Tamiya Leclerc, improved and accurately painted. A step by step guide for novices.

1/35 scale

by Patricio Delfosse © 2005 Modeler Site

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The Tamiya Leclerc’s arrival caused me conflicting feelings. On the one hand, it’s always a pleasure to purchase a new Tamiya kit. It’s not usual to find daily releases from this company, and modelers get excited when one is introduced. Besides the Leclerc, it’s an important vehicle in the world scene, that’s why having a good kit of that tank, means a joy indeed!. But, on the other hand, when opening the box, I found a couple of unpleasant surprises. Perhaps they are petty details, but an oversight of that kind is unforgivable if we speak about a company like Tamiya.


The first point is that the kit is not complete, so, if you want to build a complete Leclerc (I don’t mean to detail it) you’ll need to purchase the PE (ref.35280). The PE comprises parts that are not supplied with the kit such as the edge of the driver’s hatch, the engine grilles and the straps that hold the supplementary fuel tanks, this small etched part should come with the kit, not being necessary to buy it separately.

The second point, the metal wheels are not necessary. They are not bad, but not better than the usual plastic ones. Even, they complicate the job since they give an extra weight to the hull, turning it in a difficult- to- handle part at the time of painting. Accustomed to handle plastic kits, moving this Leclerc to and fro was troublesome to me.

The metal wheels don’t add any improvement at all, causing just problems.

Besides once the kit was built, they can hardly be seen, so this is why I think they are useless. It would have been better if Tamiya had included the PE…

The quality of the details don’t match up to Tamiya’s class. Their last new tooling kit (before the Leclerc), the T-55, is far superior. This one instead lacks of too many rivets to speak about “attention to detail”. Of course, the handles of the hatches are still solid…

But, in spite of all the above mentioned it’s much better than the old Leclerc from Heller, so although featuring defects, we must thank that Tamiya have released it.


To ease painting and avoid using masks, I decided to modify the sequence when placing the clear part. This is the main modification I made during the kit’s assembly and in the way of its construction.

Basically, the point is to assemble and paint all the kit prior to placing the clear parts (lights and episcopes)

For the taillights, you will have to cover with plasticard the holes through which the clear parts will be located.

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