Special Hobby 1/48 Macchi C.200 Serie II
Italian Ace Gianlino Baschirotto
Saetta (Lightning)
by Bojan Djekic

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The development of the MC.200 fighter has similarities with the development of the Spitfire as both have their origins in racing hydroplanes. In 1936, Ing. Mario Castoldi transferred that experience to the RA competition for a modern metal fighter, monoplane, retractable landing gear and closed cabin.

The C.200 was powered by a Fiat A.74 radial engine which developed 870 hp. The engine was in the form of a double star and as such had a large total air resistance. The first flight was on December 24, 1937 and on that occasion, it was established that the plane had outstanding flight characteristics, very fine and balanced control and in a dive it reached approximately 800 km/h, from which it recovered with ease. The MC.200 was declared the winner of the RA competition.

The first series of 25 machines were equipped with a Fiat-Hamilton propeller, while the others received Piaggio P.1001 propellers. Armament consisted of 2 synchronized Breda SAFAT 12.7mm heavy machine guns with 310 (later 370) rounds per gun. Later series of aeroplanes were equipped with an open cabin instead of a closed one.

4o Stormo received the first planes but pilots preferred the more agile CR.42 biplanes, thus, 1o Stormo equiiped with the new modern MC.200s with delight.

The first combat experiences with the new aircraft took place over Malta where the MC.200 met the Hurricane Mk.I. The British aircraft had the advantage of (slightly) higher speed and eight light guns while the MC.200 dominated in other aspects such as climb, dive speed, maneuverability and its guns were effective at greater range. From the beginning of 1941 the Saetta participated in aerial combat and ground attack missions over Albania, Greece, and from April over Yugoslavia. At the same time, engagement in the war effort of North Africa begans. In the summer of 1941, the MC.200 also participated in the battles on the Eastern Front and up to the Italian Armistice.

The C.200 was constantly modified throughout its life, later versions received armored seats, sand filters, bombing equipment and external fuel tanks, 7,7mm machine guns were added to the wings and radio equipment was improved. All this increased the planes weight and with that the need for greater power! For this purpose, the engine DB.601A (licensed Alfa Romeo RA.1000) was installed instead of a Fiat A.74 and thus the legendary MC.202 Folgore was born!

GianLino Baschirotto
Maresciallo Baschirotto is the only Italian fighter pilot to have attained ace status twice, achieving this unique feat both in the Spanish Civil War and World War 2.

Born in Montagnana, in the province of Padova, on 15 August 1914, he was fascinated by flying from an early age. He had obtained a civil pilot's licence prior to enrolling in the Regia Aeronautica, and upon graduating as a Sergente in 1935, Baschirotto was assigned to 1o Stormo Caccia. In August of the following year he became one of the original members of the Aviacion Legionaria, volunteering for service in Spain, and flying with the 'Cucaracha' unit. During ten months of near-solid combat, Baschirotto downed five Republican aircraft.

On his return to Italy, he was one of the most mature, and decorated, pilots in his unit, having been awarded two Silver Medals and a Bronze Medal for Military Valour.

Baschirotto was serving with 88a Squadrigfia, 6o Gruppo, 1o Stormo when Italy declared war, his unit being one of the few to have transitioned onto the C200. Based at Catania, in Sicily, the stormo was immediately involved in the action during bomber escort missions to Malta. Despite completing an intensive cycle of missions over the beleaguered island, followed by months of flying in North Africa, Baschirotto failed to score his first individual victory until 25 May 1942, by which time he was flying a C202. With his 'duck' broken, the Spanish Civil War ace went on to claim a further four kills (two P-40s and two Hurricanes) by 10 June.

Having enjoyed great success with the new Macchi fighter over Libya and Egypt between June 1941 and June 1942, 1o Stormo was transferred to Pantelleria from Italy to take part in the Tunisian campaign in January 1943. Baschirotto claimed a Beaufighter within days of arriving back in North Africa whilst flying convoy protection patrols for Axis troop ships traversing the Mediterranean. His sixth, and last, individual victory was against a Spitfire, which he shot down whilst flying a C.205V near Pantelleria on 20 April 1943.

When the Armistice was announced, Baschirotto's stormo was re-equipping at Campoformido, near Udine, and he did not participate in any further wartime operations. Apart from the decorations for his service in Spain, he received a further two Silver Medals for Military Valour and an Iron Cross, Second Class, together with a commission for meritorious service.

Many years after the war Baschirotro became a founding member of the Aeronautica Militare's first aerobatic display team, and he flew all manner of fast jets then in Italian service. He finally left the air force in 1970 as a Colonnello, and eventually passed away in Vicenza in 1986.

Source: G. Massimello and G. Apostolo, Osprey Aicraft of the Aces 34, Italian Aces of World War 2, Osprey Publications 2000

Dressed for the summer weather, Sergente Maggiore GianLino Baschirotto stands alongside his C.200 (MM5797 '88-9') on Catania in August 1940. The ace's Macchi fighter is an early Serie II machine, fitted with an enclosed rear-sliding hood. Ref. Osprey 34, G. Massimello and G. Apostolo


Until the appearance of the Italeri 1/48 MC.200 the Special Hobby 1/48 Aeromacchi C.200 Saeta Serie I was the best model of this aircraft in 1/48 scale. First of all, I would like to point out on the decent resin cabin, which unfortunately cannot be seen at all when the canopy (vacuum-formed and very transparent) is put on. It is in category of better shortruns for the period of its creation, but it is not ideal. The fit is quite decent, but the plastic is very soft and I had to rescribe the whole model additionally. I did that partly because it was incorrectly scribed and also to create the effect of overlapping panels at the root of the wings and stabilizer. The mounting of the engine and the formwork is very poorly done and without any reliable connections. Decals react very well to solutions, but they are thin and transparent (which is a usual for Special hobby). I had problems with fixing the landing gears in a good position because Special Hobby did not provide any guides. Paints used were Gunze acrylics, drybrushed with pigments, oil paints, wooden (acrylic) crayons and silver ballpoint pen ... The model represents the plane of the famous ace Maresciallo GianLino 'Giri' Baschirotto!

All the best from Bojan Djekic (forum id: boom.boom)

Technical Data

Aircraft: Macchi MC.200
Manufacturer: Aeronautica Macchi S.p.A.
Type: Fighter
Year: 1939
Engine: Fiat A.74 RC 38, 14-cyclinder radial, air-cooled, 870hp
Wingspan: 34 ft 8 1/2 in (10.57m)
Length: 26 ft 11 in (8.19 m)
Height: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Weight: 4,874 lb (2,208 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 319 mph (512 km/h) at 16,400ft (5,000 m)
Ceiling: 28,700 ft (8,750 m)
Range: 540 miles (870 km)
Armament: 2 x 12.7 mm SAFATs (0.5 in)
Crew: 1

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