Lone Star Models 1/48 Macchi M-5
The Macchi M-5 was a small, single seat, flying boat fighter which first appeared in early 1918, and was armed with either one or two Vickers gun. It was used by the Italian Navy, and also by the United States Navy. It is interesting to note that in late 1917 a U.S. Navy squadron was based at the Italian installation at Porto Corsini. They were issued Italian flying boats, and engaged Austro-Hungarian units on a regular basis. They became the most decorated U.S. navy unit in World War 1. In fact, of the 30 pilots who flew missions from this base, 14 were awarded Navy Crosses and one the Medal of Honor. Charles Hazeltine Hammann was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing Ensign George H. Ludlow on August 21, 1918. Both were flying the Macchi M-5, and Ludlow was shot down in a battle with Austro-Hungarian Phonix fighters. The story of this battle and rescue is told in the book Medal of Honor Aviators of World war One by Alan Durkota. This book has several good photos of the Macchi M-5, as well as profiles of Hammann and Ludlow's aircraft, and is the only reference that I have on this aircraft. (A Windsock Datafile has recently been issued on the Macchi but I have not yet seen it.)
The 1/48 scale multi-media kit #LSM 0134 was bought via mailorder directly from Lone Star Models. It contains finely moulded resin parts for the hull, wings, engine cowling, floats and tailplane. There is a vacuformed sheet for the front upper fuselage. There are also many white metal parts, such as struts, guns, upper engine, prop & interior details.
A sheet of well registered decals are included, although the green and red are much lighter than that used by Americal/Gryphon for Italian markings. I don't know what color is correct for the insignias but the included decals look pretty close to the profiles in the Medal of Honor book.
An 11 x 17 sheet of drawings are the only instructions, and they show a complete interior view, but most of this will have to be scratchbuilt. The resin hull includes a moulded in fuel tank and seat bearers, but instrument panel and throttle quadrant must be built from scratch. There is a small metal part that I was unable to identify, it appears to be a tube with a handle attached to the end, but it's not a T handle like on a fuel charging pump.
The kit parts match the drawings included in the kit perfectly, and should build up into a nice model of this important fighter. The basic color scheme of the M-5 was clear doped linen wings, varnished wood hull with gloss white on the lower hull. Some of the markings used on U.S. Navy aircraft were very colorful and distinct, giving one many options to be able to create a unique finished model.
My kit had a flaw on one of the wings - lots of air bubbles had been trapped in the trailing edge of one upper wing. Upon emailing Lone Star, owner/manufacturer Mike West sent me a new one in perfect condition. A full listing of Lone Star kits are on his web site.
The price of the kit is $48.00 + shipping & handling. It is not recommended for beginners, as there will be some scratchbuilding required to detail the engine and interior, and a photoetched sheet would have been nice, but I can highly recommend this kit to anyone with resin/vac experience.