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Breda 65A-80 ‘Aviazione Legionaria’ (SH48226) 1:48


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Breda 65A-80 ‘Aviazione Legionaria’ (SH48226)

1:48 Special Hobby




The Breda 65 was a development of the earlier model 64, and was an interwar fighter and ground-attack aircraft used by the Italian Air Force in small numbers before WWII.  It was unusual as a fighter in that it had an internal bomb bay that could carry a small bomb load for the ground-attack role, which kept the aircraft aerodynamically clean, although it wasn’t exactly a sleek aircraft to begin with.  The airframe was constructed completely from metal, and was powered by a Fiat A.80 RC.41 18-cylinder radial engine with around 1,000hp output from the twin piston banks of 9 cylinders each, with the exception of a small number of the initial production that were instead powered by a less-powerful license-built Gnôme-Rhône motor.


Twenty-three aircraft assigned to 65a Squadriglia of the Aviazione Legionaria were sent to Spain to fight alongside the German Legion Condor on the side of the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, where they lost more than half during the conflict.  Once the war was over, the remaining aircraft were transferred to the Spanish Air Force as they were for the most part outdated by that point, with comparable performance as the German Stuka, although that comparator soldiered on much longer.  The remaining aircraft of the 200+ that were built were kept in-service longer than desired due to problems with their replacements, and attrition was high when there were modern opposition forces in theatre.  When they were able to carry out their task unmolested however, they were a stable platform for ground-attack, and made a good account of themselves on occasion before they were ultimately withdrawn from service, by 1942 at the latest.



The Kit

This is a reboxing with new decals of an older kit from Special Hobby that first saw the light of day in 2010.  It is of the shorter-run style moulding that has much of the finer details supplied as resin parts that are found in a separate Ziploc bag inside the box.  There are three sprues of grey styrene, a separately bagged clear sprue, the afore mentioned bag of resin parts, decal sheet and a large fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass in a resealable bag, rounded out by the A5 stapled instruction booklet, all inside a blue/grey themed top-opening box.  Detail on the resin and PE is excellent, and the external surface of the airframe parts are similarly well-moulded, while the interior parts, especially the tubular framework has a little bit of flash on it, so a pre-build clean-up will be a sensible proposition before you begin.














Construction begins with the pilot’s seatbelt arrangement, unusually.  The four-part PE belts are attached to the top of a trapezoid rear panel, with two PE chains hanging down, the completed assembly then glued to the rear bulkhead of the cockpit, which has a rounded cushion moulded into it.  The seat pad with partial surround is glued underneath, and a two-part frame is added to the rear, which also receives a lever on the starboard side of the seat.  The unusually-shaped triangular floor section is attached to the frame under the seat and an inverted triangular frame at the front, which also has the rudder pedals and foot rests fixed to a cross-brace, and the control column is glued between two pegs in the centre of the floor.  Another PE chain with belt is linked between the seat and the floor, and a couple of scrap diagrams show the location and how to fold up the PE foot rests.  A pair of tank halves are put together with another two-part tapered tank placed on top, ready to be sandwiched between the two side frames, which is the next task.  The frames are held apart by installing the cockpit assembly, the tanks, a front bulkhead and aft cross-braces between the two sides, plus a framed rear deck behind the pilot that also has a headrest added to the front.  A flat panel is also inserted under the tanks, leaving a sizeable gap between the cockpit and tanks for the bomb racks.  The bomb racks are tubular and perforated throughout their length, and are each rolled up separately from parts on the PE sheet, with a top and bottom surround, into which the resin bombs are inserted, pointed end facing up in a similar manner to the German He.111.  They are suspended vertically from the side frames on tabs that project from the top surround, with a raised platform overhead that is made up from three styrene parts and two PE parts underneath.


The completed interior is trapped inside the two fuselage halves by several location tabs, with the spine behind the pilot a separate insert, presumably to give options for the two-seat trainer.  The tail wheel is a single part that is trapped in between a two-part aerodynamic fairing, which is in turn trapped in a fairing moulded into the fuselage under the tail.  The elevators are added to the tail after joining their halves together in a butt-joint, and these also fit in place on a butt-joint that would make for a stronger join if you add some pegs from brass rod or similar.  You will also need to remove the ejector-pin marks from the inside of the two elevator halves to ensure a snug fit of the parts.  At the front, the triple-faced instrument panel with a curved PE lower section that is festooned with PE levers is made up, and there are sadly no decals for the dials.  The lower wing is a single full-span part, which has a framework added around the interior of both main gear bays, plus retractor jacks and main struts attached to small inserts that glue into the front of the bay openings.  The upper wing halves have moulded-in tubular framework and ribbing, which should react well to some careful painting before they are glued over the lowers and added into the fuselage from below.


Now for some resin details.  The engine is depicted entirely in resin, building up all 18 cylinders around the central core in two banks, with two scrap diagrams showing the correct orientation of the completed assembly.  It is inserted into the hole in the front of the fuselage after adding an exhaust collector ring and two exhaust stubs, both of which have PE supports.  The resin cowling slides over the engine, adding a chin intake from two parts and a twin resin intake that merges and disappears inside the fuselage just in front of the cockpit.  Two small rectangular parts are applied just behind the cowling on the sides, and a pair of oval fairings are added underneath to finish it off, then a gap in the belly of the aircraft behind the bomb bay is filled with a clear greenhouse that sits flush with the underside.  A pair of short struts join the elevators to the fuselage at the rear, and a PE actuator is fixed to the starboard side of the rudder, finishing off with a clear light at the very rear of the fuselage.


With the model inverted, the landing gear and underwing details are finalised, starting with the curved front spats, which have a retraction jack at their base, and a mudguard at the rear on a C-shaped bracket.  Three flap actuator fairings are added near the trailing edges of the wings, as are a pair of PE actuators for the ailerons, and a pitot probe under the leading edge of the port wing.  Turning the model over, there is a copious amount of detail to be installed, starting with PE elevator actuators, a combined PE, resin and clear styrene gunsight in the cockpit, and the four wing-mounted guns for which you have a choice.  There are simple styrene guns included on the sprues that you can use as-is, or you can cut off the barrels and replace them with rolled up PE cooling jackets around a central rod, which you will need to supply from your own stock.  That may be a little tricky, but the extra detail would be well worth the effort, and the task simplified by annealing the PE carefully in a flame, taking care not to overdo it, as thin brass can vaporise in too hot a flame.  Moving back to the tail again there are six small fairings to be glued to the surfaces of the elevators and rudder, which have rigging wires strung between them according to the scrap diagrams.


The canopy is found on the clear sprue in three parts, with the faceted windscreen applied over the instrument panel, plus the sliding centre section and fixed rear portion over the framework behind the pilot.  A pair of wingtip lights are supplied to fill the holes in the wings, then the last task is to make up the prop, which is fully resin, and is assembled from the centre boss and three blades, which don’t appear to be keyed, so take care to arrange them so that they are at the same angle of incidence.




There are two decal options included on the sheet, both sharing the same three tone camouflage scheme that extends over the leading edges of the wings and onto the underside a little.  They are both combatants in the Spanish Civil War, so differ only by their tail codes.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • 16-35 65a Squadriglia Assalto, Aviazione Legionaria, Puig Moreno, Spain, Winter, 1938
  • 16-35 65a Squadriglia Assalto, Aviazione Legionaria, Puig Moreno, Spain, Winter, 1938






The decals appear to be printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  I mention Eduard because from 2021, the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film.  It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of time into the bargain.




Another niche subject from Special Hobby, and it’s good to see it back on the shelves.  It’s not a shake-and-bake kit, but a good replica should be possible with some care and use of those modelling skills we sometimes hear about.


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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49 minutes ago, andyrowe said:

Nice review. Any chance of seeing the resin parts please?

:dull: Some days I shouldn't be allowed out without a chaperone.  It'll be there in a sec ;)

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