Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas MBT - Afghanistan 2006- Build

Postby lmcq11 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:08 am

Hi,

It's time to build something big and more complex. My next project is a 1/16 RC Canadian Leopard C2 with the MEXAS (Modular Expandable Armor System) as installed to the Canadian tanks sent to Afghanistan in 2006.

The Leopard C2 Mexas (sometimes referred to as Leopard C2A1) is a Leopard 1A4, updated with the turret of the 1A5, fitted with Canadian designed features and then with Mexas composite armor installed on the hull and turret. This is exactly what i am about to do.

The Leopard C2 Mexas is probably the best looking Leopard 1 configuration ever built. I do not think that the Leopard 2A6M CAN that replaced it is as good looking.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Of the thousands of Leopard 1 tanks built, the squadron of 15 Leopard C2 that Canada sent to Afghanistan likely saw more real action and combat than the whole Bundeswehr and other Nato fleet combined.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Although it was not tank against tank warfare, the squadron provided support to infantry operations, walking point where its heavy armor offered better protection against IEDs and rocket attacks than the LAV. One of its weakness that led to its replacement by the Leopard 2A6M was the lack of air conditioning for the crew.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Good views of the frontal and side Mexas armor. The original shape of the Leopard1A5 turret is unrecognizable. The C2 would not look out of place with latest MBTs.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The first task was to find a Tamiya Leopard 1A4 chassis. It would be illogical to purchase a rare and prohibitive MIB kit and throw away half the kit. This is the right time to purchase a used piece of junk from the 70s. Once in a while, someone lists on eBay a used "RC tank" or a "Lepperd tank" that can be purchased between $50 and $150 depending on luck and condition. This is one of them, got it for $50 Buy-it-now 3 years ago. It must have belonged to the old man. Someone’s garbage is somebody’s else treasure.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Empty inside but with a hull mainly intact but dirty. It has the old clutch gearbox of another time. The owner threw loose parts inside the hull.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The original owner that built it was surely an RC enthusiast, but he wasn't much of a builder. What many builder would consider important, such as completeness and accuracy, were obviously not critical to him. Most of the detail parts are still on original sprues, which luckily survived to this day and were part of the deal. I added to the lot a couple of sprues i had in the junkyard.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Although it still looks good and functional, the first task is to replace the old gearbox that won't work with latest control board.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Needing a good wash. I also replaced the worn out torsion blades under the suspension by new ones from AFV-Model. It should help.

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RC 1/16 Canadian Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Continuing on following post.
Last edited by lmcq11 on Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:27 am

Getting ready to fit in MATO Panther gearboxes.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The shaft at the sprocket is of the same size, that simplify things a lot. Mato on left, original Tamiya on right.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Tamiya sprocket has a double feature for the lock with the shaft, it is a 5 minute task per gearbox to reproduce it on the MATO shaft with a simple large metal file.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The hole for the locking screw is smaller on the Mato gearbox so a simple new arrangement is designed.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Here we are, a MATO Leopard 1A4 gearbox.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The MATO shafts are long. The holes on the MATO mounting plate obviously need to be adjusted so that each sprockets can be aligned with their roadwheels. I had to create new holes for the right gearbox 8mm to the left.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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The gearboxes are installed centrally. The mounting plate is resting on the 2 vertical suspension holder bars. A plasticard base is created for the rear, and anchor screws are driven all the way through the hull for a solid base.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The mounting plate is resting on the vertical suspension bars at the front. 6 anchor screws are holding it in place.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Here we are, a MATO powered Leopard 1 tank.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Inside view, plenty of room with the upper hull on top.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Continuing on following post

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:45 am

Planning phase for the conversion.

The Meng 1/35 Leopard C2 Mexas kit will be my guide for the build. It is the most accurate model on the market.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


It has a nice color sheet.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The sprues containing the Mexas and the Canadian modifications are critical for this build. All measurements and position for the parts needing scratch building will be extrapolated from 1/35.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The 1/16 model will be started with the same base as the 1/35 kit.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Of course, the Perfect Scale Modellbau 1/16 scale Leopard 1A5 turret will be used. It comes with bolted on armor, but these are not Mexas.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Both kit turrets compare well.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The turret is hollow.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The 1/16 scale turret comes with lots of parts. Sadly, many will not be used.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Perfect Scale Modellbau kit comes with a superb metal 105mm L7 gun, with thermal sleeves in resin. It is also hollow so that will greatly facilitate the installation of the gun flash.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


But this turret is a static kit, not RC. Some modifications will be required for elevation and recoil.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Continuing on following post

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:54 am

From experience with the Centurion build, heavy resin turret need a stronger rotation unit. This metal unit comes from Toucanhobby.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Overview of the turret skeleton on the chassis.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


I want my Leopard C2 to be equipped with the proper Diehl tracks with rubber pads. These were purchased from AFV-Model.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Good lord, that won't be much fun.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Testing the size, looks good as replacement for the Tamiya tracks. Notice how the original builder assembled the tracks.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


View of the inside of the track pad.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


This is it, its time to start the conversion.

Regards, Louis

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Postby BarryC » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:55 am

Hi Louis,

Looking forward to watching you "Mexas" take shape.

I also have the 1A with the plan to convert it to a Belgium Army 1A5, so your work with the turret will be of special interest. I purchase "every" set for the 1A that AFV had, cost about 3 times what I paid for the Tamiya kit! 8O

I'll be keeping a close eye as you build progresses, I'm quite certain it will be another stunner. :clap:

Barry
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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:23 am

BarryC wrote:I also have the 1A with the plan to convert it to a Belgium Army 1A5, so your work with the turret will be of special interest. I purchase "every" set for the 1A that AFV had, cost about 3 times what I paid for the Tamiya kit!
Hi Barry, wow, i would like to see that. I did purchase a few necessities from AFV-Model, like replacement rubber sets for roadwheels, torsion bars, Diehl tracks, gun barrel travel lock and few other minor items. I find the quality of their products is inconsistent and range from inadequate to pure jewel, so i am very careful what i order now as it is expensive. I was tempted by their Leopard gearbox but with the pandemic, they closed and never re-opened availability of shipping to America so i decided to use Mato ones on inventory.

Continuing with the build with the hull and Mexas.

In addition to the Meng 1/35 kit for reference, i bought the book Canadian Leopard C-2 Mexas in Afghanistan. Although it provide tons of pictures and a wealth of information about the units and their experience, this is not a Walk Around book.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Leopard Mexas is complicated. The Meng Mexas modules were assembled, studied and their construction prioritized.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Mexas is composed of 6 main modules. The upper front glacis, lower front hull, large side sections and two smaller connecting modules between sides and upper glacis modules. Each have complicated angles and shapes.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


First thing though is to take care of a major weakness of the Tamiya kit, no hull bottom over the tracks. Dust and whatever can go right in with the electronics. Parts made of strong 4mm thick plasticard are made, glued and bolted to the hull. The sides are given an angle on which the upper hull will rest on for a solid model.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The thin rear armored plate is glued to them for a more solid back plate.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The joint is tight with the upper hull and prevent outside elements from entering the hull.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Leopard resemblance with the WW2 Panther tank is striking.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


No, these are not crab claws for Leopard tanks. This is part of the Mexas on the Meng kit glued to the hull for reference and illustrating how wide the Mexas is.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Mexas is spaced armor and 4mm plasticard squares are put in place to ensure it is at the proper height.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The build up of the hull Mexas is done in a methodological telescopic fashion, one component at a time, each prioritized according to their value for managing the size and position of the following components.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


continuing on following post.
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:43 am

The core of the Mexas glacis module is made, minus all the fine details that will be done later.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


I designed it in a way that the lower hull is providing a good base support for the upper hull Mexas to rest on.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Design phase of the very important side modules exterior parts using the 1/35 kit as references. The basic rule is (Meng kit measure divided by 1/35, then divided by 16) allows the reproduction in 1/16 scale of the part on a 1.5mm plasticard sheet using a pen, a ruler and a calculator.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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Once cut from the plasticard sheet, the parts are used like a stencil to make another totally similar module for the other side of the hull, and then prepared for assembly.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The exterior of the core side modules are assembled. After test fit, thorough analysis and fine tuning, the inner sections and interior reinforcements will be built.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


First test fitting of the side modules. Not bad for a first attempt. A few adjustments are required.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The attachment points with the hull need to be reworked for accuracy.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Overview of the model as it stand today. You can see where this is going.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Next step, continue dry fitting the side modules, fine tuning and building of their inner components.

Regards, Louis

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Postby Panzerjaeger66 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:08 am

Louis, you‘re talking about a more complex project...what are all the others you made?!? :O
Despite I‘m not into modern warfare, this build of my interest!

Best regards,
Freddy

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Postby BarryC » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:07 pm

Hi Louis,

You're off to a fantastic start! You never cease to amaze me with the speed at which your builds progress regardless of their complexity, just WOW! :clap:

I find you analyses of the AFV parts spot on, some are beautifully done and others not so much so. When I received my package I found the turned wheels to be beautifully done but require a lot of assembly time. I bought the track set as well, first thought was :O that's a lot of parts, but I scored a set of Kenny Kong tracks that are very well done and already assembled. :thumbup:

I am quite sure I will be shamelessly stealing many of you ideas and solutions. Making the turret functional will require so imaginative ideas and solutions but it is a beautiful kit in itself.

Keep up the great work!
Barry
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Postby Soeren » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:37 pm

That is a fantastic new project. The tracks look promising. I was looking for those as well, but I couldn’t find them on the website under Leopard tanks anymore.
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Postby lmcq11 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:21 pm

Panzerjaeger66 wrote:Louis, you‘re talking about a more complex project...what are all the others you made?!? Despite I‘m not into modern warfare, this build of my interest!

Oh, since the Ludwig TPz-1, i have mostly done summer kitbashing on the outside deck; a Tamiya Sheridan, WSN M16 and a 1/10 Jeep. Small 2-3 week projects if it had not been for the extended mail waiting for some parts to complete the models. For me, the Leopard 1 tank is like a Panther III...

BarryC wrote:I am quite sure I will be shamelessly stealing many of you ideas and solutions. Making the turret functional will require so imaginative ideas and solutions but it is a beautiful kit in itself.

Half my fun in the hobby is to post my experiences, hoping it can inspire others and push it further. It also makes me want to do a better job.

Soeren wrote:That is a fantastic new project. The tracks look promising. I was looking for those as well, but I couldn’t find them on the website under Leopard tanks anymore.


True !, they're gone... Its similar to the disappearance of the MLRS tracks that i used for the M41. I sent them an email if they were planning to build more, no reply. I also sent them an email if they would start shipping to America again, no reply.

I see however that they have a major new item, its a early Leopard 1A1 turret, plastic body with some metal, resin and brass. A bit more RC friendly than the resin turret i have, but this is expensive.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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Postby BarryC » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:18 pm

WOW, the note in red at the top of the listing google translates to:

"Note: This article is below the minimum order value of 5,800.00 EUR"

Hinweis: Dieser Artikel liegt unter dem Mindesbestellwert von 5.800,00 EUR

Not looking to sell many of these, if fact all the "Neu" items say the same! :O

Barry
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Postby jhamm » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:02 pm

BarryC wrote:WOW, the note in red at the top of the listing google translates to:

"Note: This article is below the minimum order value of 5,800.00 EUR"

Hinweis: Dieser Artikel liegt unter dem Mindesbestellwert von 5.800,00 EUR

Not looking to sell many of these, if fact all the "Neu" items say the same! :O

Barry


This is because:
Achtung Betriebsferien vom 13.07.2020 bis zum 14.08.2020 in diesen Zeitraum werden keine Bestellungen bearbeitet.
Aufgrund des hohen Bestellaufkommens können Bestellungen ab dem 04.07.2020 nicht mehr angenommen werden erst wieder ab dem 14.08.2020! Bitte haben Sie dafür Verständnis.
Wir wünschen Ihnen schöne Sommerferien!
Ihr AFV Model GmbH Team


Attention company holidays from 13.07.2020 to 14.08.2020 in this period, no orders will be processed.
Due to the high volume of orders, orders from July 4th, 2020 can no longer be accepted until August 14th, 2020! We ask for your understanding.
We wish you a nice summer vacation!
Your AFV Model GmbH team
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Postby BarryC » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:19 pm

Ha! I missed that, I was sure there had to be something or they wanted to go out of business, not likely! :thumbup:

Thanks,
Barry
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Postby lmcq11 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:56 pm

the message about the 5,800 Euro minimum has been there since at least March. It pop up on me when entering shipping address. No way to order anything if outside of EU since that time.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:25 am

Hi,

Presenting the lower hull Mexas, minus the hundreds of micro nuts and small details that will be done later, with a cooler head...

Even with a good 1/35 model to help provide shapes and dimensions, It is a good challenge to recreate the Mexas in 1/16. Need to have some good skills and experience with 3D scratchbuilding. This armor has lots of parts, various facets, angles and intricacies. A builder really needs to be committed to start and finish this model, and need to put in the hours.

The interior of the side armor is reinforced before closing.

Capture.JPG
RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Their base in 0.5mm plasticard is installed on the tank where it should. Spacers are required for the front and bottom because the top is resting on a raised section of the armor. I did make some compromises for solidity and simplicity purposes. The module attachment points on the real armor has reached a threshold of complexity that i choose not to repro because it was either hidden or too weak for plastic RC modelling.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The Mexas side armor modules are ready for installation. Do not under estimate the number of parts and amount of time required to achieve this. The stress level was also higher than normal.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


After dry fitting and some minor adjustments where there were pressure points in mid section that needed some space, i was really happy to see the side Mexas modules installed, strait and looking good. That's a load off. Although i was constantly checking the integration, I did not know how it would come together when i started this build. The two modules were installed with about 1mm of play (up, down, left, right, sideways, etc..). Not bad.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The little module is a joint between the side and frontal armor. Probably thanks to the Meng kit and measurements, it somehow fell in place correctly, at the right angle.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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The lower frontal armor is duplicated. Front face.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Interior. Extra re-enforcement will be made later. I have seen that when the upper hull is removed from the lower hull, some pressure is being applied to the front. I will need to add some more and bigger anchor points with the aluminum chassis.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Frontal Mexas armor module is installed.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Continuing on following post.
Last edited by lmcq11 on Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:34 am

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


The standard Leopard rear hull storage box next to the exhaust has been replaced by a new model, which is a extension of the Mexas side armor shape.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


If i had to do this again, i would build them at the same time as the Mexas side modules. It is complicated to reproduce exactly the same shapes and angles.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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The rear of the chassis has a section of side skirts in a newer style, again need to be scratch build.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Parts are created and made ready for assembly.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Side skirts installed. Not too complex but still need to put in the hours. I also made some compromises for solidity and simplicity purposes. The are glued in place and not made to be raised. There are limits to my patience.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Continuing on following post.
Last edited by lmcq11 on Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:44 am

Overview of the Leopard C2 Mexas hull as it stands today.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


It is important to keep the upper hull removable, the original latch at the front can be retained. Later, magnets will be used at the back.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Interior view of the Mexas. You can see a couple of adjustment plasticard needed to position the side modules. Further reinforcements between the Mexas modules and the upper hull will be added later.

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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build
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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


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RC 1/16 Canadian tank Leopard C2 Mexas - Afghanistan - build


Regards, Louis

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Postby Jimster » Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:12 am

Good Lord! You’re building your own jigsaw puzzle! And I thought installing my DKLM 2A7+ kit was difficult. You are a true Zen tank master. It’s turning out beautifully!

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Postby BarryC » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:28 am

Bravo Louis, it looks awesome! :thumbup:

The side armor gives the tank a real menacing look, something you just don't want to mess with. 8)

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