LF Models 1/48 Ambrosini SAI 207
LF Models, not exactly a household name here in the U.S., is one of a handful of Czech Republic cottage resin companies to spring up in the last eight years or so. What LF has done has been a mixture of obscure Luftwaffe, pre-WW2, and other lesser known aircraft kits. Amongst them was this little known Italian light defensive point fighter. I didn't find a whole lot of information on it, although what I did find seems to match up pretty well with the kit as presented.
The LF Models resin kit is well molded of a light tan colored resin that appears to be free of surface bubbles and pin holes. Upon closer inspection I found some tiny holes and a bit more excessive resin on the parts than you might find on some other resin kits, this however was only a minor annoyance and they were easily removed.
As with most resin kits, the hardest part of assembly is the cleanup and preparation of the parts. You will, as I did, need some body filler to repair surface imperfections and fill the customary gaps in fitting the pieces. The largest gap was between the one-piece wing and the fuselage; it's made a little easier to clean up in the fact that the gap is 5 or some millimeters away from the actual fuselage on the upper surfaces. The ailerons are butt-joined to the rear of the fuselage, an attempt at slots and tabs were made to fix the pieces together but they ended up being filled in with big nasty air bubbles, it really wasn't worth the while to fix.
The kit contains a photo etched fret which can best be described ' why did they do this?' Very little on the fret would improve the kits' overall appearance, and those parts that would matter are most difficult to even work with. For example, the venturi tube mounted on the right fuselage under the canopy, was two pieces of photo-etched hell. Imagine bending two spring steel brass strips into a cone shaped venturi and you see what I mean. Believe it or not, I actually tried to form one into a cone, you guessed it, circular file bin time. Simpler ways of making that part do exist, try stretching plastic tube stock and cutting it to size, looks pretty good.
Now the kit was actually looking like a plane, but the engraving was a bit too delicate when it comes to the movable surfaces, they end up needing some help from an engraving tool. There wasn't a whole lot of surface detail on the original thank goodness, but what there was is not well represented in the kit. So be ready to add a few bumps and hinges on the under sides of the flying surfaces, and air cooler intakes on the upper surface of the cowling.
Painting and Decals
The painting as one might expect was pretty simple, late war green over late war light gray, not terribly exciting, but I tried to make the best of it by adding the customary white fuselage band and tail cross using Mr. Color primary white. The decal sheet looked pretty hopeless in first reviewing the kit, but after I got them applied I was pretty impressed, colors and opacity looked very nice. Seeing that the whole upper surface was little more than a green field, I decided to shade areas with lighter and darker shades of the original color to break up the monotony.
Canopy time! Do you sweat and shudder when it comes time to affix the dreaded Vacuform canopy? Especially when only one is supplied? Well I do, luck always runs with the foolish and that's all I need to say about that. Coat the thing with Future floor wax, mask with Bare Metal foil, and run. Otherwise it wasn't too difficult, just be patient with fitting it to the fuselage opening. No gun-sight was supplied and I doubt this small aircraft was equipped with a proper one, so let's add an exterior bead and crosshair type typically found on Italian fighters as a backup to the normal gun-sight.
Well, the assembly of this kit was no less than challenging, but not overly so, that makes it suitable for modelers with some scratch-building experience and resin kits in their resume. A definite departure from the usual Macchi and Fiats typically found in the Italian section of most display shelves. Keep up the good work LF Models.