This is my second Italian vehicle I built (the first one being the Ariete), from May to July 2015, as well as the 11th that I completed at all. It represents a self propelled gun used by the Italian Royal Army in the Second World War.
The model is the very good Tamiya no. 35294. Very easy to assemble, it did not need any filling thanks to the very good joins; the seam lines are almost absent, as well as the ejector pin marks.
Opening the box, you can see six sprues for the vehicle parts plus one for the two miniatures (driver and commander), three separate parts for the lower and upper hull and the superstructure, a photo-etched sheet, a decal sheet and a detailed instruction manual.
After the assembling I sprayed a coat of primer and eventually the base color, using Tamiya acrylics; in particular, according to the instructions, I chose a desert sand camo, using two parts of XF-60 (Dark Yellow) and one of XF-59 (Desert Yellow). For the decoloration I added to the previous mix XF-2 Flat White using different ratios.
The details have been painted with the brush using Vallejo Model Color acrylics, whereas I painted the scratches with a fine paintbrush and using the sponge technique, using Humbrol enamels (a mix of Black, Rust and Dark Sea Grey).
After a coat of clear gloss I made an oil wash with Van Dyck Brown (plus one in Mars black on the running gear), then another coat of satin varnish, a slight yellow ochre oil filter and finally a dry brushing with a mix of white and Naples yellow oils.
As a finishing touch, I used Mig pigments (Beach Sand, African Earth and Light Dust) diluted in water and applied with a brush in vertical strokes, in order to give the effect of the desert dust that often covered these vehicles.
An interesting details is this photo-etched crest (the actual diameter is roughly 3 mm, 0.12 in), there are clearly visible the Italian Star the initials R.E. (Regio Esercito, i.e. [Italian] Royal Army) and the regime symbol.
The threads and the guiding teeth of the tracks, as well as the sprockets teeth and the return wheels edges, have been dry brushed with a steel Model Master enamel, in order to simulate the wear of the metal. The rubber parts, instead, are in a mix of black, grey and Prussian blue.
The headlights are painted with silver Humbrol enamel and coated with clear gloss, whereas the iposcopes are a mix of black and Prussian Blue.
The wooden parts are colored in Buff and oil-washed with Van Dyck Brown, whereas the metal ones are black with an oil wash of Burnt Sienna.
The silencers have a base of rust enamel finished with Standard Rust, Light Rust and Ochre Rust Mig pigments.
For the sake of variety I painted two of the jerry cans in grey green (using black, grey and olive green), eventually painting, in a purposely rough manner, a white cross. In fact, it was common to paint white crosses on the water jerry cans, in order to distinguish these from the ones containing fuel.
The decals show a vehicle of the 132nd Armoured Division "Ariete". On the front we can see two opposed ram heads, emblem of the division ("ariete" means "ram" in Italian), separated by an arrow with the inscription "Freccia d'acciaio" (steel arrow). Above the vehicle registration plate there is a motto: "...Dei Tommy il terrore siam!" ("...We are the dread of the Tommies [the British soldiers]!). In the back, there is the vehicle registration plate applied on a photo-etched part. There were also two side decals, still two ram heads with tactical symbols, but I didn't put them because they would have been covered by the jerry cans.
The interiors have been painted in Tamiya white, the leather seats with Humbrol enamel, the shell casings with brass Model Master enamel and the other metal parts (machine gun, howitzer breech, transmission shaft, ...) with a mix of black and gun metal Humbrol enamels. The edges of the latters have been rubbed with a soft pencil to simulate the worn metal, except for the machine gun, which was dry-brushed with steel color. After I painted the scratches, I made an overall wash in Burnt Sienna oil color.