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Camionetta AS 42 Sahariana with Breda 20mm gun - a case report

      I will introduce to you guys a building of 2007 that I really liked. An Italian girl: Camionetta AS-42 Sahariana, from Italeri, in 1/35 scale.

AS42 from Battaglione "Barbarigo"  -  Rome.
       But a little historical introduction is always very helpful:

       During World War II, many vehicles have been adapted for use in special situations, but those were rare specially produced for specific purposes. One of these exceptions is undoubtedly the Camionetta Sahariana AS-42 (Africa Settentrionale  or North African - 1942).
AS-42 Sahariana
      The SPA-Viberti AS.42 Sahariana was an Italian reconnaissance car of World War II. The AS 42 Sahariana was developed by SPA-Viberti using the same chassis as the Autoblinda AB 41 armored car, including its four-wheel steering, specifically for desert operations, primarily in a reconnaissance role. This set was highly efficient and sophisticated for the time, with the four wheels steering, individual suspensions and 4x4 drive with locking center differential.
Sahariana AS-42 - Transmission and axle shafts
       The only modification of the chassis in relation to Autoblinda was the elimination of the rear cockpit. On this mechanical set was mounted a low, wide cabin, non-armored, with front cockpit and engine in back.
Sahariana AS-42 - Engine and fuel lines
Autoblinda AB-41 armoured car
      Its origins trace back to requests stemming from units operating on the North African Front for a long range, highly maneuverable vehicle, similar to those widely used by the highly successful British reconnaissance forces, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG).
LRDG truck -1942 Canadian Chevy, right-hand drive, India format.
      One of its major features was the large amount of jerry cans of 20 liters externally loaded with fuel and water. Another peculiarity was the spare tire installed on a frontal position "buried" in front of the vehicle and the central position of the driver. Besides the pilot, the Sahariana could carry up to six men, but his crew was more common three to four crew.

      Like the LRDG Chevys, the Sahariana also carried sand stuck rails, in light-metal, in the rear side of the vehicle.
Notice the sand rails in the rear-side of the vehicle...
      The Saharianas had its baptism of fire with "Raggruppamento Sahariano Africa Settentrionale" in November, 42, with a total of 07 AS-42 (vehicles number 790B to 794B, 797B and 798B) and other support vehicles. Its primary mission was to combat the British  LRDG and SAS (Special Air Service) and make the long distance armed reconnaissance in the desert. For this, these cars were armed with a combination of various weapons such as:
- Breda machine-gun - 8mm mod. 37, with 24 magazines (MG)
- Rifle AT Solothurn 20mm S18/1000 semi-automatic, with 10 magazines (ATR)
- Breda gun - 20mm mod. 35 Dual Purpose (AA/AT), with 12 magazines (AA)- AT gun CAN -    47mm mod. 37, with 10 rounds (CAN)

Breda MG 8mm model 37
Rifle AT Solothurn 20mm
Breda gun 20mm
CAN AT gun 47mm
      There are also photographic evidence of the use of armaments captured of the British, as this photo of a Sahariana AS-42 with 20mm Breda gun, proudly displaying one Vickers K, English, in its front portion.
Notice the British Vickers K MG in the driver's cockpit.
       The Raggruppamento AS Sahariano was active in front of Novembe, 29, 1942 until April 8, 1943. It was equipped with 10 vehicles: 9 combat vehicle and 1 truck support The combat vehicles were:



Sahariana plate: 

790 B 
1 x 20mm AA & 1 x 8mm MG. 
791 B 
1 x 47mm CAN & 1 x 8mm MG. 
792 B
1 x 20mm AA & 1 x 8mm MG. 
793 B 
1 x 20mm ATR & 2 x 8mm MG. 
794 B
2 x 8mm MG.
797 B 
1 x 20mm AA & 2 x 8mm MG.
798 B 
1 x 20mm ATR & 1 x 8mm MG.

SPA TL37  Camionetta AS  

1 x 47mm CAN.
1 x 20mm AA.

      The success of Sahariana was continued for version AS-43, also known as Sahariana II or Metropolitana. It entered service late in the African Campaign, and later was used in Italy and the European Continent.
Sahariana II or Metropolitana
      The most obvious changes compared to the original model was the absence of the upper lateral rows of jerry-cans, replaced by a large baggage compartment and replacement the tires by other, more reinforced.
      With the excellent results achieved by the first group against the British, four new units were created, called Compagnie Arditi Camionettisti (Car Incursion Company), with about 100 soldiers each. These units were equipped and based as follows:

UnidadeVeiculosBase de Operações
103ª Co.Ard.Camion.24 x AS 42Based in North Africa, acting in Sfax and Central Tunisia.
112ª Co.Ard.Camion.24 x AS 43
(Sahariana II)
Based in Sicíly, but don't fought against the Allied Invasion
113ª Co.Ard.Camion.24 x AS 42Based in Sicily, but fought against the Allied Invasion
123ª Co.Ard.Camion.24 x AS 42
and AS 43
Based in Rome and apparently don't went into action. (Though some elements fought the Germans after the Armistice).
      Each of these Company consists of a small HQ and more 3 Saharianas platoons, each platoon was 8 Sahariana each. These units were employed in deep recognition and hunting the LRDG and SAS. Elements of the 103rd apparently were in Kasserine Campaign. After the Armistice of September 18, 43, the Groups apparently were dissolved, although the 123rd Company has participated in the cleanup of the Germans in Rome. The RSI (Italian Socialist Republic) later used the few remaining AS-42 and AS-43.
Sahariana II AS-43 camouflaged in Roma - 1943
      After the war, other 7 Sahariana (apparently the survivors of all production) were used to equip the 20th Mobile Police Detachment, usually painted in red oxide, which were used until 1954. Unfortunately, none Sahariana survived until the present day.

SPA-Viberti AS.42 Camionetta Sahariana

TypeReconnaisance vehicle
Place of origin Italy
Service history
In service1942-1954
Used byRoyal Italian Army
WarsWorld War II
Production history
Number builtunknown
Weight5,140 kg 
Length5.620 m
Width2.260 m 
Height1.800 m 

see text
Engine4,995 cc 6-cylinder diesel
Payload capacity6,000 kg 
Transmission6 forward 1 reverse
300 km diesel, with spare cans 800 km
The kit:
       The kit comes packaged in a thin cardboard box. The cover picture is very beautiful, representing the version of the kit:
      Inside the box, the trees of injected parts in styrene-brown desert, are packed in individual sealed plastic bags, with acetate boxes for more delicate styrene pieces. Some engine parts, in styrene, are extremely thin and the tree gets stuck in acetate box (arrows), preventing their movement and consequent breakage.
      In another box, the pieces of resin (polyurethane beige, extra-soft) in zip-lock bags with the engine, transmission, radiator and two figures. The injection resin has excellent quality. Not even a bubble thought ... But the package can not prevent the damage from shipping. One of my figures came with the brim of his cap broken, but was easily repaired with glue, because the portion of the broken part was intact in the bag.
      Organic to the kit, a great sheet of photo-etched with good thickness, with the supports of jerry cans, sand rails and other accessories.
      The kit presents also a small sheet of decals (2 vehicles options) and an acetate sheet for the transparency.

      One interesting thing is the presence of a booklet with history and photos of Sahariana, besides the instruction booklet. It's pretty useful, as the bibliography of this model is quite difficult to be searched. And certainly more complete than the (beautiful) color plates of Trumpeter ...
Reference booklet
      The kit comes with 5 vinyl tires, fine molded and injected with a small burr manufacturing (see arrows):
Notice the burrs...
      I started the build by the chassi, with care with alignment:
Building the chassi...

Extra-care with alignment...
The engine: The dark yellow parts are injected:
The pale parts are resin
       The Sahariana is growing...

dry-run of the engine
I opened the cooling fins of the engine
Radiators in resin....
       Metal work: frontal jerry-cans racks:

      The painting was greatly facilitated by the installation of feature subsets. Here al underneath the adaptation test engine, already painted and aged, in the rear portion of Saharan Africa. Notice that the inside of it was already painted and marked with washes in black and brown to simulate soil and dirt. The radiator was painted matte black and has undergone a dry-brush.
The engine bay painted...
Applying the instrument panel decal ...

Close-up :instrument panel decal ...
View on the other side of the engine bay and the aging the cockpit of AS-42. The lack of the gun and banks facilitates weathering and washes.

      While the vehicle's carcass dry, I'll take care of sand rails, folding the photo-etcheds as instructed. I used a "small" tool to assist me in the task:

Bending the photo-etched...
      I scraped the inside of the rails, to simulate wear. The next step is to crumple the edges a bit. My vehicle, as always, is widely used ... In these grooves and depressions, later, will be made heavier aging ...
Notice the scratches in the rails...

The snout in place...Cool !!!

Sub-assemblies ready for paint ...
      And painting the girl:
Notice the engine bay open ...

I opted to leave the engine open ...I made a belt with adhesive tape

         And the Italian girl is ready. The kit is fantastic... I loved to built this beauty... Camionetta AS 42 Sahariana. Regio Esercito - Raggruppamento Sahariano - Tunisia - early 1943.

Camionetta AS 42 Sahariana. Regio Esercito - Raggruppamento Sahariano
Tunisia - early 1943.

Camionetta AS 42 Sahariana. Regio Esercito - Raggruppamento Sahariano 
Tunisia - early 1943.

Grazie per aver seguito !!
A presto !!

5 comentários:

  1. nice model, I didn't know that Italery has resin parts in their kits.

  2. Hey Panzerserra, this is a great post with a lot of interesting information and a great building and painting job! The vehicle itself is really original and exotic and the post is just a real pleasure to read! Nice you're sharing all this with us! Have you also built and painted the figures? What do they look like?
    Btw... I didn't know that Italeri included resin parts in their kits!!!!


  3. Thanks, Gents...

    Bizarre and Thierry: It´s the only kit from italeri with resin parts (that I know of...)

    ...and sorry, Thierry. I don't painted the excelent figures...

    Cheers !!!

  4. I honestly have never seen a better package presentation as that kit comes in! The model itself isn't bad, either!