a-im-title.jpg (7789 bytes) a-im-month.jpg (6572 bytes) a-top-corner.jpg (4494 bytes)

AMLís 1/72 Fiat G.50 Series I

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

History

The Fiat G.50 could have been an excellent fighter, but multiple design changes and requirements kept it from becoming what it could have been. The G.50 was Italyís first all-metal fighter fitted with retractable landing gear, and while not as maneuverable as the Macchi MC.200 (its main competition), it was more than adequate for the role. Examples from the first batch (Series I) quickly found their way to Spain, where they fought in the Spanish Civil War alongside Bf109s of the Condor Legion. It was during this conflict that one of the major shortcomings of the G.50 became apparent: visibility. The view from the cockpit of the G.50 was decidedly inferior to that of the Bf109 and even the I-16. The other main problem with the G.50 was that of armament, with only light machine guns being fitted. During the Spanish Civil War and the early years of the Second World War, there was little thought given to cannon-armed fighters in Italy. Thus, when the Bf109 was moving towards 20mm cannons, which were lighter and had about the same rate of fire, the G.50 kept its 12.7mm machine guns. This difference would become more and more apparent as the war dragged on, until the G.50 was hopelessly outclassed.

The Kit

The AML kit of the G.50 is very welcome indeed, as the only other injection choice is the old Airfix kit. If youíre really into making something from nothing, the Airfix kit is a great starting point, as it will need changes to the cowling, a new engine, a cockpit of some sort, and a bunch of other smaller details. But it can be built up into a nice G.50. The only problem is that itís a G.50bis, which was the final variant of the G.50. If you want to model any other G.50 variant, your work is even greater, as much of the fuselage is different between the G.50bis and the earlier series. Which is where the AML kit comes in.

This kit is a Series I G.50, easily identifiable by its enclosed cockpit. Not all Series I G.50s had the enclosed cockpit, however, and AML has made a note of this as well. Extra parts are included to make every Series I option, including the humpbacked open cockpit variant seen in Finland.

Starting with the interior, the cockpit is a nice blend of etched brass and plastic, with a nicely done three-piece instrument panel (not counting the film backs), a brass throttle quadrant, rudder pedals, and other fine details. Sidewall detail is molded into the fuselage halves and accentuated with brass and plastic pieces. With the small cockpit opening (made even smaller if you choose the open cockpit), this is more than enough detail.

Moving to the outside, the engine is injection plastic and looks to have some nice detail, but it is trapped in some heavy flash. Some careful cleanup will be needed here, or maybe just replace it with a resin engine. The cowling is two pieces, top and bottom, and traps the engine inside. Cowl flaps are provided in brass, which is a nice touch. The exhaust stubs are provided, and the instructions illustrate how you should drill them out to give the proper look. If you have some brass tubing lying around thatís the right diameter, it might be easier to replace the kit parts with that instead of trying to drill out the plastic.

The rest of the construction is straightforward, with the only other bit of work needed being the finishing of the wing guns (again, an illustration is provided showing how to drill them out, but replacing them with appropriate tubing would probably be better in the long run). The final choice needed is to determine which variant youíre going to do and set the cockpit up accordingly. If youíre doing a Spanish Civil War version, the enclosed cockpit will be needed. For the Finnish examples, the bulged turtleback will be needed, but check your sources, as some used the straight back.

The decals provide options for one Spanish Civil War and two Finnish G.50s. The instructions only provide the information for the two Finnish G.50s, while the decal placement for the SCW one is found on the back of the box, in color. The decals are printed by Propagteam and are very thin and in perfect register. The only challenge will be in getting that Italian camouflage looking right in 1/72 scale.

Conclusion

With the Fiat G.50 seeing service in the Spanish Civil War and in World War Two, itís surprising that it has taken this long for a nice kit of the earlier G.50 to come out. AMLís offering is very well done and is quite welcome indeed. And for all of you who are wanting a later variant, rumor has it that AML will be doing more G.50 variants, so finally this Italian fighter is getting its due.




pragolog-sm.jpg (5410 bytes)





browse-book-stack-rev.gif (3989 bytes)

tacair.jpg (6610 bytes)

Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM
87199-0933
USA

E-Mail Us!

Next: Azur's 1/72 LN411
Previous: Contents
a-bottom-corner.jpg (4577 bytes)