WWII Italian aircraft are some of the more attractive designs of the period. I have a few in the stash, but oddly I have none in the display case, something which I will fix with this build. The Sword and Special Hobby kits are relatively new limited run efforts, while the ancient Supermodel kit is “mainstream” with locater pins, although the age of the molds makes this pretty much moot. “2 in 1” means different things to different manufacturers, Sword covers both interpretations by including two complete kits with parts to model two different versions. All of these are end-opening boxes, the old flattened Supermodel box best demonstrates one of the reasons why this is a bad idea.
This is a sprue shot of the Sword kit, you get two of these sprues to the box. Surface detail is finely engraved and looks great. The G.55 has engine accessories visible in the wheelwell similar to the Fw 190D, this is provided as a resin insert. In the lower left region of the sprue is a part for the shorter version of the vertical tail, to use this the molded-on tall tail must be removed with a razor saw. This kit was first issued in 2017.
The molding on the 2005 issue Special Hobby kit is a little softer, the parts a little thicker, the sprue gates a little thicker. Surface engraving is still nice.
Special Hobby provides several parts as resin castings and also a photoetch sheet for some of the finer details. These are often a mixed blessing, we’ll have to see which of these get used in the end.
The Supermodel kit was new in 1968. The Silurante was a modified version intended to carry a torpedo which necessitated splitting the radiator among other modifications. Back in the day, the cockpit detail consisted of a seat and a pilot, and the wheelwell was a hole. Surface detail is raised and the dimensions are suspect. Some modelers would call this kit “unbuildable” at this point but I see the challenge as an opportunity to hone my skills.
These are the fuselage sections taped together to compare profiles. In the foreground are the Sword and Special Hobby fuselages which match up very well. In the background are the Special Hobby and Supermodel kits. The most obvious problem is the Supermodel fuselage is about 4mm too short aft of the cockpit. This is fixable, but obviously the old Supermodel kit is not the ideal place to start if you want an accurate model out of the box.
These are the underwing parts. Sword on the bottom, Special Hobby in the middle, and Supermodel on top. Span-wise these compare well, but the Supermodel wing is too thick in chord. In addition, the old Supermodel kit has both shape and size issues with the wheel well cut-out. The other two kits compare well, both in size and detail.
Here are the wheels compared, Sword, Special Hobby, and Supermodel from left to right. The Sword wheels are closest to what can be seen in photographs.
The cockpit assemblies are a commentary on the progression of molding standards over the years. The dark gray parts are from the Sword kits, the shapes are good and the molding is good for a limited run kit. Special Hobby provides details in resin, they haven’t captured all the nuances of the prototype but the parts are functional. The Supermodel parts are an attempt at camouflaging the lack of any detail by inserting a pilot, but that was typical for the time.
Part II here: