Book Review Fiat G.55 Centauro

Fiat G.55 Centauro

Series:  Kagero in Combat Number 6

By Eduardo Manuel Gil Martínez

Softcover, 84 pages, bibliography, drawings, and color profiles

Published by Kagero, March 2021

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎ 83-66673-25-1

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-83-66673-25-0

Dimensions: ‎ 8.2 x 0.3 x 11.6 inches

The Fiat G.55 Centauro (Centaur) was an Italian fighter built around the Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine.  It was arguably the best Italian fighter of the Second World War, and evaluations conducted by the Luftwaffe found it superior to the Bf 109 and Fw 190 then in service.  It was even considered for mass production in Germany, but it was estimated to take three times the man-hours to produce than the comparable Luftwaffe types.  It first flew in 1943, but due to the chaotic war situation in Italy it was only produced in small numbers and those that did enter service fought with the fascist Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana (ANR).  After the war production resumed for the Italian Air Force as well as exports to Argentina and Syria.

There are few modeling references available on the Centauro, so this recent work is appreciated.  The text covers the development and operational history of the type.  The book is well illustrated with black and white photos and/or technical drawings on every page.  There are beautiful color profiles of six different aircraft, two of which include multiple views.  There are also eight pages of line drawings, seven of which are nominally rendered in 1/48 scale.  There is also a print of the cover artwork inserted loose which is suitable for framing.

On the down side, the translation could have used one more edit from a native English speaker familiar with aviation terminology.  The text is still comprehensible but just doesn’t flow well.  Of more relevance to modelers, the scale drawings are not reproduced to scale, the editors have chosen to expand the drawings to fit the page.  This results in the drawings being slightly overscale and prevents them from being used directly by modelers, but being close in scale constitutes a trap for the unwary.  In the photo below I have posed a 1/72 scale Sword fuselage half (which is the correct size) on the page for comparison, the same error is present on the 1/48 scale drawings. There are volumes in the Osprey aviation series and Anatomy of the Ship which share this error so it is always prudent to check the scale on drawings regardless of the source.  An odd omission is the drawings do not cover the torpedo bomber variant which is popular with modelers.

Despite the problems there are few good references available on the G.55, and I feel the positives of this work outweigh the negatives.  Recommended, just correct the size of the drawings before they get to the bench!


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