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  1. I bought two Italeri C202s and they are such miserably awful kits I almost lost the will to build the second one. This "What If" is the only thing that will get it out of the stash. The starting premise is that the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) continued in its military/governmental role until the present day. The pilots are officers (Knights) of the order and continue to be "Catholic noblemen with at least 16 Quarters of Nobility" - the Order came up with a clever fix to allow its many Americans to join. The Order bought its aircraft from a variety of sources, mainly French, British and Italian at the time. The Order bought 24, deploying them in a single squadron. The pilots of the Order liked the Macchi's speed and agility but were less impressed with the parlous firepower. The Order's maintenance staff were less happy, feeling that the aircraft was greedy of their time and effort - "Like a sports car: a true rich man's toy" as one engineering officer put it. Aircraft of the Order are marked with the red/white SMOM roundel in six positions, and the coat of arms on the tail. Serial numbers in black or white are carried on the lower rear fuselage, with codes in white or light grey on fuselage. The codes are a number/letter format. The number indicates the squadron, the letter the individual aircraft. Spinner colours vary (red, blue, white, yellow) to indicate which flight the aircraft belongs to. No other ID or tactical marks carried – red roundels are sufficient. Colours in this case will be RAF Mid-stone speckling over RAF Light Sand base, with the underside Azure Blue. Given that the pilots are high-ranking nobles, small personal marks, e.g. family coats of arms, are common. Airframe is a standard type, with wing guns fitted. These are French 7.5mm rather than Italian Bredas, but the fitting is the same. The aircraft has an armoured windscreen and cockpit vent. The Italian type radio aerial is replaced with ones like those on the Dewoitine D520, (fixed one above and behind the cockpit, folding ditto below) as the radios were used by the Order at that time were French, as were gunsights.
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