Dragon’s brand new Black Label line offers exciting military subjects for eager modelers. Black Label is a whole new line of kits marketed independently of Dragon or Cyber-Hobby, and this flexibility results in reduced prices for the big items in this exciting series. The second Black Label kit to see the light of day is a 1/35 scale model of the MBT-70 (Kpz.70). This 54-tonne tank is perhaps not well known because it never entered production, but it’s the grandfather of both the M1 Abrams and the Leopard 2. The joint US-German MBT-70 main battle tank (MBT) program kicked off in the 1960s, and the new design was supposed to incorporate several futuristic features such as hydropneumatic ‘kneeling’ suspension. It housed all crewmembers in the turret, plus there was a 20mm autocannon fitted. The MBT-70 had a very low silhouette of just 1.8m. However, plagued by budget overruns, Germany withdrew from the project in 1969 before the USA packed it in too in 1971.
Fourteen MBT-70/Kpz.70 prototypes and test-beds were built, of which some survive today. Indeed, the prototype held at the Panzermuseum in Munster, Germany, formed the basis of Dragon’s new kit. The designers took accurate measurements from all over the real tank, and the engineers converted these into accurate three-dimensional plastic components. As is to be expected from such an innovative prototypical tank design, every part in the cram-packed box is newly tooled. This tank has been produced with modeling convenience in mind too, with such features as easy-fitting DS tracks. As the original grandfather of the famous Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams tanks from Germany and the USA respectively, it’s rather surprising that the MBT-70 (Kpz.70) subject has never been produced in 1/35 scale plastic before. This uniqueness adds to the attractiveness of this forward-thinking MBT design.
And unlike the challenge faced by the original designers, Black Label ensures the kit comes with a realistic price tag!