The Leclerc is the only battle tank serving in operational combat units in the French Army. Designed as a Cold War era tank killer that could take on numerically superior enemies, the Leclerc has served the armies of France and the United Arab Emirates for over twenty years. Since 1989 when the first Leclerc prototype appeared, it has been counted amongst the world’s most complex and deadly AFVs. Despite its fame, relatively little has appeared on the Leclerc in English, and much of the information about the Leclerc on the web is incorrect. Even in French, it has been ten years since the Leclerc was studied in a published work. Char Leclerc by MP Robinson and Thierry Guillemain is a survey of the Leclerc’s development and service in the French Army right up to the present day. It explains the differences between the eleven Leclerc production batches produced for the French Army, the different Leclerc derived vehicles, and the changes that have transformed the French armoured force since the Leclerc first entered service. This latest addition to the Kagero Photosniper series is illustrated with over 220 unpublished photographs and ten colour plates, making it an ideal reference for historians and modellers alike.
This latest title from Kagero and supplied for review by Casemate Publishing is one of those titles that has mixed reference for the modeller and information for the armour fan very as well. The card cover is suitable for protecting the book and keeping it serviceable for many years if looked after. The paper is a good quality semi gloss offering and this paper does a good job of presenting both text and photographs. The 95 pages in the book are packed with information both pictorial and written.
The text in the title is well written and provides a great deal of information on the Leclerc and its various production batches. The information will prove of use if you opt to build a model to match a specific batch model Leclerc. I found the text rather interesting and the information it provides easy to take on as it is not technically heavy and instead uses plain English. The conclusion was of particular interest to me as it highlights a common issue affecting most of Europe and for all I know the US as well, and that is that as Europe has not been involved in a major war for many years, the population and governments no longer see the benefit of defence and only see it as costing a lot of money for no return; A very short sighted opinion in the World we live in today and one we may yet live to regret.
The photographs and prints in the book will in my opinion meet the needs of the modeller very well. For the most part the photographs show the Leclerc doing the tasks it was designed for as part of the French Army both at home and as part of a UN force. The Leclerc is also in use by the UAE who are the only external user due in no small part to the high unit cost. The photographs that adorn this book will for the most provide you with a wealth of information as a modeller on weathering, but there are also gems looking at the power pack and the like. Towards the end of the title is a dedicated walk around of the Leclerc and this is where you can find all of those finesse parts that need to be just so on a model. Also aimed at the modeller is a series of 1/72nd scale drawings, but unfortunately no 1/35th scale offerings. The title finishes with 8 artists renditions of the Leclerc in side profile and these will provide the modeller with some interesting finishing options for a potential model.
This publication from Kagero publishing has a lot going for it due to its appeal to more than just modellers; this is due to the fact that it would be equally at home on the bookshelf of someone interested in the Leclerc or modern armour. The balance between text and photographs really is very well done giving this title its broadest possible appeal.
Highs: A great mix of easy to understand text and photographs.Lows: There are no obvious lows to this title as even the price is good.Verdict: If you are interested in the Leclerc or armour generally in any way this title is well worth adding to your library.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...