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IBG 3Ro with 100mm howitzer

Review of the 1/35 scale truck kit with a metal barrel for howitzer
The Italian army often mounted outdated guns on Italian and captured trucks for increased mobility in the vast North African desert. This kit, one of three Italian truck kits recently released by IBG, is a good example, with a Skoda 100/17 howitzer in the modified bed of a Lancia 3Ro NM. (The Polish manufacturer has also released troop and cargo versions of the 3Ro.) To make room for the gun, the sides of the bed and the cab’s roof and windshield were cut down, and ammo lockers were added.

Most of the parts are molded in light gray plastic with two light lenses molded in clear. The styrene is on the brittle side and I damaged several parts handling the trees or removing small delicate parts from the large sprue gates. A fret of 33 photo-etched metal (PE) parts and a metal barrel for the main gun are also included. The PE is soft and easily damaged — I put my thumb through the front grill handling the part. 

The instructions feature CAD exploded views and a view of each finished step; the latter is helpful to double-checking vague part placement directions. Angles are shown for bending PE parts and a finished view is given if it is especially complicated.

The plastic tires come in two parts — tread and sidewall on one, the other sidewall and the rim on the other. Careful gluing will hide the seam on the sidewall.

A full engine is included, but I encountered fit issues with the major parts of the engine block. Make sure that Part D12, one of the frame cross members is straight on the rear of the engine, or the engine will mount crooked.

The chassis frame comprises separate parts but good fits ensured everything was square. Note: In Step 15, cross member B26 should be D35. The front wheels are not posable. I replaced the thin PE brake lines with .025-inch brass rod because the PE parts were too soft, hard to clean up, and easily damaged during handling.

Placement of the cab components is vague, so I diverged from the instructions and glued the cab front to the floor, followed by the doors and cab sides. Finally, the rear of the cab was glued in place. This made sure everything was in its proper place.

There is not a lot holding the radiator grille, so I glued a styrene strip inside of the hood to secure it.

I removed the side turn indicators from the cab and left off the grab handles since they were not present in pictures of the truck I was modeling. However, I did add the spotlights (B12 and B13) since I liked the way they looked. They are molded solid, so I drilled them out and filled them Kristal Klear for the lenses.

Included on the parts trees but not mentioned in the instructions is a toolbox with an obvious mount for it on the frame. However, don’t use it since it interferes with the fuel rack when the bed is added. Instead, fill the locating holes. One thing missing from the kit is the hanger for the end of the tailpipe. It is not shown in the directions and no part was leftover, but there is a spot on the frame where it should be mounted.

The howitzer uses parts from one of IBG’s early kits with a new sprue included to mount it in the back of the truck. The parts are not as sharply molded as the truck parts and the directions are vague about the placement of many of the parts. Start by attaching the parts whose placement is obvious, then use the process of elimination to glue others in place. The optional turned-metal barrel features rifling.

I painted the truck with Vallejo acrylics over Tamiya pre-shading. The thin decal went on easily and the carrier film completely disappeared under a coat of clear flat.

This wasn’t an easy build due especially to the fineness of the PE and vague placement instructions, and I spent nearly 41 hours on it. But it has great detail and looks great when done. The book Italian Truck-Mounted Artillery In Action (Squadron/Signal, ISBN 978-0-89747-601-0) has several pictures of these trucks in North Africa that show modifications that would be easy to do and make each model unique.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2019 issue.
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