Italeri 1/35 Carro Armato M14/41 I Serie Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2017||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Carro Armato M14/41 I Serie||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6543||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build with new figures||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$29.99|
Fiat designed a medium tank for the Italian Army to replace several earlier armored vehicles is service prior to World War II. This vehicle was a 13 ton tank inspired by the British Vickers, was manned by a crew of four, and entered service in 1940. The Italian army tank designation for a medium tank weighing 13 tons and entering service in 1940 was M13/40. As is typical in combat vehicle production, this vehicle was updated with additional armor and a more powerful engine and replaced the M13/40 on the production line. This new vehicle was the M14/41.
Like the M13/40, the M14/41 was deployed to North Africa to face Commonwealth forces. Even though their adversaries were inferior in strength, the Italian tank crews did not have the training nor radios for coordination, and they were defeated by the Commonwealth. One trait quickly discovered by the Italians was that these Fiat tanks would easily catch fire when hit. After the Italians withdrew from North Africa, the Commonwealth forces attempted to recycle these Fiat tanks due to weapons shortages in theater, but they too quickly discovered these tanks' flaws and retired them as quicly as possible. The Italian army continued to operate the remaining M13/40 and M14/41 tanks that remained in Europe until their surrender.
Here is a venerable kit from the Italeri archives - this is the M13/40 kit, first released in the late 1960s, reissued as an early-production M14/41. What is different (aside from the box art and the decals) is an additional tree of figures from Master Box which provides a very nice diorama or vignette straight out of the box.
The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one set of vinyl 'rubber band' track. despite the tooling's age, this kit was considered ahead of its time in terms of detail and thanks to excellent maintenance of the molds, the sprues look crisp and free of any mold flash. Construction is straightforward with detailed chassis and suspension, separate parts for pioneering tools (remember in the days this tooling was made, others were simply molding the pioneering tools directly to the hull), movable turret with elevating main gun, optional tank commander's machine gun mount, and option for the tank commander's hatch to be posed open with a figure included for that hatch. Some modelers may not like the so-called 'rubber band track' but it does the job with appropriate painting and weathering. AMS modelers may want to use aftermarket track links which are available since this kit has been reissued periodically as the M13/40.
The MasterBox figures are quite nice with four Italian infantryman standing as depicted on the box art as well as a replacement tank commander figure also posed as depicted on the box art. Each of the infantry figures is detailed field packs, canteens, bedrolls, and weapons. This nice combination of tank and figures set provide a nice vignette depicting a discussion of who's going first, the infantry or the tank.
This kit should be on store shelves by the time you read this and the price is right!
My sincere thanks to Hobbico for this review sample!