KIT: Italeri 1/35 Autoblinda AB 41
KIT #: 6442
PRICE: $45.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Edition

HISTORY
 

Officially presented at the opening of FIATís Mirafiori plant in May 1939, the AB 40 was, at the time, something of a cutting-edge vehicle. Thanks to innovative solutions such as double drive and spare wheels mounted as neutral to help get over obstacles, it was a match for any foreign rival in the same class. The AB 41 version, introduced in 1941, included several improvements, yet its main weapon (a 20 mm Breda 35 cannon) remained the same. Capable of over 70 Kph on the road and nearly 40 Kph off road (twice that of other vehicles in the Regio Esercito), it proved effective in combat despite the defects caused by use of poor materials in the armour and the complex 4-wheel steering system. It was later replaced by the improved AB 43 version; a total of around 450 AB41s were built.

 

THE KIT

Armor fans can correct me, but it seems as if this may be a rather new mold as I don't recall seeing it on the shelves before. There are four tan sprues; one large and three smaller ones as well as two sets of rubber tires with three on a tree. No clear bits are provided and probably none are needed. Molding is really first rate. No flash and those ejector marks and sink areas found will be invisible when the kit is finished. I should add that one needs to keep the hatches closed for this to be true. While there is detail on the inside of the hatches, there are also ejector pin marks. No interior is supplied.

The suspension appears to be quite complete, and while I don't think it is designed to steer, it certainly looks the part. An interesting way to assure body alignment is the inclusion of four rods that will fit between the body sides while the upper, front and rear bits are attached. . The rubber (or probably vinyl) tires make wheel painting a snap and one just presses them in place. The usual equipment like shovels and jerry cans are included to help make the outside look busy. There is a complete gun, seats and control wheels inside the turret. It also appears that one can rotate this and elevate the gun.

Instructions are very good. Italeri has provided paint references with generic and Model Master guides. All this is printed on a separate color and markings sheet that is printed in full color and provides schemes based on Desert Tan for two German units operating in Italy during 1944. The small decal shet has all the markings needed for these two vehicles. Italeri decals have been quite good in the past few years so should provide good coverage.

CONCLUSIONS

I have to confess a fondness for armored cars. I've not built a lot of military vehicles, but they do tend to be soft skins or artillery. This is one that looks very nice and I'm sure that many builders will be delighted to add it to their collections.

August 2005

REFERENCES

Instruction sheet

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