Thursday, January 17, 2013

From Curt: 28mm Spanish Civil War Italian L3/35 Tankette (15 points)


Though a member of the Non-Intervention Committee, fascist Italy was in fact a very active participant in the Spanish Civil War, ultimately contributing over 60,000 troops to Franco's cause. In addition to significant numbers of men, aircraft and materiel Italy also sent several armoured units to Spain. One of the most numerous Italian armoured vehicles at the time was the L3/35 'tankette'.

In this photo you can really get a sense of how tiny these vehicles were. A slightly piqued Ford Fiesta could run one off the road...


In truth the L3/35 was a rather unfortunate tank design and it was essentially rendered obsolete before the first models rolled off the assembly line. It was thinly armoured, had only two clip-fed machine guns for armament (these could only fire forward as the tank had no turret) and the engine was anemic, being only 43 horse power (there are garden riding mowers that are more powerful). Nonetheless, to the doom of many Italian tanker, around 2500 L3s were ultimately manufactured and put into the field.



Even when they were captured the Republicans held the L3s in such low regard that they were often relegated to towing artillery pieces. The photo below shows Republicans milling around a L3 that has had its machine guns removed and is probably being used as a common schlepper.


Nonetheless, I really like the look of this little guy and I thought it would be a great addition to the collection. Even though they were fairly weak, the presence of any armour on the scene will cause a bit of consternation for the Republicans - unless they have a T-26, then this poor bugger better find someplace to lay low!

I had a bit of fun playing with pigments around the exhaust.

This is a 28mm metal model from Empress Miniatures. I added some stowage to give it more of a lived-in look  (two boxes of pasta and a barrel of olive oil!). I haven't done-up a tank in years so you'll have to forgive me if this little guy looks a little rough around the edges, but I had a lot of fun working on it (thanks for the tips Greg!).

This L3/35 will give me 15 points.

15 comments:

  1. Looks very nice, hope it does not have to die for the cause to many times. Played with the same tank in ASL a few times, even MG's have been known to take them out!

    Ian

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  2. The L3/35 proved effective in the invasion of Ethiopia because the Ethiopians didn't have much in the way of artillery mobile enough to hit a fast-moving target. They also had little or no anti-tank weaponry, let alone any armor themselves. There are reports that some desperate warriors charged up and stuck swords and bit of railroad track into the treads to disable them!

    If I may link to one of my own articles, you can see another image of the L3/35 in this post about military history museums in Rome.
    http://www.gadling.com/2010/09/16/military-museums-in-rome/

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    1. Thanks for your comment Sean! That is a good pic of you (via your link) next to a L3/35.

      Your comment regarding the L3's use in Ethiopia is telling: I wonder if its success fighting ill-armed tribesmen created a placebo effect, reinforcing a perceived sense of power of the tankette's abilities.

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  3. Great lil tankette Curt.
    Love the weathering you have done.

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  4. Great job Curt, love piece of painting Sir.

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  5. Not heard of this machine before, but your sure made a great job painting it!

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  6. Very nice painting work, Curt. Like the Panzer I, this "iron monster" at least has two MG´s...

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    1. Thanks Juan. Unfortunately for the L3 its machine guns were clip-fed from relatively small magazines and so could not create effective sustained fire. It is why it was often later modified by replacing the guns.

      The flame-throwing version is another story as I'm sure it was a little terror...

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  7. Very well done Curt on a cool little piece! Really like your SCW!!

    Christopher

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  8. Curt

    It's a cute if almost useless piece of mobile terrain. I enjoyed fielding it last game. The shot of the tankette next to to bike and side car really shows how weenie it was.

    Cheers
    PD

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  9. great paint work and a great post I love your entries as each one comes with its own history lesson
    Peace James

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  10. What a cute little tank - gotta love these oddities. Really nice weathering.

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  11. Thats a cutie... surely you must be able to close assault it with a tin opener!

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  12. Curt, absolutely fantastic little model. Lovely weathering. Who said romance in modern warfare is dead?

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