it distracting, but that is not the case and it makes sense when you consider that Tankograd Publishing is a German company who at the same time want to make their content appealing to a wider number of people. The author of both of these offerings from Tankograd Publishing is Ralph Zwilling and these two title lives up to the standards I have come to expect from both Tankograd Publishing and this author. The first of these titles offers 64 pages and the second provides 72 pages. These area soft backed book offerings having glossy card covers with the pages being of a good quality gloss paper.
The first of these two books looks at the development and active service of the Leopard 2A4 and is laid out in a logical manner. Most of the text is at the start of the title and is well laid out and so easily read and taken in; Ralph Zwilling has had a lot of practice at getting the written aspect well presented and he has lived up to my expectations. The photographs are an especially high point of this title due in my opinion to the size of the supplied images that enables and allows finer details to be noted and replicated accurately on a model. Another high of the photographs is that having been taken of tanks in the field in many examples getting a natural look to weathering on a model is helped greatly. The captions supplied with every photograph are supplied in both German and English and are well written and informative.
Something I am very pleased to see in this title is scale drawings that are a real plus for the modeller who purchases this title from Tankograd. The scale drawings are all provided in 1/35th scale and show the Leopard 2A4 in five plains, we are provided with front and rear, left and right, and finally from above. These plans do an excellent job of supplying information on aspects such as the accurate placement of anti-slip pads and the offset placement of the wheels on each side of the vehicle. The version covered in the first book is a batch 5 produced Leopard 2A4.
The second book on the Leopard 2A4 covers the technology and driver training vehicle for the Leopard 2. The text shares all of the usual qualities I have come to expect from both Ralph Zwilling and Tankograd Publishing where duel language titles are concerned. The text being provided in a logical and easily understood style that prevents reading from being a chore. The photographs are of the usual very high standard that is expected of Tankograd Publishing and of course the captions that are provided with every image in both German and English providing complete clarity.
Tankograd has supplied scale drawings in this title of the Leopard 2A4 batch 8 and another great set of scale reference. This offering is a great addition to any modellerís library as it can be considered a close up walk around of the Leopard 2A4 in every respect and even covers the interior. It is this aspect of the title that if a modeller can only purchase one of the two books it is the second title I would direct you to purchase if you are a super detailer and like to get everything just so; If it is the overall look of the finished model then the first title will likely be better for getting a realistic look to the finished model as regards weathering.
A nice inclusion with this title is a close look at the driver training vehicle. This area of the book will enable the adventurous modeller to replicate a truly odd looking Leopard 2A4 variant. The images of the driver training vehicle as a whole are small in number but provide some great detail, but this section of the book comes into its own with a walk around look at this variant and that could enable you to have a very eye catching Leopard on your shelf to admire.
These two offerings from Tankograd Publishing cover an appealing subject in the form of the Leopard 2A4 with the Leopard family being possibly the most appealing of any current tank family still in production today. These two books will make for a great reference on the Leopard 2A4 for the modeller as they do offer a complete visual reference, but if you cannot afford both titles I suggest the second book for those who like to get the small detail just so and first book for those who want a finished model to look realistic as regards weathering. When it comes to weaknesses I cannot say that I found any of note for you to be concerned about.