Thursday 12 March 2015

A Big Leopard

Not sure if this counts as proper 'wargamey' stuff, but a friend of mine dropped round the other day with two 1/24 scale Radio Controlled Tanks - a Japanese Type 90 and a Leopard 2 A5. 

Now these are by Hen Long - who are famous for their very sophisticated 1/16 scale R/C Tanks, and although very much simpler, are still very nice pieces of kit. They include rotating turrets, elevating guns, flashing lights, realistic firing noises and even fire small plastic airsoft pellets.

Needless to say, after being played with for a little while by he and his two boys some years back, there was a significant piece of work involved in repair (the Leo was especially bad, having already had someone botch an attempted repair, missing screws, turret and weapon assembly in 22 pieces, and so on).

Now me being me hatched a plot - because I didn't really have a huge interest in a Leo or a Type 90, being more of a Crusader or Panther type myself, so I counted the wheels (complete with working torsion arm suspension), and then tried to figure what kit models would fit the chassis and R/C components.  Not much luck as the only available choices seemed to be a very limited range of quite elderly 1/25 scale Tamiya and Monogram kits, which were now fetching silly prices.  I considered scratch building - but my skills aren't really up to it I confess.

Plan B. Ok, the Type 90 was running (after I sourced a charger doing 12V 250mA) - but the Leo was still in lots of little pieces..   so some serious repair work was in order. I gave up on the Airsoft shooting, as the gun assembly took up most of the chassis space under the turret ring. Gradually pulled the whole thing together, added a couple of aerials (It has an extra one after I re-routed the ridiculously long R/C aerial back through the engine deck), and finally started looking for references for a KFOR Leopard that could have seen action in Kosovo. 

And then realised that Hen Long had economised on their 1/24 range (all of three tanks - the M1A1, Leo2 and Type 90) by using the same hull and running gear on all of them. 6 roadwheels per side - the Leo has 7. Doh!  Persuaded myself it wouldn't be too noticeable, removed the tracks and started wielding the paint..    I reckon other than the running gear, it's quite an acceptable Leo. Once I get the NATO tri-colour cam down, weather it, add a camo net, and add decals and crew member, it will really look the part.  So here's the progress to date.

I'm pretty happy, and a good paint job will hide a multitude of sins... 

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