Italeri- Semovente M42 da 75/18
The Semovente 75/18 were a series of Italian self-propelled guns that were based off of the M series of medium tanks (M13/40, M14/41, and M15/42) and were armed with the 75mm L.18 Ansaldo cannon. It was the most widely produced Italian SPG of WWII and was used in the role of infantry support and as an anti-tank weapon, being more than a match for the British and American tanks of the time. 288 of them were produced in total and it's low profile and overall on and off-road performance were excellent. It was deployed in Africa and defensively in Italy up to its capitulation. The Wehrmacht captured several of them for their own use in their armored divisions.
The M42 version was introduced in May of 1943 and was longer when compared to earlier versions. It featured improved armor and a more powerful engine in the Fiat SPA T15B- which had 190hp, a fuel capacity of 307 liters, but a decreased range of 200km. It was capable of carrying 44 rounds in three racks and 1104 rounds for the Breda 38 machine gun.
What's Inside the Box
Modelers who have been around a while will know of the history of the kits from Italeri. The original kit harkens back to 1973 with the M40 da 75/18- and this newest incarnation features a couple of the original sprues as well as two new sprues featuring the lengthened hull tub and interior parts and transmission deck. So all told, there are four sand-yellow sprues, rubber band tracks, a small fret of PE, decals for four schemes and the manual. Let's see what we can see...
Sprue A is an original sprue that features the running gear and accompanying parts, styrene tow cable, tools, and one of the original figures. If you don't mind the pour stubs and flash, the detail isn't too bad considering the age.
Sprue B is entirely new and features the newer gear box complete with the SPA logo molded on, lengthened tub bottom and sides, deck covers, front and rear plates, fenders, nicely detailed Jerry cans with detailed straps, and the like.
Sprue C is the other original kit sprue with the original gear box and firewall not used, two additional figures, the casemate structure and the main gun. Actually most of sprue C is grayed out in the instructions- with you only using the casemate and gun parts. It is a shame the gun couldn't have been updated as well as it is in two halves and will prove challenging to assemble without some effort removing the long seams.
Sprue E is the other new sprue and features most of the interior crew compartment parts, new firewall, ammo racks with three shells, Breda 38 machine gun, exhaust covers, radio and driver's instrument panel, and other boxes. Details are crisp and the large hatches can be left open to show all that great interior detail. Sadly, there is no engine to go behind that firewall so there is a big open space there. Not sure if there are any aftermarket engines available but it would be great to see if there were.
The instruction booklet is your typical Italeri fare- with an excellent sprue map to start things out. Construction stretches over 16 steps with clear paint details for the interior bits, clear instructions on where to drill holes for exterior details, and areas that point out what to add depending on the version you choose. The tracks look to be the original ones with a slight silvery sheen to them and some rough patches of flash. CA glue should be used to connect the ends. The included PE fret seems to be mainly some brackets and engraved license plates.
Decals are included for the following four schemes that are features as color plates in the instructions:
Wehrmacht, PzJg.Abt.278, Infanteriedivision 278, Ancona, July 1944
Wehrmacht, PzJg.Abt. 171, Infantry Division 71, Castelforte, July 1944
Wehrmacht, PzJg.Abt.194, Infantry Division 94, Italy 1944
Regio Esercito, 12ª Div.e fanteria Sassari, XII ° Battaglione, IIª Comp., Rome, September 1943
Italeri has made some nice improvements to their ancestor of the 1973 M40 kit- with excellent new interior details and the lengthened detailed hull tub. The running gear and figures hold up all right despite their age and will look good with some extra work. I would have liked to have seen improvements on the main gun and a detailed engine to go with the rest of that beautiful interior to have more to show off, but folks should be pleased with what the new moulds offer. The paint schemes are nice- but another Italian scheme or two would not go amiss. Hopefully some aftermarket decals will make up for it.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders pending Full Build.
Thanks goes out to MRC for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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