This model represents the M14/41, a medium tank used by the Italian Royal Army during the Second World War. Since it fought mainly in North Africa, I chose to give it a desert camouflage. In this post I will show the phases of assembling and painting.
I found this old kit, dating back to 1975, in a modeling fair. It was produced by Italaerei (now called Italeri).
Though the box bears the wrong title "M13/40", it's actually a reproduction of its successor, the M14/41. This is due to the close resemblance between the two tanks, but some details, namely:
- vehicle-long mudguards,
- the square bulge on the turret roof, thas gives more space for the gun handling,
- blades for removing the mud behind each drive sprocket
- grids of the engine vents oriented across the width of the vehicle
tell which tank it is actually. See this link (in Italian) for further details.
The content of the box is shown below:
There are three tan plastic sprues, a set of vinyl tracks, the decal sheet and the instruction manual. The latter has 8 black and white pages, containing the assembling instructions in four languages, camouflage and decals schemes and a photo of a detail of the running gear. There is also a miniature figure, but I chose to not use it.
The assembling of the hull and of the turret has been quite simple. The only spot I had to fill was a small shrinkage of the plastic on the upper hull, just above the machine guns.
You need instead to pay attention when mounting the running gear: for a correct alignment of the bogey wheels, it's better to make a "dry" assembly of the tracks before. To close the latters, moreover, the manual suggests to weld the plastic pins with a hot iron piece; this might not be enough, so I recommend to use a staple or some cyanoacrylate too.
For the sake of simplicity, I glued the running gear, the tracks, the tools and the silencer only after the painting phase.
After the primer I gave a layer of black pre-shading, in order to give more depth to the subsequent paint layers.
Then I airbrushed several layers of a mix of Vallejo Model Color 70.914 Green Ochre and 70.976 Buff, increasing the ratio of the Buff to brighten the center of the panels, and trying to not cover too much the underlying pre-shading.
Before starting with the weathering phase, I applied the decals. It's important to add them first, so that they will harmonize with the rest of the effects, and protect them with a layer of clear paint.
Then come the filters, that is a very thin layer of paint. I use them to vary the texture of the underlying color and to uniform the hues by dimming the contrasts. In this case I used a yellow ochre oil color, diluted at 90% with white spirit.
You can use washes to highlight the details: when applied on a gloss or satin base, they flow for capillarity inside corners and recesses, and they gather around protruding parts such as bolts and rivets. Once dried, their dark color enhances the contrast with the surrounding light areas.
I used a product by Ammo MiG, Afrika Korps Wash. It's an enamel-based paint, with the proper hue to match sand-yellow vehicles. Though it's ready to use as-is, I suggest to dilute it a little more with white spirit or another suitable product.
Finally, in order to give the vehicle a more realistic and "worn" look, I painted some scratches in the spots more prone to wear. I used a mix of dark grey and dark yellow paints, to achieve a steel-grey tint. Such scratches are very few anyway, since in the reality such tanks had a life too short to get many of them...