by: Matthew Quiroz [ ]
introductionThe L3/35 was developed from imported British Carden –Lloyd Marks VI’s (designated CV29 in Italian service, CV stood for Carro Veloce, or “fast tank”). It was built as the CV-33 in1933 then refitted as the CV-35 in 1935 and finally renamed the L3/35 in 1938. The L3/35 was a lightly armored two man vehicle typically armed with two tandem machine guns.
There were only slight differences between the L3/33 and the L3/35. About 2500 of the L3 vehicles were built in different models and variants. They were sold to Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Bulgaria, China, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, and Nationalist Spain. The Chinese nationalist government imported a total of 94 CV35’s for the 200th Armored Division in their fight against the Japanese invasion during WWII. One of these tankettes is currently on display at the Beijing Military Museum.
The kitThis is Bronco Models second version of this Italian tankette, making for an interesting addition to your armor collection. Parts are molded in desert sand styrene on five sprues with one small clear sprue containing the headlight lenses. A small fret of photo-etch and decals round out the kit. For such a small kit, it features oodles of detail and extras, with pretty much a full interior included. Construction is carried out over nineteen steps and is well thought out and easy to follow. Generic paint call outs are used throughout, i.e. flat black, flat white, wood brown etc.
Construction starts with the hull interior, with the driver's station and gunner’s seats being installed on the floor, along with what appears to be the fuel tank serving as the rear of the driver's seat. Glad I didn’t drive one of these. What follows is the well rendered transmission with finely molded detail that includes the shifting links and drive shafts. Other than some random electrical lines, I can’t think of anything else that one could add. It is very well done and with the amount of detail molded in will look exceptional with some paint and weathering applied to it.
The engine is next, and again the detailing is well done from the individual spark plugs to the super-conductor looking radiator that comes with the plumbing to and from the engine. The engine mounts to the floor at the rear of the vehicle and is separated by a firewall. Again, the only thing missing are maybe some fuel and/or oil lines, and some wires for the plugs.
Steps eight thru twelve focus on the complex suspension which consists of the road wheels, return rollers, and drive sprockets which are fitted to the lower hull, along with some of the pioneer tools and the engine mufflers. The track is molded in link and length sections reminiscent of the way Revell Germany does their 1/72 scale kits. The upper hull has separately molded crew and engine access hatches that feature the locking handles in PE giving the builder some options for adding crew figures or use in a diorama etc. The small but well detailed machine guns provide a choice of either short or long barreled versions and also feature the receivers. Final assembly is dropping the small upper hull over the lower hull in step nineteen.
Markings are provided for four CV3/35 vehicles:
• 1149 Company, 7th Tank Bn/200 Armored Div, Chinese Army, Xiangtan, Hunan, China, 1938 (Overall red brown in color)
• 1st Cav Div (Hungarian), Eastern Front, Croatia, 1943 (Camouflaged in Earth/Green/Dark Brown)
• 7th Prinz Eugen Div, Waffen SS, Bosnia, 1944 (Camouflaged in Brown/Medium Green/ Sand)
• Italian 'Ariete' Div, North Africa, 1941 (Overall Sand color)
For its diminutive size this is a very impressive kit considering all of the detail that fits inside that tiny hull. If you're stricken with AMS, you won't yearn for detail in this kit.