Jump to content

MAS568 4a Series MTB


Recommended Posts

Italeri MAS 568 Serie 4a MTB

1/35 Scale


History (from the reference manual provided in kit).

Original conceived in 1915, as a little torpedo boat early prototypes were a failure due to the heavy weight of the torpedo. Soon afterwards, Italy entered WWI and more of the boats were ordered. Development never ceased, and by the end of WWI over 244 MAS's were in service. The first true torpedo MAS gained considerable fame by sinking the Austrian Battleships Wien and Szent Istvan.

Development of the boats continued thru the 20's and 30's. Speed was essential and improvements were made to the hull and more powerful engines installed. Finally the much sought after 40 knots was achieved in MAS 424 in 1928. Three 500 hp Isotta Fraschini Asso engines powered the boat.

Several experimental crafts were based on these improved boats and these became the "500" series. A 17 meter long by 4.4 meter wide, planing hull with two steps, powered by twin 1,000 hp ASM180 enginesmoved these boats at a respectable 45+ knots. An order was placed for 24 (MAS 510-525) of these wooden boats in 1936. The boats were armed with two torpedoes and two 13.2 mm machine guns which made them fast and potent.

The 2a series (MAS 526-550) was slightly longer and wider, with improved Asso engines and more powerful auxiliary engines. Ironically the boats did not have a reverse gear in their main engines. They relied on the aux engine to move backwards and to approach the "Target" in a 'silent mode'. The added 2 tons lowered the speed but stability was improved.

The 3a series (MAS 551-564) were ordered in 1940. Similar to the 2a they included a flying bridge and upgraded weapons. Four of the boats had metal hulls.

The 4a series (MAS 566-576), in which this model is based on, only had minor detail differences compared to the 3a, and featured wooden hulls. The final boat MAS 570 was delivered in October 1941.

Performance of the boats at war was limited by sea conditions. High speed, which was necessary for torpedo operations, required a smooth surface. This limited the combat record for many of these vessels. On August 12th and 13th, 1942, thirteen boats plus six heavier MTB's and four German E-Boats attacked a convoy bound for Malta. The resulting attack left two transports sunk, both by MAS's and two more damaged, again by MAS's.

By 1942 most of the boats went to the Eastern Front, where they met ideal operating conditions. Being deployed on the vast Lake Ladoga operations against Russian shipping resulted in several transport and other auxiliary craft sinking's. The cruiser Molotov was damaged and a submarine was also sunk. By 1943 all surviving boats went to the Kriegsmarine and later to the Romanian Navy.

Italeris' new 1/35 MTB comes in quite a large box, but due to the nature of the vessel it's not as big as their previous releases, the PT boat or S-boat. Inside the main part of the hull is held in place by cardboard risers with the plastic wrapped sprues underneath. The mouldings are excellent with crisp details on all parts.

The instructions come in the form of a large, landscape format, booklet and rather than drawings of the parts they seem to be photographic.



The main part of the hull is beautifully moulded with the prominent steps clean and sharp.



For some reason, (maybe moulding limitations) the transom is a separate part. Whilst the small amount of detail is nicely done there is a small area on one edge that'll need cleaning up as seen at the bottom of the picture.


The main deck is a large single piece, with the cockpit moulded integrally, again very nicely produced with no warpage and little cleaning up required.


The wheelhouse comes in it's own separate polly bag for protection.


Unlike most kits, the windows are not clear plastic. But are thin pieces of acetate sheet. Not sure how these will look, but I guess it makes painting easier as these could be fitted afterwards.


The first large sprue contains items such as the props, rear superstructure, deck strakes, rudder, torpedo racks and stand.


The second large sprue has more parts for the torpedo mounts, internal wheelhouse details and the AA gun mounting


Next, there are two sprues that contain the torpedo bodies and ancillary items, such as liferings, mast etc.


Included within this kit is a small fret of etch brass for the bow protector, window frames inc wipers and smaller items for the wheelhouse and torpedo racks


Lastly there is a small polly bag which hold screws for the fitting of main deck to hull and two sizes of string for the anchor rope and rudder wires.


The smallish decal sheet is nicely printed and in good register. Markings for two boats each in two different paint schemes complete with lifering markings and the Italian marine flag, plus the large ident banners for the stand rails.



All in all this is a lovely kit, well produced and moulded. It's nice to see an unusual subject that will go well with the previous MTB's Italeri have released. Not only will it be a nice static model, but it could easily be made into an ideal R/C boat. For anyone interested in MTB/MGB's or those who would like to build something different I can highly recommend this kit.

Model from my own collection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice review Dave, not my cuppa tea but it looks a good quality kit,

Wonder what else they have planned?


Cheers Dan

Later this year they're hopefully going to release the Vosper 70 footer. :elephant:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice review - I like the idea of these 1/35 naval subjects - some interesting possibilities!

I think it's wonderful that Italeri are doing them. Whats more, they are really well made kits. I hope they continue this range, after the Vosper, I wouldn't mind them doing a Fairmile D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good review Dave, I know I was suprised at just how well the hull was packed.

Since getting the kit I've been looking at the parts and instructions, the cabin windows look real fun especially with the PE rings that need gluing onto both sides of them, I aslo think that for the price Italeri could of included the figures in instead of having them as an extra, but over all I'm pleased I decided to get the kit and now I just need to work out how I'm going to show her. :banghead:

All the best


Must get S-boot build this year before starting MAS......... :winkgrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...