AZ Model’s Breda 27 M Prototipo in 1/72nd Scale

By Jaroslaw Kierat

Background

The Breda Ba.27 was inspired by a marvelous racing plane, the Travel Air Model R, (Mystery S) although other sources quote the similar-looking Boeing Pea Shooter as an inspiration. Since the Boeing was issued at about the same time, and the Italian government purchased some of the Mysteries, I presume the Boeing, as well as the Breda, stem from the Mystery, even though both failed to capture the racing plane's elegance. Still, I prefer the aesthetics of the Ba27 over the Pea Shooter.

In spite of the numerous struts and the lavish rigging, it was the first fully metal Italian-built aircraft. While the first prototype of the Ba27 was initially made of metal tubing with wooden skin, the first upgrade featured a completely metal design. This also included a different engine, which resulted in a modified center of balance and therefore the cockpit was moved further forward. The power plant was a nine-cylinder star engine, the 654HP/481KW-strong Bristol Mercury, license-built by Alpha-Romeo. To emphasize the changes, the indicative “M” was added to the type designation. This final version was then presented to the Italian Air Force. It did not encounter much interest, though.

In the end, the Ba.27 found use in the European theatre. Eighteen units were sold to Nationalist China, which were used in the campaign against Japan, yet there are no reports about their effectiveness. Some images of these planes can be found on the web, with (probably) an overall dark green paint scheme and large sun-shaped insignia—the same as the Flying Tigers. The Chinese theatre kit is also available from the same manufacturer.

In the Box

The kit is a Czech short run kit from AZ-models in 1/72 scale. The box contents are marvelous, with excellent rivet details, some resin goodies, an Eduard photo-etch fret and a small decal sheet by Tally Ho! For a more detailed review, please see the in-box review in the May, 2007 edition of Internet Modeler.

Construction

The cockpit is well detailed. The photo-etched parts shaped into a filigree framework and the seatbelts produce a rather nice result. I painted the fuselage interior medium green which I mixed using Tamiya Japanese Imperial Navy green, and yellow. The structure on the cockpit walls came out well after a light wash of thinned oil paints. The instrument panel is made from a bent PE-part, with instrument dials printed on clear acetate. It’s a good idea to cut the acetate into three parts and glue it before bending the panel, otherwise it may come unglued.

After closing the fuselage I noticed that a handling port for tensioning the strings was necessary, so I drilled a hole, approximately where the propeller shaft would touch the fuselage. The two halves had an offset, and unfortunately the shape of the section profile of the “hunchback” looks different from the left than the right. With plenty of sanding, most of it was corrected, but unfortunately a lot of surface detail was lost in the process. Re-scribing panel lines on the curved shape in the small scale was also an adventurous activity: I used a clay jig “bed” to line-up the model and get the lines straight.

For rigging, I used 0.1mm (0.040-inch) invisible thread. I pulled the rigging through the wings before joining the wing halves. It was supposed to be enough to attach the connections above and below the wing, and tighten the whole set-up like a shoe-lace. Unfortunately, as the holes on the top and bottom side were not aligned, some threads did not slide far enough, so "lacing" of large parts of the rigging became impossible. Finally, my best approach turned out to be gluing long threads in the wing (sticking out of the top and bottom of the wing), and in the bottom part of the fuselage (between the landing gear), and drilling through the landing gear fairing (0.5mm) and the upper part of the fuselage. In this way, the H and X-shaped rigging was attached by feeding the threads in two directions through the holes in the landing gear. After attaching the thread with super-glue, the excess thread was removed with a sharp blade.

I applied the rigging on the upper side first, after the decals were put on, which simplified the handling of the long stripe on the fuselage. The rigging was easily tightened later by feeding it inside the fuselage to the opening in the front, and gluing from the inside. To complete the rigging, some supports are required on top of the wing, half-way between the attachment points. For that I used thin copper wire from a strand a regular power cable.

Attaching the wings is fairly straightforward, but if you want them straight, you need a jig, which is most easily made from modeling clay. Again, plenty of putty was required for restoring the surface detail.

I used a compass to position the landing gear. Placing the needle in the rigging holes, I drew two semi-circles to find the attachment point, where I drilled a hole in the wing. The one-piece resin cast legs have metal pins for the “male” part of the joint. I used measuring calipers in order to get the pins on both legs in about the same position.

Painting and Details

The whole model was primed using Mr. Surfacer then coated with Alclad black gloss primer, and finally with Alclad, polished Aluminum. The decals are good quality, but the ones for the tail are too small, so the red-white-green should be painted on. One advantage is the color for the fuselage stripe matches really well with the quoted shade of Humbrol (number 60). This makes the blending really easy, which helps, since the decals are part of the red band.

After painting the red part of the fuselage, the struts were sprayed silver and attached. Careful cleaning and dry-fitting was necessary here because they were attached to a nearly finished model. At this stage, a thin coat of clear was used to prevent finger prints on the shiny silver.

The canopy in clear part is tricky because the printing rubs off during handling. I recommend scanning it as a backup before proceeding. I had to print mine again because the print on the original part rubbed off.

The border of the cockpit was made using pieces of leftover black decal (actually from my old Revell He70). Masking in this small space is next to impossible unless you have the skills of a surgeon. However, applying pieces of decal for the side padding and headrest produced—after a treatment with plenty of micro-sol—the desired result.

The propeller received a new bearing made from a syringe needle. The engine is resin so it provides enough bearing surface when drilled through. This allows the prop to turn in the slightest airflow! Fitting the engine into the cowling requires some dry-fitting and sanding. The engine was painted with Alclad but not sealed. I used water-based weathering paint, which worked nicely. The front of the cowling was painted with copper: a simple Revell enamel. The whole set-up was then glued to the fuselage.

As a final touch, the photo-etched pitot-tube was glued to the wing, as well as two small landing lights, which I made by melting tiny pieces of colored styrene on a piece of aluminum foil over a candle.

One interesting feature is the symbol on the fuselage: It shows the fascia—a bundle of sticks with an axe—the symbol of Mussolini's movement, and the origin of the word fascism. I don't know what made me want to build another fascist aircraft, but I presume it's the irresistible spirit of the Golden Era!

Conclusion

I bought the kit on impulse (for some 15 Euros), when I saw it in a stack of kits at a club meeting few months ago. It was supposed to be a "weekend job", but took about half a year, on and off. The biggest drawback was during the final assembly, when some superglue landed on the nearly-finished model. I managed to repair most of it, but the surface could not be fully restored. Anyway, the little silver bee is a nice amendment to my model display, and another testimony to my favorite era of aviation.


Roll Models

Sandle Hobbies

Profile Art EN Banyai-Riepl Illustrations