I placed two orders simultaneously from separate online hobby stores and this one from Hong Kong came first. The Japanese order was shelved into a backorder waiting list which didn’t matter either way. I actually ordered a Sōryū kit together with matching photo-etched parts and wooden deck and the light cruiser IJN Naka (with its very own PE parts as well) but something held the entire shipment. The Kido Butai project comprising all the aircraft carriers that took part in the Pearl Harbor attack would have to wait as well – there’s an attractive kit from Fujimi for the Hiryū aircraft carrier and the all-new tooling from Tamiya for the Zuikaku (which modelled its 1941 configuration). I’ll also need to acquire the Kaga carrier PE parts and then it’s time to kickstart the project.
The HK consignment was shipped on 1 March but only came yesterday noon which was after the weekend (damn!) but we know that this world ain’t perfect.
For this particular shipment, I’ve lined up the AB43 from Italieri in 1/48 scale. The difference from the 1/72 scale was only about RM4 in terms of cost which was justification enough to buy the larger-scale kit. The AB43 variant of the Autoblinda armored car according to this website packed a Cannone da 47/32 M35 gun as compared to the Breda Model 35 20mm gun mounted on the AB41. The Italian armistice with the Allied forces in September 1943 meant that the eventual development of the AB43 variant hit a snag and few units were actually pressed into service, most of them falling into Wehrmacht hands (hence the depiction in the cover box art) and eventually ending up being used by the Italian police in the 1950s. Pictures of the AB43 used by the Italian Police can be found here (in Italian) and here.
I’m not sure whether the AB43 was used by the Esercito Cobelligerante Italiano (Italian Co-Belligerent Army) which fought on the side of the Allies against the Axis Powers and I would prefer the AB43 to be modelled based on an Italian subject rather than a German one for purely aesthetic reasons. I think that the German Wehrmacht already boasted an impressive stable of AFVs of its own design and manufacture that I don’t see the reason to represent my new kit in German camo colors.
I did actually see an Italian model crafted based on the ‘1st Platoon, 1st Company “Lancieri Vittorio Emannuele II” Regiment 135th Armored Cavalry Division “Ariete” II’ and featured here. It doesn’t look terribly difficult to replicate but again, it was used in very limited numbers in reality that it somehow defies belief that Italieri thinks that this variant is very popular in the modelling market seeing that most hobby shops stock this as well. With most of my options up in smoke, I think that I’d go for the Policia di Stato markings and that somewhat lurid rust-red monotone color. Looking into the future though, if I ever wanted to build an armored car for the Wehrmacht, I’d opt for the impressive Puma Sd.Kfz 234/2 ‘Puma’. As my brother collects the German Army in Flames of War, even the color schemes won’t be a problem then.
Anyway, it looks like another fun weekend of modelling again provided of course that office work doesn’t get in the way. Erm, another distraction would be swimming and more MW3 multiplayer gaming but I think that can be sorted out.