Italian 90mm/50 Model 1 AA Gun Barrels

Published on
November 19, 2012
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Base Kit
1/700 WW2 Italian warships with 90mm/50 AA guns
Company: Master Model - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Master Model - Website: Visit Site
Parts Package


In the mid-1930s, Italy began design studies for a new naval antiaircraft gun to replace the 100mm/40 mounts, which was too slow to elevate and track modern aircraft. After calibres from 6-127 mm were evaluated, Regia Marina opted for a compromise between firepower, rate of fire, and system weight. Ansaldo did the initial design work and developed the 90mm/50 Ansaldo 1938, OTO 1939 model heavy antiaircraft gun and stabilized mount. Performance was similar to the famed German 88mm, and these guns remained in service for many years after WW2. These guns were installed in the Littori class battleships and the reconstructed battleships Andrea Dorea and Duilio. Plans for fitting out other ships were never carried out. Although the guns were satisfactory, the stabilization system was prone to breakdowns and the ammunition had limitations.

The Parts

These brass barrels are very small, making them very close to scale. On the model, they look much more like they do in photographs of real ships, and appear to have the correct length. Each barrel has a mounting pin at the base, and the barrel opening is drilled out – remarkable for this scale.

The Build

I had previously built Regia Marina’s resin Vittorio Veneto in 2004. Unsatisfied with the obviously misshapen turrets with overly thick, warped barrels supplied by the kit, I decided to carve a master from plastic and then make a mold and cast copies in resin. Although not as crisp as I would have liked, the turrets had the right shape. I used steel rod for barrels and CA glue for canvas covering. Compared to the steel rods, Model Master barrels were longer, thinner, tapered, and reproduced the barrels faithfully.

It was simple to pull out the old steel barrels and, using a tiny drill bit, extend the hole slightly. I used thick CA glue to attach the barrels, intentionally having a blob of glue that would become the canvas coverings. I painted the barrels by hand after adding them to the turrets since manipulating painted barrels leads to removal of paint. Polly S water-soluble Reefer Gray 410012, used originally, had not dried up yet, and was the primary color. White Ensign Models WEMCC RM06 Giallo Verde (Light Yellow Green) was also used to touch up the turrets. WEMCC Dark gray was used for the canvas coverings, as before. The turrets looked much better with the new Master Model barrels than with the previous steel rods, and helped give the Vittorio Veneto an even better look.


These barrels far outclass anything else for 1/700 scale WW2 Italian 90mm/50 gun mounts. They are to scale and correctly sized. Being brass, they are sturdy and easy to add to whichever mounts are used. They obviously improve the appearance of these handsome vessels. Very highly recommended.

I’d like to thank Master Model for the review item and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.


Bagnasco E, de Toro A. The Littorio Class. Italy’s Last and Largest Battleships 1937-1948. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2011, pp. 78-80. ISBN 978-1-59114-445-8

Bagnasco E, Grossman M. Regia Marina. Italian Battleships of World War Two. A Pictorial History. Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, MT, USA, 1986. ISBN 0-933126-75-1

Brzezinski S. Wloski pacernik Caio Duilio. Profile Morskie 33. BS Firma Wydawniczo-Handlowa Wyszkow, Warsaw, Poland, 2001. ISBN 83-87918-11-3

Campbell J. Naval Weapons of World War Two. Conway Maritime Press, London, UK, 1985, pp. 342-343. 0-85177-329-X

Fraccaroli A. Italian Warships of World War II. Ian Allan, London, 1968, 18-21.

Fraccaroli A. The Littorio class. Part 2. Warship Volume 1, Number 3, Preston A, ed., Conway Maritime Press/Naval Institute Press, London/Annapolis, 1984, 2-13. ISBN 0-87021-975-8

Garzke WH, Dulin RO. Battleships. Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, USA, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-101-3

Preston A. An Illustrated History of the Navies of World War II. Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London, UK, 1976, 42-52. ISBN 0-600-36569-7

Preston A. The Littorio class. Part 1. Warship Volume 1, Number 2, Preston A, ed., Conway Maritime Press/Naval Institute Press, London/Annapolis, 1984, 2-7. ISBN 0-87021-975-8

Preston A. The Littorio class. Part 2. Warship Volume 1, Number 3, Preston A, ed., Conway Maritime Press/Naval Institute Press, London/Annapolis, 1984, 2-13. ISBN 0-87021-975-8

Figure 1: Model-Master SM-700-028 – WW2 Italian Navy 90mm/50 Barrels Set.
Figure 2: Instructions for Model-Master SM-700-028 – WW2 Italian Navy 90mm/50 Barrels Set.
Figure 3: Port view of RM Vittorio Veneto with initial barrels. Notice 90mm/50 barrels are thicker than the 6inch gun barrels.
Figure 4: Close-up of portside 90mm/50 turrets with initial barrels.
Figure 5: Close-up of old vs. new 90mm/50 barrels before painting.
Figure 6: Port view of RM Vittorio Veneto with Model-Master barrels.
Figure 7: Close-up of portside 90mm/50 turrets with Model-Master barrels.

Reviewer Bio

Luke R. Bucci, PhD

Luke built all kinds of models starting in the early '60s, but school, wife Naniece, and work (PhD Clinical Nutritionist) caused the usual absence from building. Picked up modeling to decompress from grad school, joined IPMSUSA in 1994 and focused on solely 1/700 warships (waterline!) and still do. I like to upgrade and kitbash the old kits and semi-accurize them, and even scratchbuild a few. Joined the Reviewer Corps to expand my horizon, especially the books nobody wants to review - have learned a lot that way. Shout out to Salt Lake and Reno IPMSUSA clubs - they're both fine, fun groups and better modelers than I, which is another way to learn. Other hobbies are: yes, dear; playing electric bass and playing with the canine kids.

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