Friday, June 11

In-boxed: 1/35th scale Italian Armoured Car 1ZM from Copper State Models

Having already build more than a few armoured cars Andy Moore was of course interested in the most recent Italian armoured car from WWI vintage from Copper State Models. The 1/35th scale Italian Armoured Car 1ZM is indeed an interesting proposition, and before he builds it, Andy has paused to show us what is in the box in his review...

Italian Armoured Car 1ZM
Manufacturer – Copper State Models
Kit Number – 35005
1/35th scale
- Transparent parts for headlights
- Engine and interior included
- Cartograf printed decals
- Instruction in colour
Price: £36 / US$51/ €42 from Hobbylink Japan
Product Link on the Copper State Models website
Since the release of their Lanchester just 4 years ago, Copper State Models have really made a name for themselves as a producer of quality armoured car kits, with an ever expanding range of 1/35 WW1 and early post-war vehicles. One of the latest to join that list is the Italian Lancia 1ZM, a vehicle which, up until now, has never been available as an injection moulded model in 1/35.
The original 1Z armoured car was designed by the Ansaldo company in 1915 using a Lancia 1Z truck chassis, and featured an armoured steel body with a low and wide turret mounted towards the rear of the vehicle which was armed with twin machine guns. A smaller secondary single-gun turret was mounted on top of the main turret, and could rotate independently. This secondary turret gave the 1Z a height of over 9 feet, creating a high centre of gravity which resulted in unstable handling, as well as giving the vehicle a very conspicuous silhouette. Only a small number of vehicles were produced and they entered service with the Italian Army in 1916.
Overall, the 1Z was considered a success, and a second batch of 110 vehicles were ordered in 1917, and were designated 1ZM. This version eliminated the small secondary turret and moved the third machine gun to the rear of the hull.
 Wire cutting rails were fitted to the front of the 1ZM, a modification that had been added to the original 1Z's while in service. The 1ZM continued in service well after the end of WW1 both in Italy and overseas in various Italian colonies, and were still in use at the outbreak of WW2. Some were even used by German forces, where they were designated PanzerspƤhwagen 1ZM.
The Kit
The 1ZM arrives in the familiar CSM packaging, with attractive artwork on the lid, beneath which you'll find a sturdy cardboard box with an integrated lid flap. I'm a big fan of this type of box design, as it provides very good protection to the kit when in transit or when stored in the stash, and also provides a secure place to hold sub assemblies during the build.
On opening the box, you're presented with seven neatly packaged sprues, each individually wrapped in cellophane for protection. Five of these sprues are moulded in a pale blue-grey, while two small sprues are provided in clear for the light lenses. Rounding out the contents are the beautifully printed instruction manual and two decal sheets.
Sprue A
The first sprue holds the main hull components, including the two large side panels. This is a full interior kit, so all the doors and hatches are moulded separately and can be posed open or closed.
Sprue B
This one has the main chassis and engine components. A full engine is supplied, with some very fine detailing in places. If you want to take the detail level further, the instructions provide a full wiring diagram. Alternatively, you can leave most of the engine out parts out and have the bonnet closed up.
Sprue C
Here we've got the turret roof and the front section of the turret with openings for the machine guns. You also get the hull roof panel with turret ring, the cab roof and the rear wheel covers.
Sprue D (x2)
You get two duplicate sprue D's, and these hold the single-piece wheels, the machine guns, and the rear sections of the turret. You'll also find the distinctive wire-cutting rails and the bonnet panels here.
Sprues E & I
The final two sprues are moulded in clear and only hold one part each. These are the two lenses for the headlight and side light.
In Detail
The main hull sides have some very fine detailing on the various brackets and hinges, along with the hallmark of any WW1 era vehicle – lots of rivets.
The interior side of the hull panels also feature moulded detail, although you'll also find some ejector pin marks which were probably a necessity to cleanly remove the parts from the moulds, and they'll need removing if you pose the doors open. Fortunately they're of the raised variety, so should scrape and sand away relatively easily.
The 1ZM's rather rudimentary instrument panel is well represented, and I'm very pleased to see that the dials have been included on the decal sheet, which should finish the panel off nicely.
The armoured radiator cover has been moulded with open louvres, a rather clever piece of mould design as this has been done without the use of slide moulds.
The engine components feature some very fine detailing, and the instructions feature a comprehensive painting guide to help you make the most of it.
The wheels are each moulded as a single part, and feature some subtle tread detail. You'll need to use a little care when cleaning up the sprue gates and the very slight mould line that runs around the circumference of the tyres.
Both Fiat-Revelli and St. Etienne machine guns are included, with the later required for two of the marking options. Both are well detailed, despite the fact that you're really only going to see the barrels where they protrude from the turret and rear hull plate.
Instructions and markings
Copper State Models are well known for their beautifully produced manuals, and this one is no exception. 
The 26 page booklet is printed on heavy parchment-type paper, with a thick card stock cover featuring appropriate Italian text. Inside you'll find a comprehensive history of the vehicle, complete with a section on original camouflage colours and markings, and a bibliography of the reference material used in researching the kit. The build is spread over nine pages with 43 steps, and the final eight pages cover the multiple marking options.
The build steps are shown in partial colour with the new parts added in each step highlighted in blue for clarity. Notes accompanying the illustrations point out any steps that need to be taken during assembly, and show any alternate parts that are used for different marking options. A full painting guide for the interior is also provided.
In total, there are marking schemes for 17 different vehicles, ranging from WW1 Italian Army examples, post-war colonial cars based in Libya, Ethiopia, and China, and Regia Guardia and Carabinieri vehicles. There are also notes on respective paint finishes – freshly painted and glossy, dull and weathered etc. As a bonus, there is also a paint scheme for an Italian operated Lanchester armoured car (including markings on the decal sheet) which can be used with CSM's earlier release.
The two decal sheets are printed by Cartograf, so it's no surprise that the quality is very high, with rich colours for the tricolour turret bands and perfect registration.
This looks to be another first class release from CSM. Both of the previous armoured cars of theirs that I've reviewed proved to be very enjoyable builds and resulted in great looking models, and hopefully this one will provide a similar experience. It's also nice to see a subject from one of the lesser represented nations of WW1. We'll see how well the kit goes together when I start the build, but it's one I'm very much looking forward to getting stuck into.

Andy Moore

This new kit of the Lanchester is available directly from  Copper State Models as well as their distributors worldwide.Thanks to them for sending this kit to Andy to review & build.