|Although the G.50 had a far from illustrious record in the Regia
Aeronautica, it's designer certainly made amends with the G.55.
Displaying excellent qualities 'right out of the box', it's large wing
area gave it a superior high altitude performance compared to the Macchi C.205 and it's simpler, more robust construction meant more could be built than the faster, but more delicate RE.2005. Delivery of the first batch into the RA inventory coincided with the Armistice, too late to apply fasce markings. Used solely by the ANR during the remainder of WWII, small scale production resumed in the post war period, with exports made to Argentina, Egypt and Syria. A total of 218 built, with a few converted to the G.59.
Maurizio Di Terlizzi gave a very good account of the construction of two G.55 model's in the 1998 IBN Editore #3 using the Misterkit 1/72 and the RCR 1/48th resin kits. Both of these were considered the best choices in their respective scales at that time.
Unfortunately, both of these kits are long OOP. So too are the Vintage Models and Italiankit revised editions of the RCR model. Classic Airframes released a G.55, but it had 'issues' with the fuselage shape, as did the SMER 1/50 scale kit. Both of these would prove difficult to correct. Supermodels 1/72 G.55 had its fair share of problems too, but at least they were solvable. Special Hobby and Flying Machines have recently provided us with an array of very good quality 1/72 kits. At the moment, there are no 1/48th scale kits readily available, although the aforementioned kits do crop up on eBay from time to time, often at hugely inflated prices.
This is the Vintage Models take on the RCR kit. The panel engraving is a bit deep for my taste and the canopy was very poor. Fortunately, Falcon do a very nice replacement, intended for the Classic Airframe kit, which happened to fit this model quite nicely. It's found on one of their WWII fighter sets (set #37). Anyone with a couple of G.50 projects and a few Yak's, maybe, would do well to get it. Another disappointment is the wheel well, which is devoid of any detail. The resin cast flaps also fail to convince (brass etch style flaps would have been so much better). Italiankits did a decent job of adding extra detail to the wheel well & undercarriage of their kit, but did a terrible job of the flaps, supplying them as crudely cast white metal pieces. Other Italiankit fixes were to correct the headrest fairing and the shape of the nose gun troughs.
Construction is very rapid, what with the fuselage & wing both being single cast items. On the whole, fit was very good, apart from the main wing to fuselage join itself. A fair amount of Milliput was used here. A few other tweaks carried out during construction were to replace the tail wheel with a spare from the Hasegawa C.202/205 kit and the addition of a small 'L' shaped air intake on the RHS of the nose, just above the exhaust. Another 'grey' area is cockpit colour. The G.55 restored by GAVS has a yellow chromate interior, which is a departure from the usual normal grey or green. Pieces recovered from a crash site suggests that this yellow could indeed be correct.
As this model has the late style rudder, care had to be taken when choosing a scheme. Decals were taken from the Aeromaster sheet, depicting a G.55 from the "Montefusco" Squadriglia. Incidentally, the same markings are seen on the GAVS G.55.
Aircraft: Fiat G.55 Serie I
Manufacturer: Fiat S.A.
Engine: Daimler Benz 605A, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, 1,475hp
Wingspan: 38 ft 10 1/2 in (11.85 m)
Length: 30 ft 9 in (9.37 m)
Height: 12 ft 4 in (3.77 m)
Weight: 8,200 lb (3,720 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 385 mph (620 km/h) at 24,300 ft (7,400 m)
Ceiling: 41,700 ft (12,700 m)
Range: 1,025 miles (1,650 km)
Armament: 2 x 12.7mm (0.5 in) SAFAT machine guns, 3 x 20 mm cannons
|Vintage Models 1/48 FIAT G.55 Serie I
Final Production FIAT
by Chris Busbridge
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