While most armour related books have photos that are aimed at modellers, few are as comprehensive as this new offering from Trackpad Publishing in cooperation with Real Model. Authors Anthony Seward and Rick Saucier, who have compiled an amazing array of photos, call it a photo history of the Leopard 2A6M CAN during its deployment in Afghanistan. While not big on the wordy things, these two fine gentlemen have given the old saying “a picture is worth a 1000 words” an entirely new meaning.
What you get
With no less than 4 full colour pictures on average per page this new book delivers more than anyone could have hoped for in 80 pages about the Leo 2A6MCAN during its service in Afghanistan. From the big all-encompassing pictures, to “in the field” shots on patrol, to the minute details of wheels, turret systems and everything else, few will want for anything more. And honestly this reviewer is not sure that any more exists, anywhere.
Ever wanted to model a Canadian Leopard 2 A6M? Well, this might just be THE book for you. From its arrival in Afghanistan to its departure out of that same country, this book covers the history and evolution of the Leo 2A6M CAN in lots and lots of pictures and does it well. From tank park to combat operations this book covers the range of environments and equipment the 2A6M operated in and with.
The opening of the book starts with this: “The Canadian Leopard 2A6M CAN had a baptism by fire in Afghanistan as soon as it entered service. Under a Canadian ‘Tank Replacement Project’ for the Leopard C2, twenty Leopard 2A6s were leased from Germany. They received a variety of modifications in Germany at Krauss-Maffei and Rheinmetall Landsystemes. External modifications made in Germany included new T-shaped antenna mounts, additional glacis plate armour, slat armour on three sides, and increased mine protection in the form of belly armour, and reinforcement bars under the rear hull (but not all vehicles). More modifications were applied while they served in Afghanistan. “
This is filled out with a few other paragraphs that suffice not only for an introduction but comprises 95% of the verbiage of the book. The rest is just glorious colour photos of big cats. The photos range from the super detailed shots of the specific parts of the tank to operational photos of the tank on patrol and during missions. The various shots of the tanks components are great and really give some insight in to how this tank was designed and how it was adapted specifically to the Canadian Forces needs during deployment.
Chapter 1 Leopard 2A6M with Slat Armor
Shots of the Leopard 2A6M as it enters service with Canadian forces in A-stan
Chapter 2 Training and Combat
Operational photos of the Leo 2A6M in Canadian service in A-stan
Chapter 3 Leopard with Barracuda
A detailed overview of the barracuda camouflage system and its application on the Leo 2A6M
Chapter 4 Forward Operating Base
This chapter shows the Leo 2A6M during operations in A-stan
Chapter 5 Engine Pull
A great short chapter on the power pack and engine bay of the Leo 2A6
Chapter 6 Final Slat Armor Version
This covers all of the final operational alterations to the vehicle in country
Chapter 7 Mine Roller
This chapter covers the mine roller set up and attachment to the tank
Chapter 8 The Last Year
This chapter cover the last year, 2011, that the Leos were deployed to A-stan with the Canadian Forces.
I particularly found the various shots of the barracuda panels to be very informative. You can really see how the system is designed and applied to cover the vehicle and how this could be replicated in 1/35th scale in various mediums (any aftermarket companies listening?). My PDF copy may not be the completed book, so I will reserve judgment on a few areas, but I would think that a bit more history on why the 2A6M was chosen and what the specific needs of the Canadian forces were would have been welcome. But some might just as easily argue that those would get in the way of all the wonderful photos.
All in all this is a pretty comprehensive pictorial record of the Leopard 2A6M during its time in Afghanistan with Canadian Forces. The pictures provided by Anthony Seward and Rick Saucier are an amazing resource to modellers and will be for some time. If this reviewer had any complaints it would be a bit more history and info on the operational history of the LEO 2A6MCAN, but that is not necessarily what this book is all about, so it will not be an issue for most.
If you are a builder of modern armour, modern Leopard or just an enthusiast of modern conflicts then this is a book you should be picking up. While it may not be the final word on the Leopard 2A6M in Canadian service, it IS an amazing collection of photos of that vehicles time in Afghanistan as well as an amazing reference of the 2A6M CAN. With well over 150 full colour photos of all parts of the vehicle there is little else you will need as a pictorial reference for your next 2A6MCAN build. As far as references go this is one of the best pictorial references of this particular vehicle in service that exists.
Highs: Great photos of vehicles in service with lots of detail shots too. Full colour photos that take up whole pages.Lows: Not much in the way of words, but its a pictorial history so what would you expect.Verdict: Great. This is a very useful book for those looking to model the Canadian Leo 2A6M during its service in A-stan. The pictures are amazing and cover every single inch of the tank.
About Damon (didgeboy) FROM: WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES
I have been "building" models, collecting and starting mostly, since I was a kid and really started getting into it in my teens. The Tamiya kits if the 80's were what did it for me. I actually became a tanker in the US Army just to get a chance to study the Abrams up close (and drink German beer). I...