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CV L3/33 Kit

Bronco Models 1/35 Italian CV L3/33 Series II Tankette Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2008 Manufacturer Bronco Models
Subject Italian CV L3/33 Series II Tankette Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35006 Primary Media Styrene/PE
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $69.98

First Look

CV L3/33
CV L3/33
CV L3/33
CV L3/33
CV L3/33
CV L3/33
CV L3/33

The Italian CV L3/33 and L3/35 series were developed from the four Carden Loyd Mark VI tankettes imported from England at the end of the 1920s. These indigenous tankettes were designed and built by Fiat and the Ansaldo Company with over 2000 examples built. These vehicles didn't vary much in appearance, each varying in armor thickness and later marks were bolted together rather than riveted.

The vehicle was armed with a pair of 8mm machine guns and powered by a water-cooled Fiat 43 horsepower engine. These two-man tankettes had a maximum speed of 26 mph/42 kph and a range of 78 miles/125 km.

These tankettes were used by Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Hungary, Nationalist Spain, and more. In peacetime operations, these tankettes were useful for developing armored tactics and made for mobile armored machine gun nests, but in combat, the tankettes were not very effective. In the Italian forces, these tankettes were sent into every theater of operations, but due to their poor showing, they were usually abandoned where they broke down and were phased out of Italian service by 1940.

Bronco Models has tooled up this interesting Italian tankette for an interesting addition to your armor line-up. Molded in desert sand styrene, the kit is presented on five parts trees and one small clear sprue containing the headlight lenses. A small fret of photo-etch rounds out the kit.

If this kit had been produced elsewhere, chances are that you'd have been given the simple 2-3 sprue hull and suspension kit with reasonable exterior detail. This is one of Bronco's AMS kits, which means that the interior of this tank is quite nicely rendered.

Construction begins with the hull interior and the driver's station and gunner seating are installed on the floor, with what appears to be the fuel tank serving as the rear of the driver's seat. No smoking please.

Next comes the transmission and Bronco did a nice job detailing up this gem. The kit captures the shift linkages, the axles, and drive shaft from the rear-mounted engine.

The Fiat engine is next and once again, the detailing is nicely done from the individual spark plugs to the really interesting radiator that comes with the plumbing to/from the engine. The engine mounts to the floor at the rear of the tankette and is partitioned off by a firewall.

With the interior details installed on the floor, the armored sides, front and rear of the lower hull come together and complete basic lower hull. The unique suspension system, rollers, return rollers, and drive sprockets are fitted to the exterior of the lower hull along with some of the pioneering tools.

The track is an interesting variation. Remember the ESCI armor kits with the track molded into sections - longer sections for the flat runs and short sections to wrap around sprockets and return rollers? This is the approach used by Bronco for this kit's track and as small as this track really is, it would have been difficult to render either as 'rubber band' track or individual track links.

As you would expect, the upper hull has separately molded and positionable crew and engine access hatches. Given the number of these abandoned in North Africa, it would make for an interesting vignette to have one of these parked off the side of a road with all of the hatches open and an 8th Army scout peering inside.

Markings are provided for two CV L3/33 examples:

  • 1 Plotone, 1a Compagnia, North Africa, 1940
  • 1 Carro, 3 Plotone, 1 Compagnia, North Africa, 1940

This is a very impressive kit considering all of the detail that fits inside that little hull. If you're an AMS modeler, you won't lack for detail in this offering and about all you'll need is a figure or two to bring this interesting little kit to life.

This kit is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!