Thursday, 14 June 2018

A touch of Dutch part II A6

In this previous post the upgrade of Dutch leopard II's to the A5 standard was mentioned. This was an initiative by German, Swiss and Dutch armies to upgrade existing Leopard II A4's. The result of this program (Kampfwertsteigerung or KWS in short) was the Leopard II A5 with improved armor and an electric rather then hydraulic turret turning system. The A6 is a further upgrade of this system installing an auxiliary engine, air conditioning and a longer barrel of 55 calibers rather then 44 lengthening the barrel with 1,32 meter (4 1/3 feet) which is also the most visible change of the vehicle. There a few small differences on the outside between Dutch and German Leopard II's.

  1. Side skirts: The Dutch version retained the A4 stype of side skirts.
  2. Smoke grenade launchers: The Dutch version has a 3x2 configuration while the German has a 2x4 configuration.
  3. Stowage box: On the darker picture a Dutch leopard II A6 at the Nationaal Militair Museum Soesterberg, The Netherlands. This one features an additional stowage box on the roof. This is not always fitted as can be seen on the other photo with a Dutch vehicle.

The model

Revell offers several types of Leopard II tanks including a dutch Leopard II A5 but not a Dutch Leopard II A6. (Revell does offer a Dutch A4 kit in 1/35, Hobbyboss a A5/A6 in 1/35). Making a A6 version can be done with Revell's kits in two separate ways:

I choice option 2, not the most logical option but I had the parts of the A4 still laying around and didn't want to waste them. I actually used the barrel from the Strv.122 and inreased the length with a piece of sprue cut to the right size. The original A6 kit is reviewed here. Below pictures of the build, the modifications are:
  1. Side skirts last 2/3 taken from non needed parts of the Revell 03105 Leopard II A5 KWS kit.
  2. Smoke launchers modified, there protective brackets are made from a metal can.
  3. A stowage box is created.

Modifications not particular for the Dutch version are the addition of an anti-slip coating on top of the tank and metal tow cables. I painted the vehicle as '120' from the National Militairy Musuem in Soesterberg, more pictures of the real vehicle here.

Photo's of the finished model. the A4 version could in real life actually be the very same vehicle since the A6 is a upgraded version of the A4.

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