Australian Army Leopard AVLB - Revell Leopard Biber (03135)
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After a bit of research and some help from an Australian friend I decided to build the Revell Leopard Biber as an Australian Army version. To allow the hull detail to be seen I modelled the AVLB reversing after launching its bridge. I removed a lot of the moulded on details which sounds rather extreme, but it’s much easier to get the surfaces smooth to apply the new details appropriate for the Australian AVLB. I scratch built a new drivers hatch using the kit moulding as a guide for size and shape, before cutting out the existing hatch to add a driver figure. The three hull stowage bins and two slimmer pannier bins were scratch built along with an improved set the grousers on the glacis plate, which are now available from Friendship Models. The launching arm and rear support jib were refined with some new rollers, hydraulic ram fixtures, bridge guides, and mirco strip edging. Extra stowage for the AVLB, included a large trunk, fire extinguisher, two large cam nets, bridge section lifting beam, a large ammo box, three water cans in a holder and a broom for sweeping the bridge. Most of these items are made from plastic card and rod, the cam nets are made from small bundles surgical gauze painted with PVA glue and sprinkled with dried tea leaves from a used tea bag. The crew figures have been converted from the Hasegawa US Ground Crew set with some parts donated from Airfix figures. The helmets are made from Milliput, with plastic card and rod used to make the headsets, goggles and sunglasses. The whole model was painted with Humbrol No159 to represent the Australian Army’s Olive Drab. A detailed article on the modifications to this model was featured in Military Modelcraft International July & August 2006 titled ‘The Cat for the Gap’.

Copyright Tim Neate