The Strv (or 'Stridsvagn') 122 is a German Leopard 2A5 built to Swedish specifications to replace the aging Strv 103 'S-tank'
during the 1990s. Some major changes have been made to internal systems, but externally the 122 can be seen to have increased armour protection to the hull front
and turret roof, revised rear turret bustle storage and a faired-in GALIX protection system either side of the turret. Added mine protection armour, as found on the
Leopard 2A6M, has also been fitted to some, now designated Strv 122B (the original versions re-designated 'A' models).
Before going any further, I must point out that this Revell Leopard 2 variant, together with its more recent brethren, the Leopard 2A5/A5NL (kit no. 03187) and Leopard
2A6/A6M (kit no. 03180), are totally new Revell-Germany mouldings (stamped '© 2011 Revell GmbH & Co. KG'), and bear no relation to those 'inherited' for their
Leopard 2A4 (kit no. 03103) and Leopard 2A5 KWS (kit no. 03105). The improvement is massive!
So, what is inside the standard sized box from Revell? The usual multilingual instruction sheet, going very clearly through 35 stages of construction and 4
stages of painting/finishing. There are 5 sprues of darkish green plastic wrapped in a couple of clear bags and providing 168 parts in total, all of which are
used (if building the 122B), so the spares box will go hungry with this one! There was no flash present on my example and only very fine mould lines on one or
two parts. The only sinkage I could discern was on the side of the main gun mounting (Part B64) and at the rear of the underside of the turret (Parts B61 and G18),
but these should not be apparent on the finished model. Likewise, there are quite a lot of mould release marks, but with a few minor exceptions, these will be
concealed when the build is completed. And finally, there is a small sheet of water slide markings.
Sprues marked A and B comprise the running gear and most of the main hull components respectively. These may be referred to as 'generic', as these sprues are used
for all the more recent Revell Leopard 2 models. Suspension arms and shock absorbers are supplied as separate parts and running wheels and sprockets are all 2-piece,
with some detail included on the inner faces. Return roller wheels are also separate, and care must be taken to open up the correct holes for one of the return axles,
the position of which differs between the actual A5 and A6 versions.
The tracks are of a new variety to me, not so much 'link-and-length' but more 'length-and-length'! Two well detailed lengths of hard
plastic track are supplied for each track run, and the modeller is instructed to 'bend to shape with the help of hot water, do not use boiling water in any case!'.
These are then supposed to be trimmed to fit for length and glued into position. Nothing can possibly go wrong there then!!! (I forsee tender, warm finger tips and
molten running gear assemblies, but hey… it is a new skill to learn!!!). The inner faces of the tracks are the only areas to exhibit a few visible release marks which
may require filling or strategically placed weathering to conceal.
The hull is constructed in several parts, and an internal strengthening piece is included to keep things square and secure (well done
Revell). Detail is included on vertical faces of the hull (as it is on the turret sides) which is a significant improvement over the older Revell Leopard 2 models.
Tools are moulded in place (but well defined) and the drivers hatch can be modelled open (this sliding to the side correctly as for the A5/A6). Tow cables are provided
as separate 2-piece components
Sprue D supplies A6/A6M components that are used on the Strv 122A/122B, i.e. the latest side skirt armour and the additional mine
protection armour of the A6M. Sprue F has the barrel for the 'short' 120mm gun found on the A5, and parts of the self-defence grenade system (more of which anon).
Sprue G is specific to the Strv 122 model. Additional forward hull armour panels give the distinctive shape to the front of the vehicle,
and an almost completely different turret design rounds this off. Both turret roof hatches can be built open or closed (these correctly slide back into the turret itself
like the real thing - quite a novelty) and this is best decided upon before assembling the turret top to bottom (although the hatches could be added through the opening
in the turret lower plate). The different rear turret bustle storage is reproduced, this being split vertically along its length. Revell have even included the track ice
cleats which can be found stored on the inner faces of the bustles!
And then of course is the GALIX protection system on the turret sides. Having known that this was a feature of the Strv 122 before the model was released, I had expected
the faired-in self-defence grenade launchers to be provide as fairly simple one or two piece mouldings - well, you don't want to have to do more work on the moulding than
is strictly necessary, do you? Oops, sorry Revell, I underestimated you. Each grenade launcher is provided separately (that is 4 per side) with a further one-piece
fairing to go over each group of 4! This is going to require a lot of patience and careful alignment!
||Four colour marking schemes are provided, all for Swedish army vehicles in their unique splinter schemes of dark green/pale green/black
(but one with an added splash of white to provide a bit of a change).
The markings are for:
- Strv 122A, South Sweden, 1999
- Strv 122A, Skaraborgs Regiment P4, "Combined Challenge 2006"
- Strv 122A, Norrbotten Regiment I19, "Cold Response 2006"
- Strv 122B, Skaraborg Regiment P4, Skövde, 2011
The small sheet of water slide decals supplied to cover for these appears in register. It is nice to see a Leopard out of its usual
NATO tri-colour camouflage scheme, and as similar versions of this vehicle have been adopted by Spain and Greece, other colour schemes should present themselves to
those who wish to undertake a little research.
I am prepared to stand up and be counted if I have overlooked some major error in this model, but if you inspect the box cover, as with the Revell Leopard 2A5/A5NL and
A6/A6M kits, there is a banner stating that it is officially licensed by Krauss-Maffel Wegmann (KMW) who just happen to be the producer of the full sized vehicles. This
doubtless is the reason for such a finely detailed model. Did I mention the option of lashing down the gun barrel in its transit mode, or the subtle differences between
the vertical rear hulls of the Strv and its A5/A6 counterparts that have been included?
Oh, and did I mention, I think I like this model!
Preview sample purchased by the author.