Meng 1/35 Leopard C2 MEXAS + Dozer
The Leopard C2 MEXAS is an upgrade of an upgrade of an upgrade. No, really! Leopard tanks in Canada began with the C1, which was essentially the 1A3. The C1 was upgraded to C2; several C1s were fitted with the Modular Expandable Armor System (MEXAS) and then upgraded to C2 standards. Some of these were fitted with a dozer blade. All of these served in Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). By now, all of the Leopard 1 family has been mustered out of the Canadian Army, replaced with members of the Leopard 2 family.
The Meng kit is an absolute pleasure to build, in stark comparison with the Takom kit, which is merely delightful. The rubber band tracks are fine, since you have these massive side skirts hiding most of the suspension and tracks. Just be very, very careful removing the long whip antennas from the sprue because they will snap. The best thing to do is to either saw or snip the sprue far away from the attachment point and then whittle it down. Not even that will save you, as you can see by the little kink in one of the antennas. If you’re careful with your gluing, the dozer blade will work. Specifics about accuracy are better left to folks like Leopard Club. The tire is out of the spares box. It’s not glued on, I just felt like it needed some sort of external stowage. I’ve seen a lot of photos of these tanks with jerrycans left off, so I did that as well. If I had to do anything differently, I’d have figured out how to add those plastic bottles people seem to like to tape to their aerials, but this is fine.
I made one glaring error, which I won’t point out but should be very, very obvious in these photos. 🙁
Black-based with stynylrez primer.
Zenithal highlights with gray stynylrez primer.
Greens were worked up from a warm olive closer to the ground, to a cooler dark green closer to the roof. Optics were picked out with the greatest thing I’ve ever come across: GUNDAM MARKERS. These are paint markers with fine tips, and the paints are opaque metallic colors– metallic green! metallic purple! metallic pink! Every color that appears in modern coated optics is there!
Engineering vehicles can be fun because you can ding parts, dent them and get a little sloppy with the glue and it will look “in character.” Engineering vehicles can be an UTTER NIGHTMARE because you have to deal with mud. Tanks are dirty to begin with, but engineering vehicles kick it up a notch. Photos of these tanks showed mud EVERYWHERE, in places you’d never think it’d show up, like on the sides of the mantlet. Since I have no experience with doing mud, this is as good of a place as any to start to learn. My rationale is this: mud and dirt dry light, and the wetter and fresher it gets, the darker it gets. I put down a few thin mists of various buff and tan shades, then started stippling on MIG wet mud and heavy earth. Back and forth with the enamel muds and heavily thinned buffs, and I have what you see here. After all that dried, I used Tamiya black panel line accent on the barrel and around the engine deck where soot and oil would accumulate the most. Exhaust stains are 1:10 black primer to water. A quick run over the gun’s muzzle with a silver sharpie marker and there it is.