by: John Murcutt [ ]
IntroductionThe Model 42 Desert Vehicle was developed to meet the needs of the Italian Army and was based on the chassis and mechanics of the AB 41 armoured car. Operations in the desert proved the need for a reconnaissance vehicle that was adapted to meet the specialist conditions that were encountered and could not be found in the vehicles that were already present. These included large tyres that ran at low pressure for running over sand as well as offering sufficient ground clearance to a vehicle that would encounter so many difficult conditions in the harsh terrain.
I know very little about the operations of the Italian military, which prior to fighting alongside the Germans already had a great deal of experience of the terrain and climate, from the large areas of North Africa that was part of their Empire long before World War II. None of these vehicles are left in existence having served in Italy mainly with Police units once the war was over well into the 1950’s. It is said that the vehicle served in units in a very similar manner to the LRDG and were able to often hold their own against those forces, being well armed and very fast.
The KitI never find Italeri kits to be in boxes that just ‘grab’ your attention when browsing the shelves, but this kit is contained within a sturdy carton, bedecked in the normal manner of the blue and yellow with the company logo clearly displayed. The colour artwork is above the usual standard that I have often seen, consisting of a nice picture of the vehicle, with its crew in a suitable desert setting.
My main surprise is that it opens like a cigar box, allowing you to instantly see all of the various items that are enclosed. Whilst as is usual the plastic sprues are packed in polythene bags, the resin and photo-etched pieces are neatly displayed in blister packs and are well protected against bangs and knocks. The tyres are packed in a polythene bag as are the decals and acetate sheet for the windscreen. There is also a nicely printed instruction booklet with clear, easy to follow construction details and furthermore a really nice reference booklet. This is printed on good quality paper and comprises information and pictures of various parts of the vehicle from official photos in black and white as well as full colour advice about building the resin parts, working with PE and finally some colour pictures of the various paint schemes of finished models. The plastic mouldings are in a normal sand colour with the resin parts and crew in a pale cream resin.
Sprue A – This contains the underside of the chassis, the side sections with substantial springs moulded into place, along with a few smaller items and tools.
Sprue B & G X 2 – This comprises both B & G sections moulded as one and in B part contains much of the wheels and suspension with G comprising the jerry cans moulded in blocks with separate handles, spades and other small items for the bodywork. Sprue C – This is the largest and comprises the major parts of the bodywork and interior details. The Bonnet can be cut into 3 sections to allow you to see the resin engine if you decide to fit it. Like all of the mouldings any flash is negligible and I can see no sign of warping or bad moulding.
Sprue D – This has some small parts for the interior but mainly comprises the parts for the 20mm cannon and its mount. There is then the bag containing 5 vinyl tyres that appear to be well moulded, with a well defined tread pattern, without a large moulding line to remove and the acetate sheet to make the windscreen.
The first blister pack contains 2 resin figures that look to be nicely posed with separate arms and heads and the large components of the engine. This is marked R on the instruction contents guide. In a smaller Blister pack is a resin Sprue containing other parts to complete the engine.
The final blister contains a substantial fret of photo etch, which offers jerry can racks, sand channels and other small fittings. Finally there is a small decal sheet containing the instrument panel, various number plates and an Italian flag for one of the offered vehicles, which I think is for air identification.
in conclusionI have never really considered Italeri kits preferring kits from the larger manufacturers, but after my surprise at the quality of the set of two ammunition trailers that I bought some months ago, I was drawn to wanting this kit when I first saw it mentioned on their website as it is something different from the usual crop of German or allied equipment. Although the price was more than I anticipated, from my detailed examination of the box contents and considering the cost of aftermarket parts and resin figures, I believe that it offers good value and will be very pleasant to build. My only gripe if you can call it that is in the jerry cans which are so pre-dominantly mounted on the side of the vehicle, are moulded in the old fashioned, large one piece mouldings, however even with that it does not detract from what is a very attractive kit of an interesting and important vehicle.