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Project Complete: 1/35 MENG Norwegian Leopard-1 A5-NO

This is a follow-up article to the “WIP” article submitted last week for the MENG 1/35 Leopard-1 A5-NO. The project is now complete. The build was commissioned by a veteran of the Norwegian Army currently living in Norway. I live in the USA so this battle tank has a long journey ahead.

The model combines the MENG Leopard-1 A5 basic kit with the Legend “NO” conversion set composed of resin and photo-etch conversion parts. The build also includes a Norwegian Leopard-1 decal sheet produced and purchased from Leopard Workshop. I did not have an opportunity to review these decals in my WIP article so I will touch on them now. I had very bad luck using these decals. Many of them broke apart when sliding from the backing paper. I had to go through a few sets to get the whole set to work for one tank. The other issue was that they did not adhere well and left a lot of silvering which again required me to replace the decals on the tank for another version from this set. I used multiple decal solutions and a hair-dryer to help them adhere and conform but I still was not satisfied with the final results. As a result I do not recommend this brand of decals but then again I am not sure what your options are if wanting to build the Norwegian version of this famed battle tank.

I finished the model using all Tamiya paints for the primary base camo. I also used Black and Brown Tamiya panel liner as a pin-wash to enhance details and recessed lines. Additional weathering was provided with the use of Tamiya Pastel products and a paint-brush. The completed camo job was very bright with sharp contrasts. It did not look good so I used a very thinned mix of green orchre acrylic airbrushed as a mist to blend and reduce the brightness to a more realistic hue. I was then satisfied with the results. I usually beat up my armor with much more harsh weathering then I did with this tank. I stopped at this point because I really liked the look I had achieved and did not want to ruin it with over emphasized weathering and a lot of mud and dirt. Now I am sort of doubting the reduced weathering look and considering another go at it adding a little more dirt, mud, and dust. I believe the last matte varnish layer I used to seal the work may have reduced the effect of the weathering I did especially with the use of pastel and pigments to create a dusty look. If you think it could use more please let me know your thoughts on this?

39 additional images. Click to enlarge.


16 responses to Project Complete: 1/35 MENG Norwegian Leopard-1 A5-NO

  1. Beautiful piece of modeling, Paul….really nice work!

  2. To me, having looked at several examples of the Leopard online, the weathering looks about perfect. I do tend to go with the ‘less is more’ approach to simulating use, especially in equipment out of theatre (as most are in recent decades). In these environments gear and kit is generally well maintained and looked after.

    I also think weathering is often used to cover imperfections (done it myself) and can take away from a well built project. In this respect weathering can be an ‘equaliser’ that brings a bad model and a great one much closer together than they ought to be. Therefor, the less weathering, the more the quality shows.

    Another point is scale representation. I think much weathering is over scale. When viewed from the distance that the size of a model represents, you ought not to see too much weathering, even supposing a subject is pretty dirty. If you see weathering in ‘true scale and distance’ in a model, it’s probably too much.

    For my money, you have it beautifully represented. The quality of your model is there to see (great for you and the customer), the ‘scale’ is right, and you are on the right side (leaning toward authenticity) of the ‘realism vs. artistic’ debate. In this sense, it’s similar to the ‘Spanish School’ of model painting. I think models thus rendered look nice for magazines and the like but there’s a loss in terms of realistic representation I don’t like.

    Sorry for the long post, but you did ask…

    • Long post is great, something worth reading. You make a good point regrding weathering covering up mistakes. I think that is why I became so good at weathering…lots of mistakes…not kidding. Many times I end up saying “oh a little weathering will fix that!…LOL. Feedback is great. Waiting for a response from the customer.

      • I agree with David & Paul totally. Also, the countries in Europe don’t get the wear on their tracked vehicles like we do in the US. Why? A great part of it is economics. Tanks and other large military vehicles are EXPENSIVE to operate. Plus, the space needed for realistic training in Europe is limited considerably. For example, the square mileage of the training area at Ft. Hood, Texas ALONE is larger than some small countries! The former Soviet Union, Canada and Australia are about the only countries with extensive military equipment and “tank sized” maneuver areas that compare to what is needed for realistic training. An area of some 10-15 square miles is required just for ONE tank shooting range covering the needed amount of targets, movement, and safety area for good, authentic training. Throw in a bombing/artillery impact area and you have a LOT of real estate that is basically empty, but is needed to make sure modern training ammunition, rockets, & bombs can be used and impact with nothing “important.”

        My point is, when I saw British, German & French tanks (I didn’t see any other country’s equipment until Desert Storm) I noticed that they weren’t nearly as “beat up” and worn as some of our equipment of similar age because they couldn’t afford the massive expense of large “field problems/exercises.” Plus, ALL military equipment of any country is expensive and the crews try very hard (generally) to keep them looking and performing as well as possible. It’s a pride thing. Therefore, less weathering on many of our models can be fine. Less is more.

        This is just my two cents worth … which may not be worth much. Your mileage may vary …

        1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  3. It looks great ! I think the weathering is spot on.

  4. Paul, “excellent work”! This is a real beauty .

  5. Very nice. As this is a Leo not in actual combat, the crew and its battalion engineers usually maintain these vehicles quite well, including giving it a wash sometimes. So at this point I would not overdo it as a stand alone vehicle. In case you want to embed it in a dio that’s another story. Maybe have a look at this range video of Leo II at LĆ¼neburger Heide:

    This tank looks not too dirty either. I know it’s Leo II but this machines’ predecessor was the Leo I A5.

    Either way, the Leo is one of my favorite modern era tanks, together with the M1 Abrams and of course the Merkava.

    Very nice build and weathering!

  6. Looks great – I’m for leaving it as-is. Those above have contributed plenty of rationale!

  7. The customer wanted me to add black to the anti-skid pads on roof and hull. So here is an updated photo.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  8. Very nice, did you use fine grain sandpaper for this? Well done, customer is king!

  9. Lovely build mate! The surface detail and textures really pop out with the dry brushing.
    When it comes to weathering, I just think you do whatever makes you happy! If it’s a newer vehicle I normally give it a light dusting. If it’s something that has seen extensive combat use then the pigments come out. But that’s just me, I’m no expert, I just like building models!

  10. Beautiful Leo, Paul!

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