Special Hobby 1/72 Fiat G.55B

KIT: Special Hobby 1/72 Fiat G.55B
KIT #: 72104
PRICE: $24.60 from www.greatmodels.com
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with resin, photo etch and vacuformed parts


Arguably the best fighter to come from Italy during WWII, the Fiat G.55 was one of those that was just getting into squadron service when the Italians signed the Armistice in September of 1943. With the Germans in control of most aircraft factories in northern Italy, a number of additional planes were made to bring the total to 107 built by the end of the war. With Italy in firm control of its country once again, production lines were reopened in 1946 to build the type for export. As many of the exporting nations wanted a trainer version, the G.55B was developed and used by the air arms of Italy, Argentina, Syria and Egypt. It seems that the G.55B was completely unarmed, but it also seems as if wing guns could be installed should the need arise. Once the small stock of Daimler Benz DB 605s ran out, the Merlin powered G.59 replaced this aircraft on the assembly line.


This kit is identical in all ways to the earlier G.55 kit, aside from the vac canopy. In fact, all of the pieces are here if one wishes to build the single seat version. I'm sure the longer canopy could be cut down if needed. But then why buy this kit?

Anyway, Special Hobby includes two new fuselage halves, new canopies, and (not shown) a new photo etch fret. This fret includes instrument panels, radiator grilles, seat harnesses, and a few hand holds for the inside of the canopy.  I understand the canopy opened to the right as on the single seat plane. Two canopies are supplied and while they are a bit thicker than some, I appreciate the additional surface area to help glue things in place.

Resin is used for the cockpit and to provide the two seater, additional pieces in the form of an extra tub and side walls are given. The back seat parts are identical to the front seat items. This includes the lack of control sticks, which are shown as molded in place in the instructions, but are totally lacking on the resin parts. They are not broken off as there are no 'loose' control sticks in the still sealed resin bag. You'll have to make some out of stretched sprue. These are in the usual 's' shape so have fun.

The rest of the kit is nicely molded with a slightly rough surface, no alignment pins, nicely engraved panel lines and molding that has not suffered from mold shift.

Instructions are several pages of well drawn construction steps with paint colors given in generic and Humbrol references. Markings are provided for two overall silver doped aircraft. One is an unmarked Italian aircraft (by that I mean no unit markings), and the other an Argentinean version as shown on the box art. I would imagine that any Syrian or Egyptian plane may have been done in the same desert camo as the fighter versions, but without any photo references, it is difficult to say for sure. Decals are very well printed by AviPrint and have proven to be superb when used on other builds.


So there you have it. A very nice kit of an interesting subtype. I know modelers who build little other than trainers so here is a nice one to add to your collection. Those who want to build a G.59B will have an excellent place to start.

March 2008

You can find this and many other interesting kits atwww.greatmodels.com.

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