Italeri- Semovente M42 da 75/18
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Italeri has done a nice job adding in the new sprues in addition to the older ones from the M40 kit. There are quite a few parts not used in this particular build-- and even though the figures from the original boxing were included, I decided to skip them here since they were not in the instructions and I try to follow the build steps to the letter. You could easily add them- but for the sake of time constraints, I left them out.
Construction begins with the interior-using the new sprues to attach the interior parts to the hull floor. The new details really pop- including the SPA insignia on the transmission cover. The first two steps have you inserting everything to the floor back to the firewall to the engine compartment- since there is no engine, I didn't do too much with the rear area...but there does seem to be room for an engine if you can find one aftermarket or are brave enough to scratch build one yourself. The addition of the hull sides, rear, and front plates are next and there are some pour plugs to remove and holes to drill.
The next three steps involve installing the return rollers, rear idlers, sprockets, and road wheel assemblies. The pairs of return roller wheels don't attach together too well with no real true mating surfaces-- so you have to be careful to get them aligned correctly. The sprockets are six part assemblies that look quite nice despite their age. The road wheel assemblies are a little fiddly but also look quite nice. The rubber band tracks are installed in step 7, but I left them off until after painting.
Step 8 begins construction on the engine deck and hatches, as well as the transmission cover and hatches. The fit was pretty awesome here-- everything popped into place nicely. Track guards and the parts that go atop them are next, but again I left them off until later. The exhausts, fuel tank, and toolboxes attach to the track guards through step 11. Here you also have the choice of either attaching one spare road wheel and a tool box for the three German versions of the kit, or two road wheels and a rear ID plate for the Italian version.
Step 12 attaches the interior details to the track guards, like the radio, driver's instrument panel, and others bits. Assembly of the main gun and casemate follows-- despite the gun being from the older sprues, there is still quite a bit of detail there to show off if you leave the hatches open. Hopefully if there are subsequent kits released, they will replace the older gun parts with a newer one piece barrel assembly. The three top hatches can be posed open or closed...I chose to open just one to show off that gun.
The final page of construction includes two steps of adding hatches, tow cable, jerry cans and racks, pioneer tools, and other bits that are dependent on the version you decide to build. You have the option of building a crate for the three shells, but I added them to the interior rack beforehand.
Painting and Weathering
Of the four versions to chose from, only one is Italian and the markings are pretty minimal being just the ID plates. There is a cool PE insignia that installs on the glacis. Paint instructions are for Italeri paints which I don't have in the stash. With the current state of the postal service, I knew I would be waiting weeks for paint, so I chose to just use the German camouflage set I already had since the dark yellow, red brown, and olive green seem a pretty close match. I sprayed the paint and added the ID decals. There are some excellent details screaming for some panel line washes- especially with the road wheels assemblies, so I took the time to apply it to them. I used the AMMO IDF weathering pigments Sinai Dust and Golan Sand to the hull and tracks and the interior.
Italeri has done a pretty impressive job updating this kit to the M42- with the extended hull and well detailed interior bits. The large top hatches really give you the chance to show off the work you do to the interior to make it pop. While the tracks, main gun, and road wheels are good despite their age, it would be great to see link and length tracks and some slide molded gun updates to really improve things. That being said, this has really been an enjoyable build and it all went together pretty smoothly. While another Italian scheme or two would not go amiss, I must admit that Italeri has released a really nice update and it really fills quite a nice niche in your Italian armor collection.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders who love Italian WWII armor.
Thanks goes out to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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