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M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit

Italeri 1/35 M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2011 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Scale 1/35
Kit Number 5608 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First styrene kit of this subject Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $149.00

First Look

M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit
M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit
M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit
M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit
M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit
M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit
M.A.S. 568 4a Serie Kit

During World War I, the Regia Marina (Italian Navy) converted a number of larger civilian motorboats into fast attack craft armed with two torpedoes, machine guns, and a light canon. The World War I MAS achieved some great victories against the Austro-Hungarian Navy, so it was only natural that the the MAS concept wound continue to evolve into World War II.

The MAS (Mezzi d'Assalto) of World War II was armed with two 450mm torpedoes and an anti-aircraft gun. These fast boats were capable of 45 knots and their shallow draft allowed them a great deal of tactical flexibility. One MAS was credited with torpedoing the cruiser HMS Capetown in the Red Sea, hitting several combat and support vessels in the Mediterranean, and several other successful skirmishes including the battle for Sevestapol on the Black Sea.

By 1942, attrition of these boats was getting worse despite the successes of their crews. The Regia Marina soon realized that the MAS design was obsolete. The surviving units were relegated to secondary combat areas while the Regia Marina re-equipped its units with the German E-boat.

Italeri has really gone overboard (pun intended) with their successive releases in the 1/35th scale motor torpedo boat arena. Their first release was the very popular Elco PT Boat (look here) which was followed by the German E-Boat. This is the third announced release in the series and the fourth is a Vosper MTB. Staying in the theme, Italeri has also released a midget submarine, assault boat, and a few other interesting subjects all in 1/35 scale.

On opening the box, the kit is very well packaged with the hull and main deck separately enclosed in their own cardboard shell for protection. When this layer is removed, there is another protective layer containing four parts trees as well as a separately provided deck house and hull rear.

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on four parts trees, plus separately molded hull, main deck, deck house, and hull rear. The kit also includes a set of photo-etched parts, ropes for the deck, and pre-cut acetate windows with framing and rain deflection detailing printed on them.

Like the PT 596 kit, assembly is straightforward and since it is a smaller boat with fewer weapons compared to the Elco, this kit should go together rather quickly.

As you can see in the top image, the main deck has a recessed well representing the pilot house which has some nice detailing inside to see through all of those windows. Some of those details are duplicated above on the flying bridge as well.

With the pilot house and deck house installed, the structure and frames for the torpedo mounts comes next. You may notice in the box art and online images that the torpedoes are angled upwards at the front and this is captured nicely in the kit. With all of the various support frames used to keep the torpedoes secured to the deck installed, the kit turns to the petitely molded railings that go around the rear of the boat. These gave the crew something to hang on to as they moved to operate the deck-mounted anti-aircraft gun mounted aft of the main deck house or the depth charge rack mounted on the stern. Both of these weapons are nicely detailed in styrene and also benefit from some of the photo-etched parts as well.

With the aft weapons installed, next come the storage boxes for gun ammunition positioned all around the gun mount next to the railings.

C-27J

The kit comes with decals for the following:

  • MAS 568, Black Sea, summer 1942
  • MAS 563, Mazara, Italy, 1943

The decal sheet provides both low-visibility and high visibility markings depending on assignment. MAS 563 is depicted with the red/white bands on her bow as a 'don't shoot me' identification for axis aircraft operating in the area.

The kit also comes with a photo book that shows period black and white photos of the MAS boats in different series and their details inside the pilot house and around the exterior.

This is a nice kit that should be a little less intimidating than the PT 596 or E-Boat kits, both of which are larger and more complex subjects. This will be a nice introduction kit into the series for those who've not built either of the previous two boats as it will be smaller and a faster build, but once you do, you'll want to tackle the others in this series.

My sincere thanks to MRC for the review sample!.

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