by Phil Novak
The CV33 was an Italian Light Tank that was developed by the Italians in the early 1930s. Weighing it at just under 3 tons, it draws it design influence from the British Carden Lloyd Tankette of the 1920s. It was classified as a Light Tank by the Italian Army, but in reality, its diminutive stature and light armament really classify it as a Tankette.
It was used in every theatre that the Italians fought from 1933-1943, including North Africa, France, Russia and Ethiopia. It’s combat record is less than stellar, and the units operating them often suffered high casualties. The vehicles’ light armor and lack of a turret left it vulnerable from the rear and sides, and even machine guns could penetrate the armor in some places. The Ethiopians developed a tactic to immobilize the tank, then approach the vehicle to the side or rear, and set it ablaze. There are even some reports of them flipping them over!
Despite the tank being obsolete even when it was introduced, it was used extensively by the Italian Army, and produced in a few of variants. The standard CV33 (renamed the L3/33 in 1938) was armed with two Breda machine guns and a two man crew. There was also a Radio/Command version that carried wireless commo equipment in addition to its 2 machine guns.
Finally there was a Flamethrower Variant, with a Flame Projector replacing one of the Breda Machine Guns. Early versions of the Flame variant used an armored trailer to carry fuel oil for the Flamethrower, while the later versions were modified to draw the oil from a drum above the engine deck.
The Model Victoria kit depicts the earlier version with the fuel trailer. It comes beautifully cast in light grey resin. It contains a little over 100 resin pieces, a photo etch fret, some string for piping and a tow cable, and a decal sheet. Also included is a very nice mechanic figure. The kit contains a full interior, transmission and engine, which are jaw dropping castings.
Assembly starts with the interior, and is fairly straightforward. I had no issues with part fit or casting bubbles, and the plugs are easy to remove. The castings are very clean, and the detail is incredible. I left most of the interior assemblies loose initially to facilitate painting. I found that leaving the transmission, Flamethrower and mount, fueltank, and ammo stowage boxes separate made painting pretty easy and everything was accessible.
I started out by priming with Vallejo grey primer, and then adding some black primer to the crevices. I then followed up with some thin coats of Vallejo Air White, with some satin varnish mixed in.
Once this was dry, I laid in a wash with some of the AK Interactive “Interior Wash” over the whole surface, and picked out the details with a dark brown pin wash. I painted the transmission with Vallejo Aluminum and used various washes with black and brown colors to make the detail stand out.
The suspension was a bit fiddly to assemble, and there is really no way to do it that doesn’t present a painting challenge. The track is made up of four pieces, two the go around the idler and drive sprocket and the other two form the runs on the top and bottom.
The fit was fine, but it often felt like I needed three hands to get everything aligned properly. Once all was installed, there were a few issues with the track towing in/out, and I used some hot water to soften the parts and get everything in perfect alignment.
I chose to depict this vehicle as a participant in the Italian Campaign in Libya, 1941. The few pictures of CV33s in this period show quite a bit of wear on the paint job, so I wanted to do some heavier chipping on this one. I decided that the “hairspray” method would be the best way to get the finish I was after.
The basic idea with this is to spray the base color, then some hairspray or “chipping fluid”, then the top color. After the top color is down, then go back with a brush moistened with water to remove some of the top color. I used Vallejo AIR on this – I don’t recommend Vallejo to do this though.
When chipping off the top layer, the Vallejo started to lift off like a thin layer of latex would lift off of something. It wasn’t the fine chips and scratches the technique usually produces. Tamiya, being a type of lacquer, seems to be much better paint for this technique. Vallejo can be made to work, but to me it is more difficult and does not produce the best results.
On the trailer, I used a different approach- the sponge method. To do this, take some fine sponge (the packing for Pegaso figures works well), rip a piece off and put some paint on it. Dab a few times on your palette to get most of the paint of and the sponge, and apply to the high wear areas of your model.
It produces a different effect than hairspray or brush chipping, but looks very good. The main goal behind doing chipping is to know what you want the chipping to look like (different paint in different environments chips differently on real vehicles) and apply accordingly. Use your reference to determine what you are after. There may be cases (such as this one) where you use multiple techniques on the same vehicle.
The model was finished off with various techniques with Oil Paint and pigments, which I will cover in another article. The figure was included with the CV 33, and was painted with 502 Abteilung Oils, and Vallejo acrylics.
Photos by Phil Novak