Price: € 33,50 (as of 2015/07/17)
Reviewed by: Marcus Jacob of Military Modelling Info
The search for the ultimate Leopard 2A4 kit, if you believe the unanimous opinions, is now complete. With the appearance of its Leopard 2A4 kit, Meng has impressively demonstrated what is technically possible. Yes, it is nicely detailed and it has a removable engine deck - but where is the engine? The remedy is here and it comes from Perfect Scale Modellbau (PSM) with their kit of the Leopard 2 powerpack. It is a little bit aged but the kit is definitely worth a detailed look.
The liquid-cooled, V12 four-stroke, pre-chamber, multi-fuel engine is designed and built by MTU Friedrichshafen. The unit originated from the Ka 500 engine programme of the cancelled MBT-70 but with an enlarged cylinder displacement to 47.6 litres. The new type designation is MTU MB 873-Ka 501.
Equipped with intercooling and two turbochargers, the power of 1100 kW (1500 hp) provides a fast drive for Leopard 2 at 2600 rpm. An electronic engine control system (MKA) prevents over-speeding and controls coolant level and oil level. The maximum torque of 4700 Nm is delivered at 1600 rpm. The pure multi-fuel capability was not pursued in the context of further development by MTU Friedrichshafen, so at least a fuel mixture of 60% diesel and 40% of another approved flammable liquid is necessary. The dry sump, forced-lubrication system ensures consistent oil supply to all lube points even in an inclined position of 35° in the direction of the crankshaft and 25 ° transverse. All supply lines to the vehicle are equipped with self-sealing quick-release couplings. A countershaft on the engine drives an oil-cooled 20 kW generator which supplies 24V power to the tanks systems.
For transmitting drive to the tracks, a Renk HSWL-354 steer/shift transmission is used. It combines driving, steering and auxiliary drive with the brake system and is coupled directly to the engine.
As with its predecessors, the drive system is designed as a total powerpack, allowing a change of the entire drive system in a little of over 30 minutes.
PSM delivers the kit in one of their familiar sturdy cardboard boxes. Contents are in ziplock-bags containing the resin components as well as a PE fret and the instructions. Wrapped in bubble wrap, these are protected from damage.
The detail and casting of the 53 components in grey resin make a very good impression. Also, the PE parts are well thought out. The kit can be divided into 3 assemblies: the power block with engine block and transmission, the cooling system and the lifting arm. Therefore, nothing more is needed to build a lifted engine block.
These are partially in colour, A4 over 4 pages. In addition to some general information, there is an overview of the well-indexed parts. The instructions are in English and German.
Stage images help with assembly. The quality of the images leaves much to be desired, however. They could be a little clearer, bigger and brighter. You have to look twice to see the exact placement of the components. It would be nice here if PSM were to provide a version for download. The instructions are clear, but could be improved upon. Beginners here will certainly have their difficulties. Partial painting instructions are listed. Here we would recommend the use of additional reference materials to ensure and verify the accurate placement of the components.
The main components are the engine block, the transmission and the cooling system. The engine block and transmission constitute the largest components of the kit. Each is attached to a casting gate and these great 'blocks' of resin are very well detailed. The casting is first rate and shows no defects.
The engine block with its 10 cylinders is a feast for the eyes. The casting is sharp and details are reproduced beautifully and delicately. Screws, covers, lines and fittings are really super-detailed. Here PSM has done an excellent job. Just great!
The required mounting parts on the main block, such as oil filters, air filters, exhaust gas turbocharger, exhaust pipes or wires and cables are designed as individual components and excellently reproduced. Individual, carefully chosen PE parts provide further detail. The instructions indicate where cables and wires need to be supplemented. The needed materials, for example, brass or lead wire, are not included in the kit. Here and there you can certainly refine something, but this is not necessary. Nevertheless, reference to detail photos will help you a lot.
The eye-catching circular cooling units, which are placed on top of the transmission, are also extremely detailed and realistically rendered. No damage could be found here. The fan blades are very delicate and therefore real gems.
The small number of photo-etch parts, in combination with the resin parts, provide a very realistic appearance. The selection of components designed as PE parts makes sense. Gradually, the result is a very realistic model.
The Renk transmission, also on a large casting block, is the second largest resin-part which also shows no casting defects, and the details are more than convincing. The many small details invite you to get out your wrench and screw driver.
After assembly of the well thought out components using the right mix of resin and PE parts, you will end up with a fantastic model which will make the modeller's heart beat faster.
Construction continues with the lifting arm and the transport frame. The triangular transport frame consists of a few resin parts and is complemented with PE parts.
Overall, the very-well defined details become a little eye-catcher. These frames are normally used to transport the engine on the rear deck of the Büffel armoured recovery vehicle. It was a good decision by PSM to add these parts to the kit, as it allows you to present the engine block on this mount accordingly.
It would have been nice if the so-called 'elephant feet' for storing the engine outside would have been included in the kit but what is not, can be built.
The included lifting arm is also part of the armored recovery vehicle equipment and is, in contrast to the kit of the Leopard 1 powerpack from the same manufacturer, exclusively of resin parts. Here are all the details available and the casting is impeccable. Some copper wire is necessary for the perfectionist and a realistic representation. The attachment points should be compared with references, because here the instructions are very vague. Unfortunately, even here, as in the Leopard 1 powerpack kit, the labels for the permanent weights are missing.
Basically, reference may be made here to the relevant addresses on the Internet. A search provides good results. First-class references are produced by Tankograd Publishing. Recommended here is the standard work on the Leopard 2 by Frank Lobitz and also 'Leopard 2 Maintenance' from Tankograd's 'In detail' series (read the Leopard Club review).
This kit has undoubtedly met my expectations. Very well researched and beautifully realised, it leaves little to be desired and provides room for the perfectionists amongst us. I can't recommend it for the beginner because modelling experience is definitely required for the kit's assembly. As mentioned above, a download version of the instructions would certainly be helpful. Except for the few painting instructions, modellers will have to find references for themselves. For lovers of Leopard models, the kit is, in my opinion, a 'must-have'.
+ perfect casting
+ excellent photo-etch
+ excellent detail
- additional leads are not included
- only a few paint instructions
The powerpack is available from PSM's website
It is also available complete with a detailed engine compartment, though this is designed to fit the Tamiya 2A5/2A6 OR the same compartment can be bought separately.
For designing a living diorama of a Leopard 2 with an open engine compartment and lifted powerpack, like the new kit of Leopard 2A4 from Meng invites, the kit is an absolute must have! This is a premium kit with the known excellent quality of PSM. Simply everything is convincing. Top!