During and after the bloody conflict in the Balkans in the 1990ís the Danish Leopards in service in Bosnia underwent an upgrade from A5DK to A5DK1. The most noticeable change was the addition of the APU and stowage box on the rear of the turret, which makes the turret about half a meter longer. Also an air conditioner was fitted in the old in cooperated stowage box on the right side of the turret, which now has a square mesh screen covered opening in the side. Spare road wheels, oil and water cans and a propane bottle are also added to the turret and hull sides. The stowage box on the glacier plate is original meant for snow cross track shoes, but this was actually mounted a couple of years later on.
Itís quite a small box, but itís packed with finely cast resin goodies, PE and lengths of wire. The set contains the following parts:
- 45 light sand colored resin parts
- 100 small resin cut-off bolts
- 2 frets of PE
- 2 lengths of brass wire
- 1 brass rod
- 1 plastic covered wire
- 1 lengths of nylon string
- Instructions in color photos
On the lower front armor plate we find the mounting brackets for the dozer or mine plow. These are a bit too massive looking and they are placed too high up on the armor plate in the instructions. They have to be located at the bottom of the plate instead. On the glacier plate the A5DK1ís are fitted with a large metal stowage box, which originally was meant for snow cross track shoes, but these were usually removed, especially during the summer months, and water and rations were stored there instead. This box has also decreased the driverís forward vision by at least 2-3 meters.
On the right front fender, Legend Productions
has provided us with a very nice square pipe and clasp in PE for holding the cable for the dozer or mine plow. This cable is for the operating controls, and it goes down to the driver compartment through the 2 oíclock periscope opening, where the control panel is located on top of the steering ďwheelĒ. This also reduces the driverís field of vision.
The Danish Leopard 1ís are fitted with triangular tool/stowage boxes on the side of the hull. Except for the track tension and the tool for connecting/disconnecting the final drive system, all larger tools are stored in these. Also the gun cleaning equipment, rod and brushes, are stored here. (Right front box) When in use, no padlocks were fitted on any boxes, while these were easily filled with dust and dirt, and no crew wants to hassle with such things in an operation of any kind. Padlocks were only used when the vehicle was in garage or a parking lot. And only one padlock on each box was used. The instruction shows the use of two locks on the tool box for the driverís tools and track tools on the rear armor plate. The locks provided in the set are beautiful PE pieces, and thereís an extra lock, if the carpet monster should strike again;) These boxes were also coated with anti-slip paint on top of the lids.
There are two brackets and small oil cans provided, to use on the small, flat stowage boxes, the ones next to the exhaust grills, but only the right one is to be used. This can contains oil for cleaning and maintaining the main gun.
also provides the rear mud flaps in PE, but personally I donít think they look right. The real mud flaps are made of rubber, and bends into an even round shape when folded up, but the PE doesnít do this at all. Iíd recommend using thick lead foil or maybe heated plastic card. The PE hooks for securing the bend up mud flaps and the catís eye are very nice, though. Please notice, that the mud flaps are only used, when the vehicle is driving on public roads, the rest of the time, theyíre folded up.
The set contains very small resin plugs and PE chains. These are used for the two holes in the mantle, binocular sight and coax machine gun, and the two drain holes in the APU and stowage box on the rear of the turret, when driving through water obstacles. Thereís actually an extra resin plug in the set.
PE is also provided for the mount brackets for the track tension and final drive tool on the rear deck.
For a start, you have to make some larger, square holes in the turret parts, to fit the thermal sight and laser range finder and the grills for the air conditioner.
The sighting system, EMES 18, and the range finder, TEM 2, come in a beautiful cast resin part, loaded with crisp details, such as separate resin protection lids and a sun screen in PE. Personally I find the lids a bit too thick, but these are easily thinned. This part is sometimes painted with anti-slip paint on the top, again to prevent the crew from slipping and falling off the vehicle. Remember to model the lids closed, if depicting the vehicle as parked for more than a short time. Damaging the optics in the sight, will really cause major operational problems, and the punishment for doing so are harsh.
If using a donor kit of a Leopard 1A3 or A4, which uses optical rangefinders, Legend Productions
provides parts to fill the holes, which have some really nice weld lines.
Protective canvas/rubber for the gun mantle comes in one nicely molded piece.
The APU and stowage box for the rear of the turret come in two large resin parts, which strangely enough are hollowed out in the bottom. This can easily be fixed, and is probably done to reduce the weight of these parts. These boxes are fitted with lots of details in both resin and PE; Lots of tiny parts ready to go off the tweezers with a ďPing!Ē, so be careful. If anyone is wondering about the fuel tank for the APU, itís located behind the stowage box, which has to be swung to the side to refuel; Not very practical.
On the side of the stowage box there is a propane can located. Normally this is covered with a canvas bag, because bright orange is not a great color in the field, and the canvas also protects it from dust and dirt.
Beside this, two jerry cans are fitted on the side of the turret. These are for drinking water and for the engines cooling system. They are made of plastic in real life.
Next to the smoke dischargers, a small cylindrical container is fitted. These were originally for the cleaning brushes for the main gun, but in many cases, one is used for the driverís tools for the daily maintenance, and the other is used for first aid kit. The latter is marked with a red cross made up of red tape!
Small PE chains for the lids of the smoke dischargers are provided in the set, and mounting brackets for the spare road wheels are to be fitted on the handles on the front sides of the turret. These will not be seen when the road wheel is in place, so you might want to save yourself from some work here.
On top of the turret is a strange looking object in PE. Iím not proud to say it, but itís the Danish armyís own design of a combined cable protection and gun rack. Well, it does work, but it looks a mess. (Sigh!) The Danish tank crews are armed with the Canadian Colt C8 carbine.
The commanderís 360 degrees periscope is provided along with the 12 oíclock periscope, which has the control panel for the search light fitted on the back side.
The search light is really one of the best parts in the set, its excellent cast in resin, and the detail on it is absolutely stunning. A true masterpiece! The only tiny down side to this part is, that it has the protecting lid molded open. Itís really not a big deal, but it could have been nice, if you were given the open or closed option. The search light has to be fitted with four handles made from copper wire, and the cable is made from a piece of plastic coated wire.
Another great feature is the resin gun barrel end piece, which has a great looking collimater mirror molded on.
This is a truly excellent conversion set. Being an ex-Leopard driver, it's a real joy to see the massive interest, which several model Companies are taking in this particular vehicle. This is THE set, if you want to build a Danish Leopard 1 tank, as they looked in their final version, and I can't recommend it enough.