|Warrior Model 1/48 Ba.88 Lince
by Chris Busbridge
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|Despite establishing several world speed-distance records and luxuriating in an effective propaganda campaign as a result, this aircraft proved to be a failure operationally. Its clean lines made it one of Italy's finer looking aircraft and after such record breaking exploits, it was pushed into full-scale production over and above a rival design, the Rosatelli Fiat CR.25.
The Breda 88 was designed as a heavy fighter and ground attack aircraft however when the armament was installed problems of stability arose and the general performance of the aircraft deteriorated. A total of 100 were built and served briefly in Libya in the summer of 1940 and were then sent back to Italy. There they were used as fixed installations on the ground in order to mislead enemy reconnaissance. As a footnote, the CR.25 which equipped just a single squadron had an exemplary service record and was well liked by all its pilot's.
For my money, this resin kit is a much better effort by Warrior than the Breda Ba.65, although any comments on overall accuracy are hampered by the lack of good quality plans to check it against. It is not entirely trouble-free, there is a bad wing/fuselage join, especially on the port side and the undercarriage pieces are very soft white metal castings, which was to have repercussions later. The twin tail stabiliser pieces had a porous surface that was hard to eradicate, the starboard wing had a pronounced kink that needed heat treatment to sort out, all mating surfaces needed a lot of cleaning up and there was
clear evidence of repair work carried out on some of the parts after they had been released from the moulds. A minor criticism could be made of the panel engraving, which was a tad too deep for my tastes.
The cockpit is made up of a combination of white metal and resin parts and is highly detailed, although the control column was oversized. The location of the majority of these parts needed a bit of guesswork (as well as the cockpit colour), the instruction sheet being a bit vague in this department. Trapping all the parts within the two fuselage halves needed a bit of patience as well. A nice touch was the moulding detail of the seat cushions, which had a luxurious buttoned leather effect.
The top and bottom of both wings had extremely fine trailing edges, so care was taken not to damage them during assembly. The aerofoil section of each wing were well matched, but did not match the fillet mouldings on the fuselage! The port side was the worst fit, so Milliput was used to smooth the join. The large wheel-well fairings were no where to be seen in the box, so replacement parts were sent for and arrived... eventually. They fitted reasonably well, but only after a little test fitting. The engines are nicely modelled and it's worth taking your time dry-brushing them to bring out the detail, as the large cowlings will make them highly visible. However, I could not get the resin exhausts to fit as intended, so small pieces of tubing were used instead, glued in place at the end of construction.
The separately moulded white metal propellers were reasonable quality and as they had opposite rotation (not adequately indicated in the instruction sheet) this had to be bourne in mind when gluing them into the resin spinners. As previously stated, the one real weak point of the model, quite literally, is the white metal undercarriage pieces. They were simply not strong enough to support this weighty model. I found this out to my cost when, after final completion, the whole lot just wilted under the strain over a period of a few days or so. I had to make new main units, incorporating the still extant non-supporting white metal parts. The tail planes fitted without a hitch, the only problem was the porous surfaces that only came to light during the painting stage. I applied and re-applied layers of primer, with a touch of sanding between each coat, until they had disappeared. The cockpit canopy was supplied in duplicate, although I did not need to use the spare as it was a relatively simple shape to cut out. The thick framing made it easy to mask as well.
The decal sheet is identical to the one supplied in their Breda Ba65 kit. I used just the Savoy Crests from the sheet and found spares for the rest of the markings, using a camouflage scheme not given on the instruction sheet. I used Xtracolor X104 for the Nocciola Chiaro and Humbrol 91 for the mottles, with Humbrol 140 used on the lower surfaces. The white fuselage band and rudder crosses were airbrushed.
The aircraft was part of the 7° Gruppo, 5° Stormo based at Castle Benito, Libya in 1940. The small red pennant on the nose was from a SkyModels bomber sheet. Considering the extremely short-lived service record of this aircraft, I felt that any weathering was rather unnecessary.
As already mentioned, this is a much better kit than the Breda Ba.65 simply because it was much easier to build and appears to be much more accurately and carefully planned. It certainly looks every inch a Ba88. Anyone who has built a resin kit before should find this one quite straightforward, although the undercarriage did pose a problem or two, as did the wing to fuselage join. Overall detail is quite impressive, as is the size of the model.
Aircraft: Breda 88
Manufacturer: Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda
Type: Fighter Bomber
Engine: Two Piaggio P.XI RC 40, 14-cylinder radial, air-cooled, 1,000hp each
Wingspan: 51 ft 2 in (15.60m)
Length: 35 ft 5 in (10.79 m)
Height: 10 ft 3 in (3.10 m)
Weight: 14,900 lb (6,750 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 304 mph (490 km/h)
Ceiling: 26,200 ft (8,000 m)
Range: 1,019 miles (1,640 km)
Armament: 4 machine guns ; 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) of bombs
1) Dunning, C., "Courage Alone - The Italian Air Force 1940-1943", Hikoki, 1998.
2) Postiglioni, U. and Degl'Innocenti, A.,"Colori e Schemi Mimetici Della Regia Aeronautica",
II Edizione, CMPR, GAVS sez Roma, GMT, 2a Ristampa, 1997.
3) Thompson, J. W., "Italian Civil and Military Aircraft", Aero Publishers, 1963.
Stormo © 2005