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Piaggio P.108B Quadrimotore (SH72406) 1:72


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Piaggio P.108B Quadrimotore (SH72406)

1:72 Special Hobby




The P.108B as you might have gleaned from the Italian name was a four-engined bomber that saw service with the Italian Air Force during WWII, and it had a similar performance envelope to its Allied equivalents, despite looking perhaps a little odd, especially around the nose.  It first flew just before the end of 1939, entering service at around the same time as the British Lancaster in 1941, and showed much promise despite being about twice the cost of the existing bombers in service with the Italian Air Force at the time.  When all factors were added up however, the bomb load and lower crew numbers made it a much more palatable proposition, and it won the competition for manufacture.  There were other variants of the type considered, but the B was the only one that saw any substantial active service in North Africa and over Gibraltar, although their achievements were far from legendary, with high attrition due to accidents as well as through enemy action.


After the Armistice with the Allies, support for the remaining aircraft fell away, and some were sabotaged to stop them from falling into German hands, although if they had, they may well have tied-up many German engineers trying to keep them in service, as was usually their wont.  The 108T transport variant carried on to the end of the war in German hands, while the intended replacement for the 108B, the P.133 was never completed.



The Kit

This is a reboxing with additional parts of a 2004 tooling from Special Hobby after its last outing a few years ago.  It arrives in a modest-sized top-opening box that is jammed full with sprues.  There are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a bag of resin parts, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages.   The detail is typical of the period of Special Hobby’s output, but time has been very kind to the moulds that still seem to be as crisp as the day they were first created.  The clear parts are nicely crafted too, and the resin is the icing on the cake.














Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with two seats for the pilots, which have tubular arms at the sides and pencil-rolled back cushions.  The seats are placed on raised boxes and are fixed to the floor along with a central console on top of which the instrument panel sits, along with its decal to detail it.  The 108B had twin controls, so two columns with yokes are glued in front of the seats, then the completed assembly is inserted into the starboard fuselage half once it has been painted internally and has clear windows and spar added, with a bulkhead and window blanking cover inserted further back, plus another on the port side.  The fuselage is closed up once the port side has its windows added, then the elevator fins are made up from top and bottom halves and butt-jointed to the fuselage.  Pinning the butt-joints would be a wise move to strengthen the joint here, and don’t forget to install the tail wheel and its strut before closing up the fuselage halves.


The 108B has large wings with two engine nacelles per wing.  The nacelles are made up first, with the larger inner one consisting of two halves, while the outer nacelle is a single part.  The remotely-operated resin turrets are fitted into holes in the top of the outer nacelles along with their twin machine guns, another of the 108B’s oddities.  The engines were designed to out-perform those of the opposition’s B-17, and in the kit they are each supplied as a single detailed part on a backplate, which fixes to a ledge in the two-part cowling.  The engine mounting fairings are made from a cylindrical section with scallops around the edge, and a tapered section that receives the engine and its cowling.  The inner nacelle has an insert slipped in from the front before it is added, for later use with the landing gear parts.  The two wings slide over the short spar and are glued in position, allowing plenty of time for the glue to set up, taking care to align them correctly while the glue dries.  The front of the fuselage is open at this stage, and once the floor for the bombardier has been inserted, the nose glazing can be glued in, choosing the turreted section or the glazed over parts depending on which decal option you have selected.  The canopy is a single part that covers over the cockpit, as the crew enter and leave elsewhere.  If you have selected one of the decal options with the nose turret, an additional piece of glazing and a resin gun are added above the main nose section, then an antenna and D/F fairing are positioned behind the cockpit, with two resin and clear styrene domes fitted into holes on the aft section of the cockpit hump above the trailing edge of the wings.


This boxing has four resin prop bosses, which receive three styrene blades each, and each one needs a 1mm hole drilled in the rear so they can be fixed to the front of the engines later.  More resin is used for the exhausts, with two pipes used per nacelle, giving the modeller a choice of two long hedgehog-style exhausts or shorter curved exhausts depending on the decal option. The outer nacelles have their exhausts on the underside of the cowling due to the presence of the gun turrets on the topside.  Under the inner nacelles are the main gear bays, which receive Lancaster-like H-shaped twin struts with angled retraction jacks, plus a pair of bay doors, one on each side.  The tyres are each two styrene parts and have a shallow flat-spot to indicate weight of the all-metal airframe compressing the air within.  Another clear dome is fitted beneath the fuselage, a small resin intake glues under each engine cowling, then a few antennae are added to the nose while the props are fixed into position on the engines.




There are four decal options included on the sheet, with a broad range of colour schemes and even operators to choose from, especially considering there were only 24 made.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • MM22004, Red 1, 274a Sqn. BGR, Regia Aeronautica, Guidonia, Spring 1942
  • MM22004, Red 1, Sqn. BGR, 2th July 1942
  • MM24325 of 274a Sqn. BGR, handed to the USAAF, Sept 1943
  • MM22005, Red 8, 274a Sqn. BGR, Regia Aeronautica, Decimomannu, Sardinia, July 1942






The decals are printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. 


You may or may not know that as of 2021, the carrier film from Eduard decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier-free, making the decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the film.  It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view.




A welcome re-release of an odd four-engined Italian aircraft that many people may not have heard of before.  Now where can I get one in 1:48?


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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