The Carro Veloce 29 was developed from the British Vickers Carden-Loyd Mark VI at the end of the 1920’s. The Italian authorities showed an interest in a small, light and fast vehicle to accompany infantry and to be used for reconnaissance. Further modifications by the Fiat and Ansaldo companies in the early ‘30’s led to the Carro Veloce (CV) 3/33, with even more modifications in the middle of that decade to bring about the CV3/35. The CV designation was changed to L.3 in the late 1930’s.
Different versions were built using the CV3/35, with the most common variant being the Lanciafiamme, which is the subject of this review. The flamethrower tankette had two methods of carting around the flammable liquid, one being a self contained storage tank that sat atop the engine compartment and the other being a 500 liter towed trailer. This new kit from Bronco Models portrays the trailer version.
Well packaged in a top opening box, each sprue arrives in an individually sealed bag with a separate zip-lock bag containing the more delicate items.
Included in the kit are the following:
• 6 sprues in tan styrene
• 1 sprue in clear styrene
• 1 photo etch fret
• 1 decal sheet
• 1 flexible hose
• Instruction Manual
This being Bronco Model’s third release in the series, (kit #35007 Reviewed Here
), a few of the sprues are shared with the previous models. Over 300 parts will be used in the construction of this tankette, with a very small amount being shown as not used. The 16 page instruction manual is printed on glossy paper and center stapled, book style. The front cover has a full color image of the box art, along with a short developmental history of the CV3/35. Opening the booklet brings us to a color chart, listing cross references for Gunze Sangyo, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya. This is followed by a parts list showing sprue layout and miscellaneous items.
The next eleven pages are dedicated to the 22 construction steps which are the exploded view style, with sub assemblies where needed. Looking over the instructions, it appears Bronco did a fine job in keeping things simplified. None of the steps are overly busy, and for the most part steps are ‘sprue dedicated’, which should end hunting through all the sprues for that one oddball part.
The last two pages are full color painting/marking guides for the two following options:
•32nd Tank Regiment, Libya, N. Africa 1940-41
•Military Exercise, Rome, 1937
The decals included for both these options are beautifully rendered waterslide style, and markings for the towed trailer are included. The photo etch fret is protected with a plastic film on both sides, a small cardboard backing would be more suitable here as mine arrived slightly mangled, although still completely usable. Some of the parts included as photo etch are the driver’s foot pedals, coil strap and belt for the engine, and the updated crew hatch ports. Last of the small parts are the clear headlight lenses and a rubber hose to feed the liquid from the trailer to the pump mechanism in the tankette.
In general, the parts are very highly detailed and are crisp and cleanly molded for the most part. Mold seams are very slight and sprue connection points appear to be placed in well thought out areas. Slight flash, such as around the bolts on the superstructure, (which the photo shows the worst area I could find), should clean up easily with a quick swipe of fine sandpaper or lightly going over the area with liquid glue. Given the small size of this tankette, magnification was needed by this old reviewer to get the full benefit of Bronco’s attention to detail.
This kit includes a fairly complete interior consisting of the full drive-train and crew area, which is where construction begins. The hull consists of a separate floor pan and sides which are bevel edged to give a, theoretically, seamless join. The fuel tank is constructed from multiple parts and serves as the backrest for the driver, who also gets foot pedals and levers. The internal plumbing for the flamethrower is both molded on the floor plate and provided as separate parts.
The transmission and drive appear to be highly detailed, as is the beautifully rendered engine complete with separate spark plugs and PE belt. The uniquely shaped radiator sits furthest back and includes plumbing to the engine. The hull sides are very well detailed on the outer areas, but the inner surfaces have a multitude of injection plugs that will require careful removal if you opt to have the interior visible.
Once the interior is complete, work continues on the lower hull and suspension. The drive sprocket is a simple affair but appears accurate, and Bronco even has the ‘Ansaldo Genova’ casting in the center hub, quite a nice touch given the diminutive size of these parts. The complex suspension system for the roadwheels has the reinforcing ribs(?) on the triangular plates, as shown in some period photos, and the suspension girder is complete with the large castle nuts. The idler and tensioner look to be accurate as well.
The mufflers feature the flattened oval tail and have a beveled edge on the inside, which should produce a nice opened effect when the halves are put together. The seam line may need careful attention since other details are molded on the mufflers. The ammo storage bins are included, although ammo pouches will need fabrication if so desired. The engine compartment cover has the option of opened or closed hatches, unfortunately that unique radiator will be completely hidden.
The tracks are supplied in link and length form, which given the small size was a smart move by Bronco. Each link has the Ansaldo name embossed on it, and the longest top track section appears to have a bit of sag molded in.
The superstructure has the fenders incorporated into it, and is shown in the instructions as not to be glued which, if all goes well, will be able to be removed to show off the interior from the firewall forward. The crew hatches are of the earlier style, with the ports being centered. Photo etch parts are included to convert these to the later style, with the instructions pointing out the minor surgery that needs to be performed. Nothing is indicated on what needs to be done on the interior of the hatches if it’s decided to depict them in the open position, although this should be a simple matter of using the PE parts as a template to make the slot for the sliding handle.
The MG and flamethrower both are well molded with the barrels hollowed out, including good details on the fighting compartment and exterior areas. To complete the upper section, miscellaneous parts are added such as visors, hinges, etc.
Towed Tank Trailer:
The storage tank itself is constructed from six pieces with beveled joins like the hull, and as long as everything fits properly, should look excellent. Bolt detail looks correct, tires have the Pirelli markings on them and, if you look closely enough, the center wheel hubs have Fiat embossed on them. Parts are kept to a minimum here, without losing any of the details.
I purposely did not mention too much about accuracy in this review, for a couple of reasons. The first, and foremost, is I am by no means knowledgeable of the CV3 series. Although after looking at this kit and doing some research, that’s about to change, as this promises to be a fascinating subject to pursue.
My second reason is that these tankettes varied in small aspects as seen in period photos. Slight changes were made, which I’m not sure if they were field or factory modified. A couple of items stand out, though, which I will mention. The right hand visor on the side of the upper hull should be further towards the front, the kit has it more centered. With the driver’s seat more forward than the gunners due to the fuel tank, this seems logical. The other main item which just seems ‘off’ to me is the trailers’ wheels, for some reason they look like they should be more convex or rounded outward. Also, some of the bolt patterns are not matching with what limited references I have. These items will not reflect on the final rating of the kit.
All in all, this looks to be an excellent kit. The details and engineering are very well done, even more so due to the miniscule size of this AFV. In the box, this one is highly recommended.
A Build Log
has been started on the forums to evaluate the kit construction.