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Fiat L3/33 Light Tank

Kit # PS720002 Construction review by Rob Haelterman

For a preview of this kit, containing a scan of the sprues, see here.

 

History

The L3/33 (aka CV33) was developed from the British Vickers Carden Lloyd Mk.VI and was armed with two 8mm Fiat Model 14/35 machine guns. Early production machines only carried one gun, and a good number of them was re-armed with various types of gun, including a 20mm Solothurm anti-tank rifle. Two flame-thrower variants also existed. A tank-destroyer carrying a Breda 47/32 gun was also produced in small numbers, as was a bridge-layer. Some of these tankettes received a new suspension with 4 large roadwheels instead of the eight smaller ones shown above3.
The German army used a fair number of these tankettes, and the last ones were phased out from (police) service in 1952.

 

The kit

(Note that there are two identical kits inside one box.)

As this is a small kit, with a small number of parts, it won't come as a surprise that this will be a small construction review.

I started by removing the bigger parts and cleaning them up. This was an easy affair with only the tracks demanding a bit more work due to the large number of attachments to the sprue.

I mated the upper to the lower hull, trapping the MG mount, which remains mobile after assembly. Little glue was required and fit was perfect.

It seems the tracks can be attached to the hull without glue, which will aid painting them enormously. Still, I believe I will add just a small drop of glue to the rear attachment to ensure alignment.
The miniscule headlights are to be butt joined to the hull according to the parts lay-out, which is a recipe for disaster as the attachment will be weak whatever you try. I drilled out holes in the hull that matched the diameter of the stubs on the rear of the headlights. Mind that these headlights are considered a delicacy for carpet monsters.

As you can see from the pictures, there is no interior, although the hatches can be opened. If you put a figure in the hull, not much extra work will be needed. If not, some additional detail might be welcome.

The tiny roadwheels are a pain to paint. This is not really a fault of the kit, but the ready-assembled suspension doesn't help.

S-model gives us a tiny decal sheet. The Italian "colored bar" system is well-known, but I am at a loss how to use the numerals. They are on a single carrier film, by the way, while the bars are on individual carriers. The decals look thickish on the sheet, reminding me of Hasegawa decals, but once applied they seem to have "normal" thickness. What can't be seen on the sheet is the white between the bars. Once applied it becomes visible, and you discover that the white is slightly out of register with respect to the red, and that the edges are somewhat ragged. (Without applying the blue bars, I can't tell if they suffer from the same defect.) My references show that (at least some of) the vehicles carried the bar-markings in four locations, while S-model gives you only three. Also note that you cannot build the two vehicles in the kit in markings of the same unit, due to the lack of sufficient decals.

 

At this point the kit is mostly finished, except for some weathering and varnishing.

 

Accuracy

Some people have criticized the lack of bolts on this kit. My references show that the CV.33 had no bolts, except on the front plate, as per this kit. The CV.35 had bolts all over.
Discrepancies with respect to my references are the following:
- Most references show two spare roadwheels of different size on the side of the hull, whereas the kit only has one.
- Pictures of surviving vehicles show 4 bolts on the rear vision on the rear vision flap, which the kit lacks.

In general the dimensions of the kit look spot on.

Note that, if you don't want to simulate the lenses of the headlights, that you can always "cover" them with a canvas cover that only left a small slit.

 

Conclusion
This was my first experience with an S-model kit, and I liked it.

 

References
[1] Italian Armored Vehicles of World War Two, N. Pignato. Squadron/Signal Publications 6089.
[2] C.V.33/35, J. Ledwoch. Tank Power Vol. LXXXIX (330), Wydawnictwo Militaria.

 

Review sample provided by the Hobby Den.

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Article Last Updated: 05 October 2012

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