Special Hobby 1/48 G.55A  'Post War'

KIT #: SH 48087
PRICE: $28.00 on sale ($56.00 SRP)
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes resin and photo etch parts


The Fiat G.55 Centauro (Italian: "Centaur") was a single-engine single-seat World War II fighter aircraft used by the Regia Aeronautica and the A.N.R. (Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana) in 1943-1945. It was designed and built in Turin by Fiat. The Fiat G.55 was probably the best type produced in Italy during World War II, (a subjective claim also frequently made for the Macchi C.205 Veltro) but it did not enter production until 1943.

During its short operational service, mostly under the Repubblica Sociale Italiana insignia, after the 8 September 1943 armistice, this powerful, robust and fast aircraft proved itself to be an excellent interceptor at high altitude. In 1944, over Northern Italy, the Centauro clashed with British Supermarine Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-38 Lightning, proving to be no easy adversary.  Italian fighter pilots liked their Centauro but by the time the war ended, fewer than 300 had been built. (This is in comparison with, for example, the 34,000 Bf 109s built by the Germans.)

In 1946, Fiat restarted production of the G.55, using the large stock of partly complete airframes and components remaining in its factories. It was available in two versions, the G.55A, a single-seat fighter/advanced trainer, and the G.55B, a two-seat advanced trainer, whose prototypes flew on 5 September 1946 and 12 February 1946 respectively.

The AMI acquired 19 G.55As and 10 G.55Bs, while the Argentine Air Force purchased 30 G.55As, and 15 G.55Bs. The type was also flown by Syria and Egypt with Egyptian G.55s participating in the air war during the 1948 Israeli war of independence.


This is not the only boxing of this kit as you might expect. It is up to Special Hobby's usual standards with nicely engraved surface detailing. The cockpit is nicely done with detailed sidewalls onto which a bevy of small photo etch bits are attached. The kit's multiple piece main instrument panel is done in photo etch with an acetate instrument sheet that is glued behind it. The gunsight base is resin. The seat includes the somewhat unusual Italian harness that consists of both chains and belts. This is in seven pieces of photo etch.

As two of the markings options have no nose guns, there is a resin upper cowling section to duplicate this. I would have rather not had a separate nose, but such is the case. The kit does include different fuselage halves for this kit, but keeps the older ones on the sprues if you want to do a WWII version. The cowling is split in upper and lower halves with the exhaust assembly being trapped between them. It appears that once can install the stacks after painting. Various lumps and bumps are separate as well. There are photo etch oil cooler grilles included. The wings are in an upper and lower half with the lower section being a single piece. There are separate wing tip light lenses.

The lower radiator has a separate exhaust door and there are photo etch radiator grilles. Landing gear is well done with the wheels in two halves. The wheel forks are also in two pieces. Bomb racks are provided for the outer wings and each consists of three parts. No bombs are provided. Unfortunately, the canopy is a single piece, meaning you'll have to cut it in order to easily see your interior work.

Instructions provide generic and Gunze paint refersnces. There is a nicely done three view to assist with alignment. Markings are for three planes. One is an Egyptian version from late 1948 in a desert camo scheme as shown on the box art. The white bands will need to be painted, but the decal sheet provides the black lines. Next is an unarmed Italian version from the fighter school in 1948 in overall aluminum dope. The other unarmed version is from Argentina in 1949, also in aluminum dope but with a black anti-glare panel and spinner.

From what little I have read on this kit, it is a pretty nice one that builds a lot better than the older Classic Airframes kit. It also does a variant that hasn't been kitted before.




Thanks to me for picking this one up on sale.

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