Dragon DRA60133 German Kampfpanzer Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank - 4./PanzerLehrbatallion 214, Winter Camouflage (1:72 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The Leopard 2 was an offshoot of the MBT-70 -- a cancelled joint development project between the USA and West Germany undertaken in the late 1960s. Even though the US had withdrawn from the project, the West Germans, under the auspices of Krauss-Maffei, continued research and development on the renamed Leopard 2 project. In 1977, the first production vehicles were delivered and exported to the smaller Dutch Army while the West German Bundeswehr waited a couple of years before it too was equipped with the powerful new main battle tank. The Leopard 2 is outfitted with a laser rangefinder, thermal-imaging equipment, and nuclear, biological and chemical defense system (NBC), and can conduct shallow amphibious operations. Its fire control system is unusual because the cartridge cases are combustible, which can lead to internal fires. The Leopard 2 has a 30% better power-to-weight ratio than the Leopard I, which results in increased cross-country mobility and a higher survivability rate on the battlefield.
This particular 1:72 scale tank has been painted in a fabulous tri-color winter camouflage pattern.
Length: 5.25 inches
Width: 2 inches
Release Date: April 2005
Historical Account: "Before the Snow Flies" - The Leopard 2A4 was built initially in four batches with minor differences between each batch. The fifth batch was built between December 1985 and March 1987 and consisted of 370 vehicles with 190 built by Krauss-Maffei, and the remaining 180 by MaK. In this batch, the fire control system was fitted with a digital computer to enable them to use new ammunition, and a fire and explosion suppression system developed by Deugra was installed to improve the crew's survivability. The return rollers were also repositioned. The turret armor was increased to the equivalent of 700mm for kinetic energy shots and 1000mm for HEAT rounds.
A sixth batch of 150 vehicles was built between January 1988 and May 1989 with 83 built by Krauss-Maffei and 67 by MaK. Improvements included the introduction of Diehl 570FT tracks, the installation of maintenance-free batteries, and the use of zinc cromate free paint. The central warning system light was also installed in a small housing on the hull, in front of the driver's station, for better observation by the driver when driving unbuttoned. In addition, the ammunition supply hatch in the left side of the turret was deleted.
Production of 100 examples in the seventh batch of vehicles began in May 1989 and ended in April 1990, with 55 built by Krauss-Maffei and 45 by MaK. An eigth batch was built between January 1991 and March 1992, with 75 vehicles being delivered, 40 of which were built by Krauss-Maffei and a further 35 by MaK. Improvements included slight modifications of the base mounts for the smoke grenade dischargers, and a muzzle reference system was fitted to the right side of the 120mm main gun, near the barrel's end. This modification was subsequently retrofitted to the vehicles produced in the previous batches.