Autoblinda AB 43
Pz.Sp.Wg.AB 43 203(i)

Italeri Kit No. 6451
1:35th Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

Following on from the Italian Autoblinda AB 41 (kit #6442) released a while back, Italeri have now released this model of the Autoblinda AB 43 which was basically an upgraded AB 41 with more powerful engine, a new lower and wider turret and revised exhaust system and provision for 7 jerry cans on external racks and was still armed with a 20mm main gun and two 8mm machine guns as well as having four wheel drive and steering.

The kit is basically the same as with the AB 41 with new parts for the turret, exhaust and additional jerry cans and contains 157 parts in light tan plastic and six rubber tyres plus the decal and instructions sheets with the small number of parts again belying the detail included in the kit.

The parts are cleanly moulded with just some shallow pin marks in a few places requiring removal but overall there isn’t a lot of cleanup needed and while a few details aren’t as crisp as contemporary kits overall the detail is quite excellent reminding you of Italeri kits of old such as the rivet/bolt head details, wheel rims and other raised details.

The Lower Chassis:
This is made up of the lower pan and separate side beams with well defined suspension spring details and added to this is the four independent suspension units and steering arms with separate brake drums for nicely detailed suspension units with the wheel rims having excellent hub details and separate central hub caps with the SPA logo embossed. Note; I have seen two style of wheel hubs on these wheels, the most common as depicted on the Italeri rims and another with more recessed central hubs as per the wheel image below and I am assuming the style in this kit is the later type as it is also seen on the AB 43?

The rubber tyres are noteworthy due the unique way Italeri have handled the age old problem of the moulding seams on rubber/vinyl tyres.
The mould seam is actually right on the inside tread shoulder and is all but invisible when the wheels are fitted in place while the tyres themselves have good tread pattern uncompromised by the seam although a little shallow when compared to photos but quite good never the less and includes the side wall name embossing for some of the better rubber wheels to be seen in a kit today.

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Upper Body:
The main body has the two side panels with good surface details and includes rivet/bolt head details inside the wheel wells although there are some shallow pin marks to be removed here also and the crew entry doors are separate parts. The doors themselves have inside details with a couple of very shallow pin marks that are easy to remove allowing the doors to be shown open if desired and also have separate door handles.

The two body sides are joined together by cross beams and the front and rear body panels with the lower suspension assembly fitting between the side panels.
The upper body panels are all separate parts with all doors, vision ports and access doors also as additional separate parts for good detail definition as well as allowing these to be shown open but there is no interior in the kit.

The front driver’s panel has separate visor cover and separate flaps over the head lights again allowing these to be shown open or closed while the rear engine deck also has separate doors which has the grill work revised from the AB 41 and there are now small gaps between the grills for a more detailed look. The rear cabin panel also has the ball mounted machine gun separate and open vision visor.

Other items around the body are the towing hooks, front air horns which are hollowed out, the new rear mounted exhaust pipe on the right rear fender which is a distinctive external feature of the AB 43 is in two halves to nicely portray the four pipes feeding into the one open outlet, but there are fairly prominent mould seams to be removed. There are the separate pioneer tools, rear mounted head lights with separate lens sections (in tan plastic) and siren plus and the German jerry cans with moulded on racks and separate handles that are fitted on rack bases on the right side of the hull and the fenders.

The Turret:
The new shaped main turret shell in one part with separate top and rear hatch with rivet/bolt head details although these aren’t on the lower front sections due to moulding constraints and are a little undersized as they are quite prominent on the real thing.
There is also interior details with the panel and hatch framing on the side walls and basic gun breech with co-axial machine gun, the traverse hand wheels and commander’s seat in two parts which fills the turret nicely if the hatches are left open.

The separate front plate and gun mantlet have nice bolt head details and allow the gun to elevate while the lower turret ring includes basic traverse gear which can be seen through the top hatch if left open.

The two part top hatch has basic detail on the inside as well as a few minor pin marks and these can be positioned open or closed as required with the single rear hatch also having basic interior detail and again can be shown open or closed.

The small decal sheet has good colour register and thin carrier film with markings for four vehicles, three in German service and one in postwar Italian Police markings.
Included is a double sided full colour sheet showing four view drawings of the four vehicles to give good details of the quite intricate and attractive camouflage schemes applied to some of the vehicles as well as the decal placement and this sheet is a nice inclusion.

The markings are;

  1. Begleitszug Stab Panzerjäger Abt. 1057, 8 Gebirgsjäger Division, Italy, late March 1945
  2. Stab Panzerjäger Abt. 165, Infantry Division, Italy, late March 1945
  3. 4 Fallschirmjager Division, Florence, Italy, August 1944
  4. Polizia di Stato, Nucleo Celere di Pubblica Sicurezze, Rome, Italy, 1950s
As with the AB 41 this is another excellent little kit with the features captured well although there are a couple of minor issues but will be a nice addition along with the previous kit and is bound to be another hit with Italian armour fans and for those wanting something a little different and the cam schemes will certainly exercise your airbrushing skills.

Highly recommended

The Sprues:

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Note: Tamiya repackage various Italeri kits for sale in Japan under their own label and this kit is listed as Tamiya Kit #89697 but is basically this kit with the inclusion of two Tamiya figures.

Autoblindo AB41 & AB43
PzSpWg AB41 201(i)
& AB 43 203(i)

Armor PhotoGallery #8
ISBN 83-916483-6-2
Captured Armored Cars
and other Vehicles in
Wehrmacht Service

Schiffer Publications
ISBN 0-7643-0180-2
Autoblindo AB41 & AB43
Photo File No 1

By by Alessandro Bruschi
Published by Auriga Publishing International SRL, Genova, Italy
ISBN 88-88711-16-3
A5 landscape approx 100 pages
Book Ground Power Magazine #151 - 12/2006
Published by GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd.
2-2-13 Misaki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Ground Power Website

53 pages cover Italian Armoured Cars of WWII with extensive coverage of the AB41 and 43. This includes many wartime photos including interior supplemented with excellent line drawings of the exterior and interior details including the engine and driver's controls as well as the gun.

The Sahariana 42 is also featured with general wartime photos showing the vehicle stowage to good advantage.
All text in Japanese

Thanks to my credit card and excellent service from Blast Modelsfor the review kit.

Page created October 26, 2006

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