Here are my L6s driving across the dining table, hoping T34s don't see them. The Italians also realised they were fairly useless, and set about converting some of them into SP 47mm anti-tank guns. And Lo, the Semovente 47/32 was born....
The real thing, a very diminutive SP gun.
The Semovente 47/32 actually worked quite well and the Celere division in Russia had a full company to support its L6s. The Germans also nabbed as many as possible in 1943 and a good few hundred were made.
My old internet buddy Tim M from the old days of usenet and rec.games.miniatures.historical once made some Marders by building a superstructure to go on his Pz 38s as an alternative to the turret, and I wondered if the same might be possible with the L6s.
With the turrets removed, it looks remarkably feasible to build something to fit over the top of the hull...
I spent several seconds looking at Semovente plans on the internet, and decided to start off with a template former to hang all the sides etc off.
I put the rear and front plates on to hold it all in place. These are pretty teeny-tiny pieces and the gun casemate has a slightly annoying construction.
Side plates. I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to allow for the thickness of the plasticard when cutting these so I had to do them over. So far I've used 20 thou cards for everything.
The little filler piece between the casemate and the drivers plate I cut very carefully from 10 thou card. When it was all dry I trimmed the top surfaces to make sure it was all flush. The real thing also tapers towards the rear so I trimmed it down a bit at the back.
I made up the guns from 1mm steel rod (the same diameter as the 47mm guns on my M13/40s) and added the drivers vision slit cover and what appears to be a small light (or possibly an aerial bracket). The Gun mantlet is actually recessed with a raised lip but a simple square of card looks OK.
There isn't a lot of space inside and I didn't fancy doing any detailing, so I filled the back part with figures instead. These are various chopped up PSC tank crewmen with their hats trimmed into vaguely Italian shapes.
A spot of undercoat blends it all together.
I then painted the new removable superstructures in the same sand/red brown scheme as the L6 hulls with an ink wash. I did the crew in mid-grey so they can pass for Italians in temperate uniforms, or Germans if needs be.
I don't think they look too bad at all, if a little oversized.
And if they suddenly need revolving turrets again, I can just swap the tops. Hey presto!
I was pretty pleased with how they came out. The only downside was when I was assembling them, some of the glue ran through the plastic and lifted the top coat of the existing paint so I had to re-touch the damaged bits. It wasn't a huge issue but something to bear in mind. Next time I'll make any converted tops before paint the whole thing.
I thought about doing the same thing for my M13s to turn them into Semovente, but there is a bit too much metalwork to carve off the hulls before I could make the new tops fit. Maybe one day.