Leopard 2 is the German MBT (Main Battle Tank), designed in the 1970s and put into service in 1979.
The design that would later become Leopard tank, started in 1960s as MBT-70, joint project of USA and Western Germany, which wanted to create tank that could be able to withstand the armoured flood from Eastern Block in case of World War III. Previous German design, Leopard 1, was insufficiently protected against guided missiles and hollow charges. The whole crew would sit in a large turret to limit the tanks height. However the project was so overbudgeted that in the 1969 it was decided to close it.
The designers of Leopard tank took their own way and used the best characteristics of MBT-70, while removing whatever was problematic, like the crew sitting in a turret.
The prototype Leopard 2 looked much more like Leopard 1, but soon the designers chose to re-design this vehicle. When the Leopard's 2 new design was first shown, many thought that this is the major step back in tank designing. The tank had large, box-like turret with vertical armour. Those who still remembered World War II compared it to Tiger tank, with its large box-like structure. But the evaluation showed that Leopard offers a superior fire protection, mobility and firepower. It was thanks to the new perforated armour and other technologies involved in this machine. In 1977, the production was started.
On the American side, MBT-70 evolved into M1 Abrams tank. So you can say Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams are armoured brothers, how sweet.
Leopard 2A4 is the last version of this tank to have straight turret walls. Ever since 2A5 version, all tanks include a special additional armour.
Leopard's chassis was used for other, specialised vehicles: Biber bridgelayer, Bergepanzer BPz3 Büffel ARV, Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiak, Flakpanzer Gepard (with additional pair of road wheels) etc. Altough not exactly based on its chassis, Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzer uses some of the Leopard 2 components.
Today Leopards 2A4 are the most powerful armoured vehicles in Polish Land Forces. 128 Leopards are used since 2002 by 10. Armoured Cavalry Brigade (10. Brygada Kawalerii Pancernej), which belongs to 11th Lubusz Armoured Cavalry Division (11. Lubuska Dywizja Kawalerii Pancernej), the only armoured division in Poland (there are also three mechanised divisions). While Polish Leopards aren't the newest versions (they were used by German Land Forces before), they are still a formidable enemy for the Eastern tanks.
Polish Leopards appeared in Vladimir Wolff's novel "Stalowa kurtyna" (Steel Courtain), which tells the story of Belarusian invasion on Poland - Lukashenko's desperate attempt to improve dramatic situation in collapsing Belarus. Leopards 2 fought against Belarusian T-80s near Zakrzew, using their technological superiority to destroy almost 80 different vehicles.
Bought in a hobby shop in Kalisz to celebrate my passed exam.
Nicely detailed, good proportions, and because its flat on flat it's easy to paint. Decals are for German versions, but I decided to try and at least mimic the Polish Leopard. Turret number comes from PT-76 set, since it was most similar to the numbers on real Leopards. Two smaller decals on mudguards are from German version, just slightly modified. No real Polish Leopard is represented here, though, they were just an inspiration. I don't have a license plate (or something like this) on frontal plate, but maybe I'll try to make one. Painting is also fictional, but in Polish Army there's a lot of variety in term of paintings; two vehicles in the same unit can have different markings (even the colours may be different, i.e. dark and light brown).
Halfway through the process I noticed I glued the cannon upside down
I fixed it later. Also, with such amount of tiny pieces, it's a miracle only the hook on the back plate is missing (the machine gun fell off when I was taking photos, I attached it later).
Tracks are little nightmare, I had to correct almost every one, because the holes were not big enough. T-72's track links were much better.
Painted with Humbrol, weathering made with Pactra's mud brown. At first I wanted to make metallic weathering on the edges, but then I realised that on Polish proving grounds, which stretch in forrests, fields etc. it's more likely that they will be covered with dust instead.
I'm thinking of buying some cheaper model of T-72 and making PT-91 Twardy, so then I'll have all three types of tanks used by Polish Army.
Paints: mostly Humbrol, Pactra for weathering and wooden parts of the tools.