The Leopard II was developed in the seventies after the joint US/German
effort to develop a new main battle tank, the MBT-70, was brought to a
halt and the project cancelled. The new main battle tank was
developed by Krauss-Maffei AG, now Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), of München,
first production Leopards were delivered to the German Army in 1979. Over
3000 were produced. The tank is in service with the armies of Austria,
Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Spain.
Stridsvagn 121 is the Swedish designation for the Leopard II, of which
Sweden received 160 as the first part of an agreement on purchasing the new Leopard
Improved (Stridsvagn 122).
The vehicles arrived in Sweden in 1994. The tanks originate form different production series
(losung) meaning that
there were (and are) a number of external differences between specimen
from each series. Among the
vehicles shipped to Sweden there are vehicles
from losung 1 manufactured in 1979 up to losung 5, which rolled off the
assembly line in 1987.
A Strv 121
on board Scania tank transporter.
Swedish Leos are sometimes painted in a single Dark Green shade but often
finished in a standard Army three-color camouflage of Black, Dark
Green and Light Green. The running gear is always painted overall
|Finding suitable marking decals for your
Strv 121 model can be a problem, but
fortunately there are not many used on the real tank. Apart from the
id number only the stowage bins are marked. They feature the numbers
1, 2 and 3. On exercises the radio call sign (e.g. GB, SD etc.) is
made from tape and often applied to the sides of the tank.
A realistic alternative is to cover the tank with camouflage netting or pine
boughs but this means that little of this cool paintwork will be left visible, which can
be a bit ungratifying.
A Strv 121
with the call sign markings. Often used on exercises, the markings
are made of tape. The markings on this particular tank reads SL II (representing
the call sign Sigurd Ludvig 2). Also of note is the camouflage netting covering
Strv 121 in Detail
you would like to model the Swedish vehicle, be aware that there are
external differences in detail and equipment between the Strv 121 and
Bundeswehr Leos. I'll try to point out all the necessary modifications
using some close-up photographs and Italeri Leopard II kit as a reference.
It should be noted that the Italeri kit is not 100% correct
and there are a few details that were changed during the modernization
roundup done to all vehicles between 1995 and 1998.
Quoted part numbers refer to parts of the kit.
The rear plate (part A47) of
the Italrei Leopard kit has two circle-shaped reflectors
that should be changed to rectangular, measuring 6 x 4 mm in 35th scale.
An extra reflector on the left box should be added. A mounting plate
for the id number is located on the right. The numbers are printed in
yellow and range from 210801 to 210960.
On the right side (part C23) each of the second and third
handles should have three small pieces of plasic rod added. The
full-size device prevents one from climbing the vehicle with the risk of
injury, should the driver simultaneously open his hatch.
A notch should be cut out from both of the rear side plates (parts C22 and
C23). This prevents snow and mud from clogging the drive
On the left front fender a few spare parts for the tracks are missing.
They should be located between the rear view mirror and the ice cleats
(parts B44). The same goes for the right front fender.
The front needs three white reflectors, one on each fender and one
placed in the middle on a small bracket in front of part B37. A bracket
for the id number plate should also be added to the right fender. As with
the rear plate, identification numbers are painted in yellow and range from 210801 till 210960.
If you want you can substitute both front fenders and use the
Swedish variant show here. These fenders have a more rounded appearance and the real ones are made of
rubber. At the moment of writing, this particular modification has not yet
been performed on all vehicles.
Some more work
will be required on the turret. The left side of part C49 has
a small box that needs to be removed, and four brackets attached where the box was
By the way, the molded content in the stowage bin has never looked good on
kit. The nice thing is that this previously open bin in real life now is
covered by a plastic tarpaulin, hiding what is inside. This cover is
permanently fastened to
the turret roof. The other end is tied down on the side and to the rear of
the stowage bin.
The modeller who wants to put in a little more work should cut away the
molded rolled tarps and make new walls inside the bin from plasticard. The
bin is then filled with the correct stuff, a model 201 jerry can for
drinking water, neatly rolled tarpaulin, length of rope and a few other
accessories. The wading trunk (parts B75 and B76) is not used in Sweden. I
haven't spotted the original German cable drum (parts B77 and B78) on any of
the Swedish vehicles. Swedish Leopards feature a narrow
variant show here, but most often the cable drum is not used at all.
B79) are exchanged for new mounts and new rods. Length of the mounts are 7 mm and the antennas are 60
mm - in 1/35th scale, of course.
On the rear of the turret roof (part C47) is a small circle-shaped lid
where the wind-meter was located on the Leopards from losung 1. As
the Swedish Army uses
vehicles from both losung 1 and later series, the lid can remain on the
roof or be removed.
The two hinges and a lifting hook is missing on the side of the box (see also picture
On the other side of the turret
there is a circle-shaped plug on the lid below the antenna mount.
A driver's visual aid is mounted on the rear right side of the hull. The knob is
often white, sometimes red.
The object shaped as a half-circle is part of of the small wading
equipment and is usually located on the rear right side of the turret. The
correct 1/35th scale dimensions are approximately 17 mm wide and 9 mm