The build here begins with the lower hull, and that turns out to be fairly complicated. The lower hull (excluding the chassis) comprises 14 main and separate parts. There are two internal rods that act as crossmembers to set the spacing between the main hull sides, but unfortunately, the rear rod seems to be the wrong length. So, to get everything together, you’ll be juggling more than ten separate parts that don’t fit or locate particularly well. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also be needing some filler to hide the most obvious gaps.
Then, it’s on to the wheels and chassis. Each of the four main wheels has two square locating points inside, and these are supposed to fit on two corresponding square lugs on the upper and lower halves of the chassis.
However, if you do a dry fit with the tyres in place, you’ll discover that using these locating pegs positions the wheels in the wrong place – the front wheels are too far to the rear and the rear wheels too far to the front. If you assemble using the pegs and holes provided, you’ll end up with the tyres fouling the wheel arches. Instead, you have to cut the pegs carefully until you get the wheels where you want them. I did this with the tyres just push-fitted onto the wheels so that I could remove them for painting separately. However, I managed to get glue on both rear tyres so they are now fixed in position while the fronts and spares have been removed for painting.
I add the last bits and pieces, and that’s hull construction complete other than for the exhaust which I’ll add once painting is done.
Next, the turret. No problems here, everything fits nicely and no filler is required. The gun barrel is a little thin for drilling, so I’m going to leave it solid.
Then it’s on to painting. And I’m going to cheat… I really did consider trying to replicate the German scheme shown in the instructions and on the box, but it looks very challenging indeed. Instead, I found a couple of images of an abandoned AB 43 in German service. These appear show an example finished in one overall colour. It looks lighter than German dunklegelb (dark yellow) and I’m guessing it’s sand or something close. It also seems to have a small stowage bin added to the rear of the turret.
That’s what I have decided to go for here. I fabricate a simple turret stowage bin out of plastic card. It was only later that I realised I didn’t need to do this. There is an unused part on the sprue (part 46) that isn’t mentioned in the instructions or shown on any of the external views but which appears to be a turret stowage bin!
Then I give the whole thing an overall coat of a fairly light sand colour.
I then add some dry brushed highlights, the tools, exhaust and tyres. It’s worth noting that the exhaust on the original had four distinct lobes but here, due I suspect to moulding limitations, it just has two, so I scribe an extra line on the front face to suggest four lobes. I also add some simple decals from the spares box – if you read my In-Box review for this kit, you’ll know that it came without decals. Italeri did offer to supply decals, but only if I paid for the privilege of receiving what should have been there in the first place…
Finally, it gets a coat of clear varnish and a dark brown oil wash and that’s it done.
After Action Report
Other than for the assembly of the lower hull, which I found a little fiddly, this was a simple and stress-free build. And, as far as I can tell, it builds into a reasonably accurate model of this small and little-known Italian armoured car. I’m still a little irritated that I built a new turret stowage bin when one already seems to be included, but it doesn’t get a mention in the instructions and I didn’t notice it until I was finished.
As you can see, I have left off the width indicators on the mudguards, because these often weren’t fitted and the Jerrycans, which were more often seen on vehicles used in North Africa. Other than that, this is built as provided (though using my own decals, of course…).
If you fancy a bit of fun kit building, you could do a lot worse than this offering from Italeri. And if you’re feeling bold or if you have some time on your hands, you could even try the suggested colour scheme!