Kit: No. 6442
Manufacturer: Italeri, from Testor, 815-962-6654, www.testor.com
Comments: Injection-molded, 107 parts (six vinyl), decals
Pros: Good exterior detail, much-needed subject
Cons: Except for turret, no interior detail; wheels have too much camber
The new Italeri AB 41 World War II Italian armored car is a great change of pace from the panzers that have been dominating the 1/35 scale market. The actual vehicle saw significant action in the Mediterranean Theater fighting with both Allied and Axis forces.
The kit is cleanly molded in sand-yellow plastic. The interior detail is limited to the turret, all of the crew and engine hatches are separate, and the six tires are vinyl. No figures are provided.
Construction starts with the chassis and suspension. The design makes the suspension arms somewhat flexible, and with a little modification, the wheels could be positionable. The drive shafts and steering units are well-detailed. When it's all together, the wheels seem to have a bit too much camber.
The hull is assembled from various plates: top, sides, front, rear, engine deck - almost like the real vehicle. Four internal cross members anchor the hull sides together, then all the other components go onto the sides.
I used filler along most of the hull joints. The vehicle has four large headlights, which are molded in the yellow kit plastic; clear plastic would have been more convincing. I closed the separate head-light covers on the front. To get the two-part side hatches to fit better, I had to thin the hinges and clean up the interior surface.
The three main components of the turret went together easily, and the interior detail is good. The 20mm gun, sight, and coaxial machine gun are portrayed well. The commander's seat is also given.
I painted my AB 41 with a combination of Polly Scale and Tamiya paints. Decals are provided for five vehicles - three Italian and two German. They are neatly printed and went on fine, but I recommend a gloss undercoat first.
My reference was Armor Photo Gallery No. 8 Italian Armored Cars Autoblinda AB 41 & AB 43. The kit matched the drawings and photos.
I completed my AB 41 in 14 hours. It was a pleasant kit to build and it's appropriate for all skill levels. If you collect WWII armor, you must have this kit.
- Jim Zeske