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FIAT G.50 (A01046V) 1:72


Mike
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FIAT G.50 (A01046V)

1:72 Airfix Vintage Classics

 

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The G.50 was Italy’s first all-metal monoplane with retractable undercarriage, and was in-service by 1938, performing well amongst its contemporaries.  It was somewhat short-ranged, and had issues with its initial armament being a little light, originally consisting of two .50cal equivalent machine guns in the wing.  The Hawker Hurricane could out-fly it however, as well as being faster by a good margin, and as time went by the shortcomings became more apparent.  A number of attempts to remedy them were made, including improvements to the engine, more fuel and armament changes, but even the installation of a Daimler Benz 601 didn’t give it enough of a boost.  By this time the G.55 was designed and production was underway, taking full advantage of the DB engine at the start of its journey to obtain an excellent reputation as a good all-round fighter.  Under 800 of the G.50 were made, with a number of two-seat trainers amongst them, and over half as the G.50 Bis, that took the airframe as far as was practical.

 

 

The Kit

This is a re-release from Airfix’s back catalogue, with the original tooling dating back to 1967, when raised panel lines were standard and cockpits were two pegs with a seat resting on them, topped with a pilot figure if you were lucky.  The kit arrives in a small red-themed end-opening box, with a classic Cross painting of the type on the front, and a set of colour profiles on the back.  Inside are two open sprues in grey styrene, plus fuselage halves and wings on their own sprues in the same colour.  A separate bag contains four windscreen parts, all of which are the same, and a small decal sheet is slipped inside the two-page instruction booklet.  Bear in mind that this is a vintage design, so don’t expect miracles of detail from the sprues, and do expect a few ejector-pin marks and small amounts of flash on some of the parts, although most of it is on the sprues.

 

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Construction begins with gluing the pilot onto his simple seat, and then fixing that assembly onto the pegs in the fuselage sides, closing the fuselage around them during the process.  A pair of cannon barrel stubs fit into their fairings on the top of the nose, and you can pick whichever windscreen part you think is best and glue it in front of the pilot.  The cowling is a single part with the cooling flaps moulded-in, and there appear to be a few score-marks on my example, which should respond well to a little filler before you slide in the two banks of pistons that make up the radial engine from behind.  A C-Shaped exhaust is inserted into grooves in the lower edge of the cowling, and you could drill these out if you feel the urge.  Once the glue is dry, the prop and its spinner are inserted into the hole in the centre of the engine, and a washer is glued to the back of the spindle to hold it in place, and if you’re lucky should leave it spinning once the glue is dry.

 

The lower wing is full-width, and has two gear bays near the centre, with small ledges moulded-in to support the in-flight retracted doors and skinny half-wheels that allow them to fit into the bay.  The fuselage drops into the slot between the upper wing halves, the elevators are glued in using the usual slot and tab method, and the cowling is glued into place on the ledge at the front of the fuselage.  Both wingtips have pitot probes near the ends, and a small fairing is slotted into the groove in the underside of the cowling, then it’s a choice of wheels up or down.  For wheels up the bay doors and half-width wheels are placed in the bays with the fixed tail wheel in the rear, while for wheels down, the bay doors are fitted perpendicular to the wing, and joined to the strut toward the bottom, with a full-thickness wheel flex-fitted into place in each one.  The retraction jack joins the inner bay and the upper portion of the gear leg, and that’s your lot.

 

 

Markings

There’s only one decal option on the sheet, and it’s a traditional brown-yellow base with medium green camo over a light grey underside.  From the box you can build the following:

 

  • 352a Squadriglia 20o Gruppo, North Africa, 1941

 

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

Of course, this kit is a product of its time, and you should approach it as such.  It can be built out of the box or detailed to more modern standards, just remember to have fun with it.

 

Recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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This thing really needs to be tossed and new molds made. Come on Airfix! Get yer backside in gear! Make a new one.

 

 

 

Chris

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47 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

This thing really needs to be tossed and new molds made. Come on Airfix! Get yer backside in gear! Make a new one.

 

 

 

Chris

I would have to agree there Chris

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If accuracy's a concern, then at a minimum the cowling needs replacing as the one in the kit is significantly undersized. One from an A6M2 works but if you have to buy a 1/72 Zero to get hold of it you'll be paying as much to produce a model from these 55-year old moulds as you would if you just purchased the Fly Fiat G.50 kit released in 2019.

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Mike Grant did turn out a nice model from this kit in one of his Circuits and Bumps articles, but there was a lot of work involved and he acknowledged that the cowling was incorrect.

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I built the kit when it was new and liked it very much.  It was a step ahead of the usual rivet treatment we saw back then, just a few fine raised lines that fell to a basic scraper in seconds.  The parts fit and the colour shceme made it different from anything else on my shelf.

 

A few years later, Replica in Scale (mid 1970s?) had a short piece on the kit and suggested some improvements.  The cowling was solved by wrapping it in card to bring the diameter out level with the cowling gills. Once that was done there was some easy file work to open gun troughs, exhausts and an air intake.   The cowling leading edge had to be recontoured, putty being the suggestion.  That done, the whole cowling had to be mounted 2 mm aft of the kit location.  The prop needed replacing and the suggestion was for one from the Revell Bf 109E, which also supplied mass balances.  Longer guns from the spares box.

 

Nothing in the article seems too onerous.  That said, I have no way of comparing overall shapes and accuracy but it was pretty sharp in among the more common Mustangs and Spitfires. 

 

Would a new kit be welcome?  Certainly, but there's modelling fun still on them bones.

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