Special Hobby 1/48 Nardi FN.305
by José Luceo

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Flown for the first time in February 1935, the FN.305 was an outstanding two seat light training monoplane.  The FN.305 was also one of the first Italian aircraft with retractable landing gear. In an attempt to demonstrate the ruggedness of this aircraft, the pilot made a deliberate wheels-up landing at Guidonia in 1935 sustaining only slight damage to the airscrew.  The entire design of this aircraft was extremely neat and efficient. On July 17, 1936 Capt. Giovanni Zappetta and Guido Stellingwerf set the light aircraft speed record of 193.1 mph over 631 miles from Fiumicino-Ortobello-Livorno-Fiumicino.  In 1937 a FN.305D won the speed record category of the Circuito Internazionale delle Oasi held in Cairo.  The type also completed a record flight in March 1939 from Rome to Addis Ababa AOI at an average speed of 149 mph gaining the distance record for two seat light aircraft at 2773.7 miles.  The same year the FN.305 won the endurance competition of the Raduno Internazaionale del Littorio. The FN.305 was immediately successful as a military trainer securing orders from foreign airforces that included Belgium, Chile, France, Hungary, Portugal, Rumania, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.  Piaggio also built a large number of these aicraft under license for the Regia Aeronautica.


The Kit
Special Hobby has caracterized itself by bringing kits of important machines that other kit makers dare not do. This is the case of the Nardi FN.305. The model is simple, it has few pieces with fine engraved detail, photo etched metal for the instrument panels and some other details, a cowling made of resin as well as two seats with harnesses molded in.

Limited run kits require a bit more patience and attention to the build process. The cockpit of the FN.305 is spartan but the kit's is just poorly detailed, so I scratch built some additional details like control lines and other instruments. The fuselage was closed without complications.

After the fuselage was set, the cowling was glued in place with 5 minute epoxy. Then came the wings, mating first the upper piece of the wing to the fuselage, then the lower wing. On some kits this helps prevent those nasty wing-fuselage joins we just hate. Unions where finished with Mr. Surfacer and Mr. Hobby putty. No big problems here.The canopy is a vacuum formed piece and thank God Special Hobby gives us two. The first one I messed up by cutting to much and it sat to low. The second one was good enough, it was close.

I deceided to paint it with Giallo Mimetico 1, Verde Mimetico 1 and Marrone Mimetico for the fuselage and upper surfaces and Grigio Mimetico for the lower surfaces. First I applied Grigio Mimetico from the White Ensign line.  After the gray had dried, I applied the Giallo Mimetico and then I freehanded the Verde Mimetico and Marrone Mimetico from Misterkit line. At the end I painted the white cross, fuselage band and wing bands with Bianco Neve of the Misterkit line.

Decals and Finishing
Decals are of excellent quality and were applied without problems.   Weathering was done with the airbrush and Lifecolor's weathering pigments. After this, it was sealed with Gunze Sanyo clear flat.

The FN.305 was a very important airplane in the 30's and was employed by many air forces. Thanks to Special Hobby we have it in 1/48 and 1/72 scale.

Technical Data

Aircraft: Nardi FN.305
Manufacturer: Ing. Fratelli Nardi
Type: Military Trainer
Year: 1935
Engine: Alfa Romeo 115-I, 6-cyclinder inverted in-line, liquid cooled, 185hp
Wingspan: 27 ft 9 in (8.458 m)
Length: 22 ft 11 1/2 in (6.998 m)
Height: 6 ft 10 2/3 in (2.10 m)
Weight: 1,474 lb empty (668 kg); 2,090 loaded (948 kg)
Maximum Speed: 193 mph (310.6 km/h)
Ceiling: 21,320 ft (6,498 m)
Range: 500 miles (804.7 km)
Armament: 2 machine guns
Crew: 1

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December 2009
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