Book Review
Armor Photogallery # 8 - Italian Armored Cars - Autoblindo AB41 201 (i) & AB43 203 (i)

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

A little historical perspective...

In 1938, the Italian Fiat Ansaldo company demonstrated their project for a new armored reconnaissance and police vehicle. A year or so later, after evaluation and modification, it was accepted under the designation ABM1. After more trials and further modifications, the ehicle was given the green-light for production in late 1940 (hence the designation AB40). The initial armament consisted of three 8mm Breda MGs, by the time production began of the AB41, a larger turret had been devoloped, mounting a 20mm autocannon with a co-axial 8mm MG. By 1943, around 620 vehicles had been built. Following the Italian surrender of 1943, the German army confiscated around 100 AB41s which were then put into German service under the designation Panzerspähwagen AB41 201. The final 'incarnation' of the AB was the AB43, which had a number of German-instigated improvements such as larger stowage brackets, more potent engine and a new silencer. Most notable however, was the lower-profile (and larger) turret. Around 100 AB43s were built in 1944/45. The designation of the AB43 (German service) was Pz. Sb.Wg AB43 203 (i)....

The book....

This is the second Armor PhotoGallery book that I have reviewed, the other, on the Sherman III, has a very similar (and hopefully) established format.

Armor Photogallery # 8 - Italian Armored Cars - Autoblindo AB41 201 (i) & AB43 203 (i) is written by Danielo Guglielmi. The book is soft-cover, A4 format and consists of 64 pages. The book includes 136 color photos, 3 pages of 1/72nd and 1/35h scale line drawings along with numerous black and white photographs,

The book begins with a highly informative foreword on the development of the vehicle along with some historical background. The text is informative and coherent and punctuated by some contemporary images of the subject and its forerunners.

For those unfamiliar with the format of the Armor PhotoGallery books, some explanation is necessary to explain the layout of the books. Each chapter concentrates on a particular (preserved) vehicle, the subjects are:

1) Autoblinda AB41Reggimento Savoia Cavalleria in Grosseto

2) Autoblinda AB41 Private collection in Clères

3) Autblinda AB43 Private collection in San Marino

4) Autoblinda AB43 Reggimento Lancieri di Firenze in Grosseto

The next section consists of scale drawings one page in 1/72nd scale and two pages in 1/35th scale. Thre then follows fourpages of contemporary photos.

The final section of the book are the appendices. Firstly there are five pages of line-drawings which come from the original technical manuals. Secondly, and this is of great interest, this section consists of seven pages of the evaluation reports done by the British in 1943. Some of the technical drawings done at the time are also included.

Up until now, I have made little mention of the main content of the book - the photographs. No less than 130 full-color photos of excellent quality are included in the book. The reason for using the four preserved examples becomes obvious after a little thought. Using a number of actual examples, a complete picture of the actual vehice can be created. With the format used by the author, this is a vehicle walk-round on steroids. Both interior and exterior of the vehicles is covered in painstaking detail. There is literally no part of the vehicle left undocumented.


The Autoblinda is an extraordinarily interesting subject for the modeller. Although not running to as many variants as other vehicles, it nevertheless presents some challenging ideas for the modeller. Some of the variants which spring to mind are the Ferroviarie AB4 - which was equipped for use on railways and used against partisans in Yugoslavia or the (prototype) command vehicle or AA variant...

A highly useful and professional book which for the builders of the AB41 or Ab43 will be invaluable, if only to add the internal and engine detail which the new kit by Italeri is lacking. For those who wish to super-detail the basic kit it will also be well-used.

VERY Highly Recommended

Further details...

Armor Photogallery # 8 - Italian Armored Cars - Autoblindo AB41 201 (i) & AB43 203 (i) is written by Danielo Guglielmi. The book is published by Model Centrum Progres, Warsaw, Poland Their website, listing this and the other books in the series, can be seen HERE
This is the first of two connected reviews. The second will concentrate on Italeri's new Autoblinda AB41 in 1/35th scale. This review will look at the recent publication from Model Centrum Progres, in their superb Armor PhotoGallery series. For anyone contemplating building this (long-awaited) kit, it is an excellent and useful publication from a company which certainly needs more exposure...
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 8392025407
  Suggested Retail: Variable..
  PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2005

About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


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