Macchi C.200 Saetta
The Macchi C.200 had its origins in a series of Schneider Cup seaplane racers designed by Mario Castoldi during the early thirties. The prototype C.200 first flew in 1937, and was an all-metal, low wing, radial powered monoplane possessing extremely clean lines. Its main drawbacks were its low powered 870 hp. Fiat A.74 engine and its meager armament, two fuselage mounted 12.7 mm. machine guns. Nevertheless, its flying characteristics were excellent, and it was selected for mass production, and a total of about 1,200 were completed by Macchi, and also Breda between 1939 and 1943, when it was replaced on the production lines by the C.202.
The C.200 was used in all areas where the Regia Aeronautica was active, including mainland Italy, Malta, North Africa, Greece, and Russia. When replacement C.202’s arrived, the C.200 took on a second career, that of a close support aircraft, with two bombs carried in racks under the wings. At the time of the Armistice, in September, 1943, only 33 C.200’s remained serviceable, and 23 of these reached Allied territory to become part of the Co-Belligerent Air Force. The few that remained in the North were not used operationally by the Germans or Italians.
This kit, a new issue, is typical of Hobby Boss releases, in that it is a quick-build model of a well-known airplane. Consisting of 14 pieces molded in light grey styrene, the kit is a model of simplicity, as the two major components, the lower wing/fuselage/tailplane section mating with the upper fuselage making up the majority of the model. The cowling and windshield are molded separately, and the only sprue section, coded “B”, includes the floorboard, control stick, prop and holding ring, and the undercarriage. Engine and surface detail are very good, and panel lines are clear but not overdone. There is almost no flash, and the parts fit together well enough that a beginning modeler could actually built the kit without any glue. A serious modeler could use a little glue and filler to smooth things out, but the result is a very nice looking model.
The only other C.200 kit I am aware of is the old Revell kit, which first appeared in the seventies, and this kit is better in most respects, especially with its recessed panel lines and a more detailed propeller. Burns’ Guide lists a couple of other kits, by Intech and Kora, but I am not familiar with these.
The instructions are quite basic, with three exploded drawings showing how the kit goes together. On the back are color schemes for the two aircraft decals are provided for, but the print is very small, making some information hard to read. Both aircraft have the Italian medium green with a light brown mottle topsides, with standard pale grey undersides. No mention is made of interior colors. I used the Italian green color, but substituted Luftwaffe RM 79 (sandgelb), which more closely approximates the color used for the camouflage. The first aircraft, 88-10, is in standard markings, while the other, #362, has the colorful markings of an aircraft used by the 22ndGruppo Autonomo in Russia in August, 1941.
The decals are quite good, although I did have some problems with the clear decals with black numbers, as they tended to fold over if not very carefully handled. The decals snuggled down nicely, however, and did not require trimming, as the clear edges disappeared with a coat of glosscote and then dullcote.
On the downside, as is common with Hobby Boss kits, there are a few glitches. There is no wheel well detail, while other HB kits have this. There is no instrument panel, and I added this with plastic card, as you can actually see it through the open cockpit. There is no oil cooler unit which mounts under the cowling, but this can be easily scratch built. Also, there is no pitot tube, and again, this is minor. Some sources list these aircraft as having TWO pitot tubes, one on each wingtip, and I recall reading an account by RN Capt. Eric Brown in the old RAF Flying Review of flying the type, reflecting that the plane had TWO airspeed indicators, and that in a turn, he definitely noticed the differences in airspeed at each wingtip. Other photos show only one, so maybe that was a field modification. Also, the vast majority of these aircraft had no radios installed, and the only radio mast I’ve seen on one of these was on a Co-Belligerent aircraft, and the aircraft had no canopy. The mast was right on top of the headrest. The photo appears in William Green’s Fighters, vol. 2, on p. 158.
A super-detailed replica this kit is not, but for a good basic model of a famous aircraft, this is a good one, and certainly should be considered by serious modelers who build aircraft in this category.
Certainly, some basic research should be done, as there are several variations in cockpit canopy on various versions of this plane, ranging from a fully enclosed cockpit to a “windshield only” option, which would require cutting the rear section off of the kit canopy. Later versions had wing armament and bomb racks, but I couldn’t find any references to these in the books I have. A few early aircraft had spinners, but most did not. Check photos for this. But for a quick build, this model was a lot of fun. I recommend that you have a shot at this one.
Thanks to MMD-Squadron for the review sample.
Trovo molto corretta la tua recensione.
Sebbene alcuni di noi vecchi modellisti probabilmente non gradiscono le molte semplificazioni dello stampo, in realtà da questa scatola si può ricavare un bel modello semplicemente curando bene la colorazione.
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I find your review very correct. Although some of us old modelers probably don't like the many simplifications of the mold, in reality a nice model can be obtained from this box simply by taking good care of the coloring. Thank you