The Fiat G.91 was the winning design in a 1953 NATO competition for a light fighter-bomber. In 1957, it was decided to develop a light attack fighter reconnaissance version of the basic design, designated the G.91R. This version, used by Italian, German, and Portuguese squadrons, had three camera systems fitted in the nose. Variants of the G.91 were produced throughout the 1960s.
The new Meng Fiat G.91R is the third injection-molded kit of this small attack aircraft, the other two being the old Airfix offering and the Revell of Germany offering. However, it is most welcomed, as the other two manufacturer’s kits are either outdated or have shape errors. The new Meng kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box with each sprue of plastic in its own separate bag. The canopy is in two parts and is clear and crisply molded. The kit features all engraved panel lines and options to build an R/1 or R/3 version. I found some of the panel lines to be rather faint, being nearly lost after painting; most of these faint panel lines were on the fuselage. Underwing stores include two M64 bombs, two sizes of tanks, and three different types of rocket pods. Unfortunately, the large external fuel tanks that many G.91s carried are not included in this kit. You will need to source those from the Revell kit.
Building the kit was straightforward and I followed the instructions except in two areas. The first area where I deviated from the instructions was the gun panels. I recommend gluing the gun panels to the fuselage before you close up the fuselage and definitely before you add the wings. The fit of the gun panels is okay, but will require a little filler as the gaps are far too wide compared to the rest of the panel lines on the fuselage. The second area where I strayed from the kit’s path was the cockpit. The kit’s cockpit tub and instrument panel have raised detail, but the instrument panel looks too small. The biggest drawback of the kit cockpit is the seat – the seat is a very poor representation of the actual ejection seat. So, I modified a Pavla cockpit set, which was originally designed for the Revell of Germany kit.
Aside from the aforementioned diversions, the rest of the build went together per the instructions. A little filler will be needed around the gun panels, and I used a little on the wing-to-fuselage joint as well. You will need to pay close attention to the color callouts, as some seem to be off. One example is that the instructions call for the back of the intake to be painted silver. Realistically, the back of the intake would be very dark, in which case I would suggest that you paint that part black. Speaking of the intake, I chose to scratchbuild an intake cover. The kit’s intake does go back a little ways, but the Pavla cockpit created a gap in the upper portion of the intake which would have been noticeable had I not made an intake cover.
Decals are provided for three jets: a Frecce Tricolori, a Luftwaffe, and a US Army example. Also included is a rubbery-type Velcro patch for the Frecce Tricolori. The decals are very well printed. They snuggled down into the panel lines even without applying any solvent! However, I did find two small errors, the first of which being the German flags are not perfectly in register; the black extends past the other colors. This is an easy fix. The second issue, which is not as easy to correct, is the LeKG 41 (Leichten Kampfgeschwader – Light Attack Squadron) insignia, decal #27. Meng has printed the left and right side badges the same, both falcons looking towards the left. On the real jets, the falcon faces forward on each side of the nose. I solved this problem by using the LeKG 41 decals from an old Revell Alpha Jet kit.
This is a most welcomed kit. It was an easy build and definitely looks the part of the G.91R. The light engraving on the fuselage, poorly detailed seat, and lack of large fuel tanks are about the only drawbacks I can see with this kit. However, those are really not that significant and should not stop you from picking up this kit.
My sincere thanks go to Stevens International/Meng for providing the kit, and to IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.