The kit which follows the initial Trumpeter kit, represents a production Ariete as deployed during Operation Antica Babilonia. It comes in a sturdy cardboard bow with a separate compartment for the hull halves. The kit contains 250 parts (as compared with the 229 of the original Ariete kit) molded in light grey plastic, a small sheet of clear plastic for the vision blocks, a small sheet of photoetched parts, a length of metal cable, two vinyl tracks and a small decal sheet plus of course the instruction sheet.
A new sprue with the parts needed to represent an up-armored Ariete is issued. It also comprises a new correct gun with a correct muzzle reference system.
The parts are nicely molded with sharp details and some sink marks that you will need to deal about.
The instructions come in a 12-page booklet with a separate color plate for the painting and marking. The building is split into 21 steps clearly explained thanks to very nice drawings.
The lower hull comes as a tub with all the running gear parts separate which helps representing the tank in a realistic way over an uneven ground.
The upper hull is nicely molded with tiny details like screw heads and the washers of the driver vision blocks. The engine deck is a separate part. The engine fan grille has a very nice mesh rendition that does not require any PE replacement part. The upper hull being from the original kit you will have to cut off some bolt heads, following the instructions, to install the front add-on armor brackets. The rear hull plate is separate with the taillights not so nice.
The side skirts come in two parts for each side with nice details. The add-on armor block is at the front and the standard skirt part at the back. Trumpeter gives the two options: the initial add-on armor package and the later one with extra blocks to attach to the first. Most of the PE parts are used to improve the details of the skirts.
The tracks are vinyl rubber band type with nice details on both sides that look quite good. Unlike new Tamiya rubber tracks, the assembly still requires the heating of retaining pins.
The turret upper half is brand new with the add-on armor brackets molded on. The details are still nice with some weld seams and the roof armor. The lower half is the original one. It has some sink marks to fill before assembly as they will still be visible in the bustle bin.
The various sights and cupolas come separate. The vision blocks glasses are represented by printed clear foil. Both cupolas get a MG ring with a protection armor plate added to the MG support. A large sink hole should be filled at the back of each plate. The side armor blocks look good with the tool brackets molded solid. The tools come separate with retaining latches of good rendition. Some PE parts complete the details. The extended smoke grenade dischargers brackets are issued.
The gun is of the late type with the straight shaped fume extractor. The gun muzzle comes as a separate part with the correct shaped MRS molded on.
The small decal sheet is intended to represent two tanks belonging to the 132nd Armored brigade Ariete as deployed in Iraq. Despite you have two different companies badges, you get only one set of number plates. The white cross of the rear formation light is given for those who dislike painting it but honestly I donít think it is useful.
This kit is highly recommended. Trumpeter has fixed some flaws of the original kit and added nice add-on armor blocks. To satisfy the most demanding modelers, the book by Auriga will be of great help.