Italeri 1/35 M40-75/18 'Semovente'

KIT #: 214
PRICE: $28.00 SRP
DECALS:  Several options
REVIEWER: Ray Mehlberger
NOTES:

HISTORY

The Semovente 75/18 was an Italian self-propelled gun of WWII. It was built by mounting the 75 mm Obice da 75/18 modello 34 mountain gun on the chassis of Am13/40 or M14/41 tank. The first 60 were built using the M13/40 chassis and a subsequent 162 were built on the M14/41 chassis from 1941 onwards. The Semovente 75/18 was intended to be an interim vehicle until the heavier P40 tank could be available.

This vehicle was employed in every war theatre where Italy was engaged, and it proved itís effectiveness in combat especially in North Africa. It was used by German paratroops and artillery units in Italy from the armistice to the end of the war, and it served again in the re-formed postwar Italian Army until the arrival of the Allied war equipments.

The S.P.G. 75/18 M40 and M41 represented the most unpleasant surprise for the British in the African campaign of 1942.

Designed by Ansaldo Fossati in 1940, itís production started immediately after the successful fire tests in 1941. The 250 units became available by 8th September 1943 and equipped eleven self-propelled artillery groups of the Italian Royal Army.

The vehicle housed a 75mm howitzer with a very low and effective trajectory, fitted with a revolutionary device, the muzzle-brake. This was invented and developed in Italy, which allowed the recoil inside the firing chamber to be reduced to a third. The overcoming of this difficulty permitted the very interesting tank-howitzer combination.

For the first time an artillery piece played a part in an armored division, making itís contribution offire to the armored spearheads. Another feature of the gun was the alternative of being loaded with hollow charge shells, so the vehicle could cope with any type of contemporary armored car.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Crew: 3
Armament: 1 x 75/18 howitzer with 44 rounds, sometimes up to 100 rounds. 1 x Breda 30 6.5 caliber machine gun (1 x Breda 8 caliber machine gun on the M41 type).
Weight in combat: 14,400 kg
Length: 4.915m
Width: 2.280m
Height: 1.850m
Armor: max 30 mm, min 14 mm in hull floor
Engine: V-8 diesel SPA 8T developing 125 hp (the SPA 15T developing 145 hp in the M41 type).
Speed: 31 km/ph on roads. 14 km/ph rough ground (for the M41 type 35 km/ph on roads and 15 km/ph on rough ground.
Range: 200 km on roads.

THE KIT

The box art has a color photo of the model made up and posed on a sand covered base. It is in a base color of sand gelb with dark green and red-brown spots on it. It carries a German cross on the sides.

Inside the box are 3 dark green trees of parts and the single dark green hull tub part. These trees were not in a cello bag and friction between them knocked a few parts loose. A set of silver vinyl rubber-band type tracks and the instructions and decal sheet complete the kitís contents. The tracks give you the 2 long runs and some short sections to use as spares. These tracks are the type that you have to heat rivet the ends together on and not the glueable type. They have good detail on them inside and out.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages in 6Ē x 11Ē page format.
In the instructions is a illustration of how to stretch sprue over a candle, if you want to make an antenna etc.

There are a total of 5 assembly step drawings.

Apparently this kit can be built into the M41-75/18 version. Assembly step number 5 is for the parts you use to do this one. The fenders can be full length or shortened. However, nowhere on the instructions does it show how much of them to chop off to do the short fenders.

The kit features a full interior and 3 crewmen.

Spread across pages 6 and 7 of the instructions are 3 marking and painting schemes done as 4 views.

 The first one is in overall sand yellow. The other two have a base of sand yellow with red-brown and dark green spots on them. The spot patterns differ a bit. Very brief decal application instructions are given.

Page 8 begins with illustrations of the markings on the decal sheet followed by explanations of those marks. A number of Italian license plates is shown followed by geometric shapes for Italian units and some German crosses.

License plates are provided for Italian Semoventes both prior and after 1945 types. The Roman numerals indicate the group of artillery and the Arabic numbers the regiment of the S.P.G. The geometric shaped symbols are for the Regio Esercito S.P.G. for a gun of the first battery, DLIV group, 3rd S.P.artillery regiment CELERE (Armored Division Littorio). You can put these together in whatever combination pleases you, but check you references first for accuracy.

The dark green parts trees are not alphabetized or  numbered. This will cause a delay in finding parts on the trees you need for assemblies. The dark green hull tub part has beautiful panel details inside and underneath.

 Years ago, I built this model and entered it into a contest at a toy store at the mall (long since gone). A judge looked at the bottom and saw that I did not sand off the Italeri name and logo that are molded raised there and he disqualified itÖsigh. It will be gone this time I build this one. Be aware that it is there anyways.

There are no clear parts provided for the headlight lenses.

I first got a kit of this back in the 80ís under the Testor/Italeri label and it has been re-released numerous times since and is still generally available sometimes under other brand names.

Highly recommended.

Ray Mehlberger

June 2012

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