Italeri has been releasing more Italian WWII subjects in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales over the past several years, with mixed success. Several were excellent kits such as the CR.42 and the SM.82 while others, like the most recent Re.2002, were poorly received by some modelers. The recent release of the MC.200 has drawn some negative pre-release publicity as well as comparisons to the well done PCM kit released earlier. Being a sucker for anything in splotchy camouflage, I jumped at the opportunity to try the kit for myself, and found a solid effort with good points and some bad points as well.
The kit contains a total of 86 parts in clear and grey plastic, and a small fret of photoetch parts for the cockpit and landing gear. The recessed panel lines are deep and crisp, although I did find severalinconsistently deep panel lines around the curves of the fuselage to address. There was also a strange area at the very front of the fuselage that was raised, even though it was an engine panel; I re-scribed the area and moved on. For those of you wondering where the Trumpeter ‘mad riveter’ has been, it seems that he was on an exchange trip to Italy, where he applied his trademark skills to the wings of the MC.200. While the rivet/fastener pattern for the fuselage was correct, the wings were beset with long lines of rivets along the panels, none of which bear resemblance to photos of the real thing….sigh. You are then left with the choice of filling them all or leaving them, which is what I chose to do.
I started with the cockpit and found the detail adequate, especially given how small the opening is. Everything fit as designed, and the inclusion of the P.E. instrument panel and the leather, chain & pad thingy used in Italian aircraft dressed the cockpit up nicely. On my example I may have mounted the cockpit floor back too far, it seems the seat sits a little too far aft – something to watch out for.
The next step was the engine and cowling and it is here that Italeri is due credit for a well designed and convincing effort. The engine is a relative simple affair, with separate push rods that connect perfectly to the cylinders, and an exhaust collection ring. While not as detailed as a resin engine, it looks convincing under a coat of paint. The front cooling ring is very finely detailed with the subtle ridges on the surface as seen on the real thing. The interior of the ring is also detailed and adds to the total presentation. My only critique is the optional open engine panel, which I preferred closed and which required a couple of shims during assembly. Once everything is together, you are left with a nicely done power plant that mounts positively with the fuselage and aligns itself well.
The wings were next, and while there was an option for deployed flaps, I chose to close them up. I was a bit disappointed in the detail in the wheel well – which bears no resemblance to the rear plumbing of the engine and the other details found in the real aircraft. But, I have to admit that when everything is buttoned up it doesn’t look bad either. The wings and tail all assembled easily and aligned with a minimum of fuss. A small detail for the wings and horizontal tail – the hinge portions actually had a cover (?) that sat proud of the fuselage which I replicated with small thin pieces of styrene. Also, at the wing roots, the reinforcing plates actually cover the intersection of panel lines, so I removed the molded detail and replaced it with thin plastic stock.
Now for the final details: The canopy is molded in 3 parts. Since I was building a different version that dispensed with the canopy sides, I didn’t install them, but when I dry fitted them they looked the part. The landing gear is a bit fiddly, but looks quite nice when installed, especially with the PE mounts for the landing gear doors. The machine gun barrels are what I consider poor representations, so I replaced them with metal tubing. Some MC 200’s had the longer barrels than others; check your references. The prop includes a good representation of the unique backing plate and seems correct in diameter and shape. I wish they had included the small spinner cap that some aircraft had fitted – it would have allowed more options for the building.
This kit includes a nice decal sheet for 4 different versions, but I chose to use the Sky Models decal sheet in order to do an aircraft with the “Gigi Tre Ossi” markings. Since this particular aircraft had a radio, I used the antenna mount provided in the kit. I used Tamiya paint throughout except for Model Master Italian blue-grey underneath and Citadel Chainmail over sprayed with a thinned coat of copper on the cowling ring.
When compared to an earlier build of the Astrokit MC 200, the Italeri offering looks good, although I think that the vertical tail is a bit anemic and too pointed. Overall, this was a pleasurable build with no real hidden traps in fit or assembly. While not quite as detailed as the PCM kit, the Italeri builds up quickly and into a good representation – I will leave the merits of pricing for others to debate.
Thank you to MRC Academy for the review sample.