|Although the Fiat G.55 has appeared in 1/48th scale before, this Flying Machines kit and the Special Hobby kit, which shares the same tooling, is the first time it has been accurately modelled. Previous releases had various issues, either a badly proportioned fuselage or poor quality panel engraving. There are no such problems here. The fuselage is nicely shaped and the engraving is crisp and clean. This kit has a full range of resin moulded cockpit parts, providing superior detail compared to their injection moulded counterparts. It's worth noting that the Special Hobby kit does not have these additional resin parts, only a resin gunsight. The Flying Machine kit also has parts to allow the torpedo carrying 'silurante' S prototype to be built. These include an altered lower wing to fit the two wing mounted radiators and parts for the torpedo itself, although the real aircraft only ever carried a dummy one. One thing to do if modelling the 'S' version is to delete all nose gun detail, as they were removed in order to save weight. The instruction sheet does not tell you this.|
Aircraft: Fiat G.55 S (Silurante)
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: 1 x torpedo, 2 x 12.7mm (0.5 in) SAFAT machine guns, 3 x 20 mm cannons
|Flying Machines 1/48 FIAT G.55 S (Silurante)
by Chris Busbridge
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|Construction is fairly typical for these limited-run kits, where some parts will need test fitting first, although the cockpit was more or less a snug fit. The biggest headache was thinning down the inner edges of the very thick trailing edges of each wing part. This onerous task should not be skipped otherwise it will severely compromise the final appearance of the model. Other problems during construction included a less than perfect fit for the lower cowling part and the need to remove a wedge out of the stabiliser fillets to allow the stabilisers to be aligned correctly. Failure to do this will leave a swept back appearance. The undercarriage doors are moulded too thickly, so could be replaced with thinner scratch built parts if desired. The canopy fitted perfectly and with careful masking can fixed in place before proceeding with the camouflage. Jean Barby replaced the canopy on his G.55 build as he did not like the injection moulded canopy supplied in the kit. I kind of agree with him on this as the framework is rather heavy.
Decals are provided for three ANR schemes, but had already decided on the 'silurante'. This gave me the opportunity to try out the unique camouflage of this particular aircraft. Originally a G.55 that had already been rolled off the Fiat production line, the silurante prototype had a heavily modified airframe that necessitated a completely new colour scheme. Although the instruction sheet suggests the familiar Hazel/Olive Green and Light Blue Gray colours of that period there's a theory that, as a 'Marine' aircraft, it is entirely possible that the Hazel colour was dropped in this instance. I seem to remember a post on the Stormo forum about this and is also suggested in F. D'Amico's ANR book. I therefore sprayed the model entirely with Grigio Azzurro Chiaro and applied the 'criss-cross' style wavy Verde Oliva Scuro pattern all over its upper surfaces.
Being generally pleased with the finished result, this left just the decal application. The decal sheet only has white backed wing fasce. They should be clear, so I had to source spares. The rest of the decals were fine.
Overall a very satisfying result. At long last a decent looking G.55 can now be built in this scale and should prove popular for all enthusiasts of this fine looking aircraft.
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