- Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00 Mike Offutt
1/35 Light Tank VK 1602 "Leopard"
Catalogue # 35A004
Available from Lucky Model for $32.99
My second review is my second review of an Amusing Hobby kit, another "paper panzer", this time the "Leopard". The Light Tank VK 1602 "Leopard" was a planned German recon vehicle designed from March through October 1942, with the serial production scheduled for April 1943, but the project was abandoned before the first prototype was built. It was originally planned to arm the vehicle with the 75 mm Kwk 41, although that was changed to a smaller 50 mm cannon which was used on later Pz Mk. III's. The VK 1602 had largely sloped frontal armor, influenced by the Panther.
In order to increase cross-country performance, the VK 1602 was fitted with 350 mm wide tracks. Production was scheduled to begin in April 1943, but the project was cancelled in January of that same year. The reason for this was that the 50 mm L/60 was insufficient for combat against modern Soviet and Western tanks, though it was useful against the British and American light tanks and Soviet amphibious tanks. Also, the Leopard was a heavy vehicle for it's size and the Sdkfz. 234 "Puma" armored car could be used as a scout, though it was more vulnerable and could not traverse rough ground as easily. The Leopard chassis was also planned for use as the base for either a 20 mm "Flakvierling" mount (quadruple 20 mm anti-aircraft guns) or a single 37mm gun in an anti-aircraft turret. Will we see these from Amusing Hobby in the future? I'm sure some of us are already in the process of figuring how to adapt existing kits of these guns to the Leopard!
So another really interesting looking vehicle that never progressed beyond the drawing board, the Leopard strikes me as a "mini-Panther" with a Puma turret grafted on and it looks like it means business!
So what's in the box?
Popping the box top we discover our sprues individually bagged in a reinforced heavy cardboard lower box, which I'm a fan of. Not that I have a closet full of un-built models stacked several feet high and require these sturdy boxes, but I'm told other modelers are guilty of this. I'll remove my tongue from cheek and press on now. Once again the parts are crisply molded in light gray and free of flash and mold sinks, ejector pins marks are located in areas where they should not pose any undue hardship during construction and finishing.
The texture on the hull seems to be toned down just a little from the "Löwe" that I reviewed previously and I think it's pretty much spot on.
Sprue D (x2):
Sprue Dz (x4):
Sprue E (x3):
Sprue F (x2):
Sprue H and J:
This time around Amusing Hobby has provided a turret with full interior detail.
Here's a nice touch, the cones are provided to shape the P/E antenna array.
Sprues R and T:
The lower portion of the turret is a clear part, I'm assuming this is to show off the interior turret detail if it's removed?
Sprue S (x4):
As with their other kits, tracks are assembled as individual links and the suspension is fully articulated.
Sprues V and Y:
P/E parts are provided for the grill covers and antenna arrays. Schurezen are also provided as separate P/E parts.
Turret and Glacis:
Presented in an A4 booklet, well illustrated and appear to be concise. Although no specific paint schemes are called out (understandable) a short primer on German three color camouflage is included. Color call outs are provided for GSI Creos, Humbrol, Model Master and Tamiya paints.
A small sheet is provided with markings for two Wehrmacht (GrossDeutschland and 116th PD) and two SS divisions (2nd and 12th SS PD) along with Balkankreuz and tactical numerals.
So what do we think?
In my opinion we have another winner here. The Leopard will build up into a interesting looking vehicle OOB and can also serve as a basis for some cool SPAA conversions. Nice touches like jigs for aligning the tracks and forming the antenna arrays are certainly appreciated. Amusing Hobby has delivered some interesting projects so far and I'm excited to see what shows up next!
Our thanks to Amusing Hobby for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS Link.