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S.21F

Fine Molds 1/48 Savoia S.21F 'Porco Rosso' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2007 Manufacturer Fine Molds
Subject Savoia S.21F 'Porco Rosso' Scale 1/48
Kit Number FG-3 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons  
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) About $24.00

First Look

S.21F
S.21F
S.21F
S.21F
S.21F
S.21F

After the end of World War I, Italian fighter ace Marco Pagot left the military and became a bounty hunter against pirates flying around the Adriatic Sea. Marco somehow acquired a curse that transformed him with the head of a pig, and from that time he became known as 'Porco Rosso' (Crimson Pig).

Porco operated his modified Savoia S.21F seaplane from a deserted island and would come to the aid of those being threatened by pirates. Though Porco was hiding from the authorities, he would come out of hiding to go to the Hotel Adriano for a drink and to listen to Gina singing to her audience.

The story of Porco, Gina, Fio, and his trusty S.21F are the subject of an anime film produced in 1992 by Hayao Miyazaki. In the English version of this film, actor Michael Keaton provides the voice of Porco Rosso.

This is all Paul Fisher's fault. The owner of Fisher Models and producer of the magnificent 1/32 scale F9F-5 Panther and F9F-8 Cougar has a love for seaplanes. During one of our chats, he mentioned 'Porco Rosso' and much to his surprise, I'd never heard of the character or movie. At Paul's recommendation, I ordered a copy of Porco Rosso and watched the film on my computer during a recent flight to London. I must say that I really enjoyed the movie and from my outbursts of laughter, I figured that some of the chaps trying to sleep on the flight also knew as well.

While I have yet to see a bad kit from Fine Molds, I was really surprised by the detail in this model without being difficult to build. The Savoia S.21F is marked on the box as an experimental seaplane and indeed, if it existed, it doesn't show up in the usual aviation references. Given that, the model has a surprising degree of detail.

The kit is molded on six parts trees, two molded in red styrene, two in tan styrene, one in gray and one with the clear parts. The bottom of the main fuselage/hull has structural detail molded on the inside to be visible through the cockpit openings. Structural bulkheads are provided for the forward observer's cockpit and a complete structural 'cage' is provided for the pilot's cockpit. A complete set of flight controls and also provided for the pilot while only one of the two forward firing guns is mounted in the nose as depicted in the movie.

A nicely detailed V-12 engine is provided inside the overwing nacelle. The top access panel is removable to reveal that engine after completion.

While this aircraft was supposedly designed in the midst of the biplane era, the S.21F is depicted as a monoplane, hence its experimental status.

The ailerons and rudder are molded separately should you want to position them.

The kit is molded in colors that are fairly close to the movie color scheme, so if a junior modeler chose to build this without painting, you'd have a very attractive model. If you do paint and apply some light weathering, you'll be even more surprised at the nice detail that will pop out.

The kit provides a trolley that will cradle the main float of the S.21F while on land (or on your shelf). The kit also provides three figures: Porco Rosso and Fio seated wearing their flight gear, and Gina standing in her evening gown.

Decals are provided for Porco's aircraft colors which were essentially the Italian flag on the vertical stabilizer and out on the outer wings. The tan decals are intended to provide the same color on the undersides of the floats as the underside of the main hull without the need for paint.

This is a beautiful model and kudos to Fine Molds for developing such a nice kit! Thanks to Paul Fisher for telling me about this excellent anime feature!

This kit is definitely recommended!

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