After the first disasters in North Africa, the Italian FIAT planned a new tank called "Carro Celere Sahariano
" (Saharan Fast Tank) or M16/43 or M18/43, that was heavily inspired by the British Cruiser tanks design. Like the M14/41, it was armed with a 47mm gun, but was provided with a Christie suspension system and sloped armor. Only one prototype was made, with a weight of 14 tons and a road speed of about 60 km/h. The project was abandoned after the withdrawal from North Africa and the surrender of Italy... but what if the "Sahariano" would have been produced and used in battle, against the 8th Army?
A colour plate of the Carro Celere Sahariano from the excellent website WW2 Drawings.
Fascinated by this obscure and never made tank, I started investigating if I could add it to my 1/300 Italian army. At first I contemplated a conversion or even to make it by myself, but luckily a member of the 6mm_Miniatures
Yahoogroup kindly offered to produce the model.
Karl Heinz Ranitzsch runs a shop
in Shapeways, that is a website where you can create and sell models with rapid prototyping from a 3D file that you make, or something like that (I think). In just some weeks the Carro Celere Sahariano was ready to ship... oh joy! If you give a look to the Dragonman's Depot
you can see other interesting models in 1/300 scale, and you can ask to the designer to make wargaming models that are not commercially suitable.
I must say that these models from Shapeways are not cheap. I ordered ten of them (enough for one hypothetical battalion with 1 model = one platoon) in a material called "White Detail" and the total cost, including shipping was $ 36,63 ( 29,54 euros). Anyway I really wanted these unique toys and when they arrived, I was not disappointed.
The models in their envelope. Shipping is made by courier, in a very well protected package.
The models out from the envelope. Manufacturing is 100% perfect, details are very fine (maybe too much fine... I will see after painting). Turrets are separated and come attached to a sprue, but snap off just with fingers. You are supposed to add the gun by yourself, using a fine metal or plastic wire.
The material used is rather greasy, so I decided to wash the models in warm water
with some drops of dish detergent.
(to be continued...)