Fiat G.55 Centauro Comparison Build in 1/72 Scale Part V

Painting is one of my favorite parts of a build. This is one of the Sword kits wearing the segmented three-color scheme, with a fuselage stripe and Axis yellow recognition panel under the nose. There was a lot of masking required for this scheme, which was done with Tamiya tape.
The other palette used on this batch consisted of the standard Luftwaffe RLM 74 / 75 / 76 colors. The Mr. Color paints used were thinned with Mr. Leveling Thinner and performed well.
I used Tamiya black wash to bring out the panel lines. This is best applied over a gloss coat, and any excess can be wiped away with a cotton swab and thinner. I use standard paint thinner for this, if you use a “hot” thinner like those intended for lacquers it will cut through all the paint layers.
This is the Supermodel Silurante with decals from the Sky Models sheet, which performed flawlessly. This was the only G.55 of the four which I could confirm wore the ANR fasces in the prescribed manner with both the outer axe heads facing forwards. Two of the others likely carried two “left-handed” insignia on the upper wings, the remaining example I couldn’t confirm either way.
While the paint coats were drying I went to work on the landing gear. The parts on the left are from the Supermodel kit, these are a bit clunky and like most kits of the era the legs are too thick. The middle gear are replacements built up from Albion tube and Evergreen sheet, with resin castings of the Sword wheels. The gear on the right are from the Sword kit.
When I get to this point I always get the feeling that the build is almost complete, but aside from the prop and the wheels there are still several “fiddlybits” left to make and attach. I began listing them all in my mind, but when I got to twenty I stopped counting.
A view into the cockpit showing the 3D printed seatbelts from Kits-World, KW3D72019. This was my first time using these, they really look the part. They are intended to be applied like decals, but they do have some heft to them which allows them to be draped around to a degree and looks more convincing than standard decals.
This is the Silurante with the torpedo in place. The torpedo was painted Alclad Burnt Iron, which turned out to be almost a black with very little of the iron look I was hoping for. It didn’t look bad though so I left it as it was.
Here are all four completed models together, the two Sword kits in the foreground, Special Hobby in the upper left, and Supermodel in the upper right. I really like the sleek look of the Centauro, and the design is much bigger than I expected it would be. Updating the Supermodel kit added some extra time to building the batch but it was fun to add all the little details.


The Sword kits are the most recent issue of the three.  They are limited-run kits but still nice even without the locator pins.  They are not Tamigawa kits but still go together well, with the exception of gaps at the wing roots.  You get two complete kits in the box with decals for seven different machines, and the kits provide the option for both styles of vertical tails.  Shapes look good, they have captured the outline of the G.55 well.  This is the preferred place to start as it will be the most accurate out of the box and the easiest to build, plus you’re getting two kits for the price of one.

The decals are printed by Techmod and are of the best quality.  However, if you follow Sword’s marking guides you will apply the flags backwards on the starboard side, and they do not provide wing fasces with the axe on the right side facing forward, which will certainly be wrong for some if not most of the schemes included.

The Special Hobby kit is another limited run effort and is a decade older than Special Hobby’s.  The molding has thicker attachment points on the sprues and more pronounced mold lines, and the parts show a little less finesse and detail.  Many of the finer parts are cast in resin, and there is a small fret of PE included as well.

The Special Hobby kit has some fit issues at the wing roots.  The wheelwell is provided as a resin piece, and this also does not fit well between the wing halves which results in another seam to fill along the leading edge.  The PE fret is stainless steel which makes it difficult to remove the parts, I wound up only using the radiator grids and sway braces and skipped all the rest.  The shapes look good on the finished product though.  It can still be built up into a nice model, just not as easily as the Sword kit.

Being much older, the Supermodel kit is surpassed by both the others and is not the best place to start to get an accurate, detailed model.  It completely lacks any cockpit or wheelwell detail, so these will have to be added by the modeler. Panel lines are raised and the detail at the control surfaces is soft, so you will need to either ignore this or re-scribe the whole kit.  I built it as a skills exercise and for the fun of adding the improvements.

The kit does have some glaring shape issues once you get to looking at it.  The biggest of these is the fuselage is about 4 mm too short aft of the cockpit.  This can be corrected with a little surgery.  The wings are also too broad in cord, so you’ll need to reduce the trailing edge about 2 mm at the roots and 1 mm at the tips, and then thin the trailing edge from the inside.  This will throw off the dimensions of the flaps and ailerons so those will have to be re-scribed at the very least.  The fuselage appears thick and bloated compared to the other two and I couldn’t find an easy way to fix that.  I think the wing is positioned a little bit too far forward on the fuselage, another issue which I left alone.

I knew what I was getting into when I opened the box and looked forward to tinkering with the Supemodel kit, but the Sword kit is where you want to start if you want an easier row to hoe and a better finished model.

G.55 Construction Part I here:


9 thoughts on “Fiat G.55 Centauro Comparison Build in 1/72 Scale Part V

  1. Jeff:
    GREAT ARTICLE. Your skill set is just awesome & your Blog is great. Your love of the hobby and your willingness to share information as well as technology and opinion is a quality that more of us modelers should try to emulate and again thank you very much. JNP

    Liked by 2 people

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