Italeri 1/48 Mc.200 Saetta Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2010||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||2676||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First styrene kit of this subject in this scale; very nice detailing throughout||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$59.95|
The Macchi C.200 was one of the first operational monoplane fighters produced for the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force), with its first flight in late 1937. By the time Italy entered World War II alongside Germany in 1940, the C.200 was the mainstay of the Regia Aeronautica flying more operational sorties that any other type.
The C.200 was an all-metal low-wing monoplane that had some advanced features including interconnected ailerons and flaps so that the ailerons would drop with the flaps providing better soft/short field performance. Powered by an 870 horsepower Fiat A.74 engine, the rather lightweight fighter was quite agile in aerial combat.
The aircraft was armed with a pair of 12.7mm (.50 cal) machine guns that fired through the propeller. While this configuration contributed to the light weight of the aircraft, it also limited its attacking power against Hurricanes with their eight .303 cal machine guns and other adversaries of greater firepower. The C.200 remained in service through 1947.
I was a bit surprised with this kit. It was originally billed as a PRM (premium) kit, which from Italeri usually means lots of interesting stuff in the box including a monograph containing color profiles, photo walk around details, etc. On opening the box however, the inside was a bit sparse. More on this later.
The kit is a new-tooling of the C.200 and is presented on two parts trees molded in gray styrene, plus one small tree with three clear parts, one small fret of photo-etch, and a small sheet of decals.
When you look at the instructions, you begin to get a sense of 'less is more' as the C.200 wasn't a complex aircraft, so it wouldn't have that much complexity in the box.
The cockpit is nicely laid out and includes a photo-etched instrument panel as well as the pilot's shoulder harness/restraints. You might look at the sidewalls and see some opportunities for resin detailing perhaps, but it would be a bit of a wasted effort when viewing through that narrow cockpit opening. Italeri put together the right blend of detail for your ability to see inside, even with a flashlight.
The engine is also nicely done and only lacks some photo-etched ignition wiring to complete the look. The kit does provide the option of a separately molded cowling access panel to be left off to reveal the Fiat engine.
The wing subassembly has an interesting main wheel well that appears to capture the look aircraft's design rather than the 'boxed-in' wheel wells provided in most kits.
The ailerons, elevators, and rudder are all molded in the neutral position, though the flaps are separately molded so they can be positioned up or down. The only glitch here is that the ailerons would also be deflected down with the flaps, so you would be better off modeling the aircraft with its flaps up (unless you want to surgically remove the ailerons).
The main landing gear has a nice innovation - the main gear door mounting frames are rendered in photo-etch which will provide a solid mount of the doors to their respective struts.
The cockpit tub goes inside the fuselage halves, the engine mounts to the nose, and the wing and tail surfaces all go together. If it wasn't for the photo-etched parts being somewhat essential to the project, this would be a simple build for the average modeler. It will still be a simple build for the experienced modeler.
I was somewhat amused by the notation on the box that inside was a 'Super Decals Sheet' and inside was a small sheet with four options. There's nothing wrong with the decals themselves, but when I see 'Super' on the box, I expect a huge sheet inside much like the monster decal sheets provided in most of Revell/Germany's kits. But I digress...
The kit provides marking options for four aircraft:
- C.200, 369a Squadriglia/22 Gruppo Autonomo CT, Russia, 1941
- C.200, 365a Squadriglia Autonomo CT, Napoli, Italy, 1940
- C.200, 85a Squadriglia/18 Gruppo, Araxos, Greece, 1942
- C.200, 150 Gruppo Autonomo CT, Tirana, Albania, 1941
Italeri has done a really nice job on this kit. It isn't over-engineered, nor are there any serious shortcuts taken either. Aside from expecting more from an Italeri PRM kit at this price, like the usual reference monograph, this kit should make Italian Air Force modelers quite happy.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!