The Leopard C2 MBT is Canada’s main armoured force. These tanks were built using the Leopard 1 as a base platform, and were supposed to have been taken out of service some years ago. The biggest issue with this weapons platform at the time, is that it is getting hard to keep these vehicles in tip top condition. The C2 version of the tank is an upgrade from the C1 version, that was begun some 20+ years ago. The turret for the C2 version of the tank is based on the Leopard 1, 85 turret in its entirety. The Leopard C2s were sent to Afghanistan in the early 2000s, when a MEXAS armour package was added to the vehicle. That armour package is not present in this release from Hobby Boss.
This offering from Hobby Boss arrives in the usual robust cardboard tray, with a sectioned off area to provide further protection for some elements. You also have a cardboard lid, with all the art work on it, with the artwork on the front of the box being especially pleasing. The parts are individually bagged, except were sprues are duplicated and further protection is provided via foam wrapping and bubble wrap in some cases.
When you open the box, what might surprise you is that the sprue count seems very low, but even so nothing obvious seems to be amiss. The hull of the model is a complete moulding, with just the rear engine plate being added. The suspension system can be manipulated with care by those modellers wishing display the tank on an uneven surface. The wheel detail looks good to me, but I fully except that I am not an expert on this vehicle. My visual reference is limited to examples at Bovington tank museum and thus far I am not observing any major inaccuracies. The track link provided in this model are individual links that are not workable but two jigs are provided to assist with assembly and examining the links against the real thing I am pleased with their representation.
One aspect of this model that I find a little confusing by its inclusion, is what appears to be a full power pack for the model. Compared against on line images accuracy appears to be very good, but once installed in the model it is not really going to be seen. Due to this I would suggest that the power pack is kept separate and used as a load for a vehicle, or perhaps being lifted by a recovery vehicle. The rear engine panel of the model appears accurate on the exterior when compared to images of the Bovington examples, with the lights being particularly well tackled - clear lenses are not provided.
The upper hull of the model is a single piece moulding, with items such as tools having moulded on clamp detail but again looking at reference images matches the Bovington examples very accurately. The lights at the front of the model look as if they may have originally be intended to have clear lenses, but that has not been done in this case. The track grousers have been correctly positioned at the front of the vehicle. The engine deck does have some photo etch grille covers, but again I do not believe that these will allow a reasonable view of the power pack. One omission I did notice on the upper hull, is the lack of the anti-slip material which is present on the Bovington examples on the front of the track guards above the idler wheel. I will enclose an image showing this small detail area, for anyone who wishes to add it. Some copper wire has been included for the tow cables, but I strongly recommend that this is replaced with a more accurate representation of the cable.
The turret of the model has a good level of detail both in front and behind the added armour plate. The moulded on elements of the turrets should meet the expectations of most. Once the armour panels are added to the side of the turret, and the storage boxes added to the rear you obtain the unique visual of this turret. The only detail that I can’t comment on is that on the top of the storage boxes, as I am not tall enough to see that!!! The straps for securing the fuel tanks to the rear of the storage boxes use canvas straps, which are khaki in colour. The periscopes for around the turret hatches are clear, which is nice to see. There are two plates which extend out from the sides of the storage boxes, which I presume is for someone to stand on while accessing the stowage boxes, these are again accurately replicated.
Part A51 that sits to the rear of the gun mantlet is a canvas type material which is mounted onto metal loops on the gun mantlet and secured with a cable through the loops to secure it. The model part is very uniform and while accurate for a taunt canvas cover, I would secure the gun in your position of choice and then use a filler type product to replicate this aspect as crease are forms within it. The barrel is provided as a single moulding, but there are two included - I am unsure what the differences represent. The turret mounted machine gun looks good, but would benefit from a little bit of clean up. The final addition to the model, is a lifting cradle for the power pack and this is just another reason not to install the power pack within the model. Hobby Boss has provided three finishing option for the model, but has not provided any details on what they represent. But I am pleased to see the Canadian maple leaf in black that is so prominent on the vehicle.
This offering from Hobby Boss in 1/35th scale of the Canadian Leopard C2 MBT, looks to have all of the elements covered with the exception of the small amount of anti-slip texture I have seen on the Bovington examples. The inclusion of a full power pack with the model, is a nice touch but should never be shown as fitted in the model and should instead be a standalone display item. I have gone over the images of the Bovington Leopard C2s that I have and that is the only issue I can find to pick Hobby Boss up on. I do not like the copper cables provided by Hobby Boss, but that could just be a personal thing. But I do like that the barrel is a single piece moulding and the turret side armour has that unique texture seen on the real thing. As such I believe most modellers will be happy with what they find in the box.