Autoblindata AB.41 Italian Armored Car
Manufacturer: ExtraTECH (Kit #7207)
Although I own many of ExtraTECH's kits, this was actually the first one I built. I am extremely impressed by this kit, as it builds into an outstanding replica of this unusual vehicle. ExtraTECH should be commended for providing us with these vehicles which will probably never be released in plastic.
The kit is resin (10 parts) and photoetched (25 parts). The hull, turret, guns, and wheels are in resin, and the fenders, tow hooks, license plates, and other small parts are brass. According to the dimensions in Czolgi Wloskie 1939-45, this kit is as close to 1/72nd as is humanly possible. The level of detail is outstanding, and once again, it looks a little flat right out of the box because of the light-colored resin, but paint and highlighting bring out the detail admirably. My only thought for improvement is that photos of this vehicle show that the many rivets on the turret and hull were very large, and could have been made more pronounced on the kit.
Construction was extremely simple. There was a large block of resin on the bottom of the turret to be cut off, but the other pour blocks were very simple to remove. The pour block for the hull attached to the rear face, and there was no detail on that surface, so the engine screen was provided as an etched piece to be attached to the resin. The only difficulty I had with the kit was bending the fenders into a smooth curve. No matter how hard you try, it is difficult to keep the brass from creasing. I found the easiest way to do this was to wrap the pieces slowly around a cylindrical object of the appropriate diameter (I used the neck of a wine bottle).
The axe and shovels are included as brass parts, which makes the handles very two-dimensional, so I cut off the handles, and attached styrene rod to the shovel blades (after bending them to shape) and the axe head. The results are much more realistic. I then used the very fine etched shovel handles, which had clips attached to them, as brackets on the front fenders for stowage racks, as seen in photos of this vehicle. I replaced the etched steps beneath the side doors with brass rod bent to shape. I also added some stowage onto the left front fender. The antenna mount on the left side of the hull is provided in brass, but it should look like a tube projecting out from the hull from an angle, so I cut a small piece of styrene rod at an angle, hollowed out the end, and attached it to the base plate from the etched piece.
Markings are included for four vehicles, one Italian, two German and one captured by the Polish in North Africa. Since this was my first Italian vehicle, I decided to go with the home team, and used the Italian markings. I painted the kit in a desert tan color, and weathered it extensively with chalks of various colors and metalizer. The decals are very thin and well printed, but the license plate decals were larger than the etched holders, so the decals wrapped over the edges some. The yellow and white colors of the unit markings are not very distinct, but that may be a factor of scale effect.
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