Classic Airframes 1/48 Fiat G.55




$29.98 MSRP when new


Two  options


Scott Van Aken


Short run with vac canopy and resin bits


Toward the middle of 1942 or so, it was painfully obvious that the current crop of Italian fighters were losing ground on what the Allies were putting into the air. The biggest problem with Italian aircraft up to that point was the lack of a powerful engine and decent armament. The Italians made beautiful airframes that handled like a dream, but were slow because the Italian engine companies couldn't produce enough power.

They were able to use German DB.601 engines in some of their previous aircraft, but that still limited the performance of the planes. This was because by the time the Italians started using them in fighters, the Germans had gone on to the next best thing. In terms of in-line engines, this was the DB.605 which started by producing nearly 1,500 hp, an increase of about 300 hp over the DB.601s. The major airframe builders of Macchi, Reggiane, and Fiat all put forth proposals for fighters using this engine. Macchi with the C.205, Reggiane with the Re.2005 and Fiat with the G.55. Only Fiat's entry was an all new airframe.

Naturally, the Italians, decided to build all three. Their woefully inadequate production rates ensured that few of these planes would be available in any quantities and by the time the Italians surrendered in September of 1943, few had actually seen any sort of service. None of these were the Fiat G.55, the best of the lot. Fortunately for the Germans and the Fascist Italians in the North, the aircraft plants were mostly situated in Axis-held territory so many of these aircraft were available to the RSI. Even post war, the G.55 was produced for local use, for export and as the basis for the Merlin-powered G.59 trainer.


This is one of the first batches of Classic Airframes' kits and as such is not much at all like what one gets now. This is semi-basic short run from the early 1990s and has all the tell-tail signs. Vac canopy (two of them, thank you), thick sprue gates, smaller parts on a 'wheel', and finely engraved detail that is so shallow as to be totally wiped out with the first sanding.

There are also the usual sink areas on some of the thicker pieces, rough edges on just about everything and somewhat soft detailing on all parts. The major pieces are butt joins and I'd not doubt that much filler will be needed to finish this one. Resin is used for most of the cockpit, the exhausts, supercharger intake and the wing cannon. The etched fret is for the instrument panel, oil cooler screens and seat belts. Pretty much standard fare for MPM at the time that Classic Airframes was having them do their kits for them.

Instructions are well done with color info provided as standard nomenclature and FS 595 references. Thanks to the nice lot of Italian colors now available to us, we should be able to get good matches for these. Instructions are 12 steps with any additional info provided in each construction step. Markings are provided for two aircraft. One is the box art plane of 2 Squadriglia, II Gruppo in May of 1944. It is painted in the standard Luftwaffe color scheme of RLM 74/75/76 with mottling on the fuselage side. The other is a splinter scheme of Sand, Olive Green, and Red-Brown over Light Blue-Grey when with 1 Squadriglia, II Gruppo in April of 1944. The painting and decal guide is in full color and very nicely done. Decals are printed by Microscale and are superbly done.          


If you are used to today's Classic Airframes kits, this one will be a bit of a shock. However, those of us who have followed short run modeling from its very crude inception (anyone remember VeeDay kits?) to the very nice kits of today will not have any troubles with it. It will take those modeling skills that you've been exercising, but I can tell you that you'll like the result. Besides, no one else has done a good G.55 in this scale. You can always go back to your Smer kit..... :o)

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