Time to post some work. As a refresher, I was given what I was told was a Testors re-box of Italeri's 1/35 Leopard 1a5. It was a sealed plastic bag with the sprues and tracks. The plan was to build it as a what-if Leopard 1 armed with the 120mm gun and with reactive armor. The Leo 1a5 was designed with a turret that could mount the bigger gun and equipped with the compatible fire control systems.
I build a series of what-if AFVs based on the premise of "mercenary-paramilitary forces" used by Nato and Warsaw Pact to fight proxy wars and avoid "direct conflict" to avoid things escalating to WW3. Think Megaforce but without the motorbikes and metallic jumpsuits. They are equipped with oddball variant weapons...like a scout recon vehicle using a Sheridan chassis with a Bradley turret or a M113 with a LAV-25 turret.
The Leo1 with the 120mm gun should have fit right in...I even had the backstory worked up for the upgunned Leo. Unfortunately the Leopard1a5 kit is actually a Leopard1a4. The 120mm gun is out. But I'll still go with the reative armor and some other bits that come to mind as I build.
The Leopard 1a4 is an old kit...initially released in 1977...but not a bad kit. It's been reboxed...mostly unchanged...for Testors, Tomy, and Revell. Vinyl tracks and dark green Italeri plastic. I've always found Italeri's styrene brittle and it ages badly.
I've decided to not show alot of the normal build aspects. I'm going to focus more on the what-if additions.
Let's get to cuttin' on some styrene...
I built the lower hull and suspension OOB. And that is the last time you'll see any OOB build with this. BTW, I would suggest scrapping the Testors instructions and print out a copy of Italeri's instructions instead.
I've never really liked how Leopard1s have their pioneer tools strapped to the sides. The Belgium Leos have side storage boxes, so I used those as inspiration. I scratched up some storage boxes to hold the majority of their tools. I used v-groove styrene sheet to give the boxes some surface detail.
I added a bustle rack to the rear of the turret. I used a variety of styrene strips. I was going to use styrene rod and bend it for the horizontal rails, but decided to use strips to give it a more rudimentary look. I'm not completely satisfied with it, so I might I'll add some mesh to the floor.
And that's where I am right now.
There's some neat tweaks on the design I hope to get in. The reactive armor is a big one. But I am also thinking about adding US MGs ...maybe including shields...for the commander and loader's hatches instead of the MG3. Maybe using different smoke launchers. And of course the camo scheme will be different than anything standard. But that's where the fun is in these style of builds.