Sweet 1/144 Macchi C.200

KIT: Sweet 1/144 Macchi C.200
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $9.00
DECALS: Many Options
REVIEWER: Rick Crabill
NOTES: 2 kits in one box.

HISTORY

                The Macchi C.200 was one of the main fighters of the Italian Regia Aeronautica. Highly lauded for its maneuverability and handling qualities, it was a worthy opponent for earlier Allied fighters such as the Hurricane and P-40. It was developed into the superlative C.202 Folgore with the addition of a German DB 601 inline engine. More can be found on the web of this significant warplane.

THE KIT

                This is the original issue of this kit. The box blurb claims “Easy to Build – just 1 minute!” It is simpler than later Sweet offerings in this scale, having no cockpit interior or wheel wells. Nonetheless this is a well-engineered model. It consists of 22 parts including three separate canopies – check your references for which style canopy is correct for your particular version of the Saetta. Two full decal sheets are provided with markings for four aircraft. NOTE: the “smoke-ring” decals are not part of this kit, but are included in the later issue of the C.200 AS “Tropical Type”. That kit also has the decals that represent wheel well interiors. I recommend purchasing both kits, giving you four Macchis and a myriad of marking options.

CONSTRUCTION

                Base construction really does take about a minute! I recommend keeping the cowling/exhaust assembly (parts 6 & 7) separate from the rest of the model until final assembly. This will make painting the cowling much easier. Beware of one thing – the tailwheel molded into the fuselage is very fragile, and can snap of easily! Also, the air filter (part 8) is miniscule and very easy to lose.

COLORS & MARKINGS

                I chose to build my Saetta in the markings of “386-4” of the 386th Squadriglia of the 21st Gruppo Autonomo in Voroscilovgrad, Russia in 1942. Italian participation in the Eastern Front campaign is not well known, and the Macchi C.200 served well, showing a marked ascendancy over Russian I-16s and I-153s.  Basic scheme is Italian Dark Olive Green (F505296) with Italian Hazel Tan (F505284)mottling on the upper surfaces, while the underside is IJN Sky Gray (F505280), very close to the Italian light grey. (All paints are Polly S unless otherwise mentioned). The Yellow cowling, fuselage band, and wingtip undersurfaces provide a nice touch of color. Painting is greatly helped by an excellent color close-up of the cowling on the boxart. A C.200 in an Italian museum shows the yellow on the wingtips covering the aileron, while other sources do not. I think either way would be correct.

                 After priming, Testors rattle-can Yellow was sprayed onto the wingtips, cowling, and propeller. The engine assembly and prop were set aside for later. Once dry, the wingtips were masked, and the Dark Olive Green and Sky Grey were applied to the aircraft by hand. Once this was completed, the Hazel Tan mottling was added by using a round toothpick to dab the paint in an irregular pattern. I wasn’t too happy with the final result but I think it unlikely that I could do any better in this scale. The oil cooler ring on the front of the cowling was painted very carefully with Testors Brass 1182. Polly S Black was used for the engine , exhaust stacks, propeller and bombs. The prop hub was painted Silver. The cockpit was done in RAF Interior Green, which is almost the exact same shade as Italian interior color.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

                 Final assembly consisted of gluing the engine to the fuselage. The canopy was added last. The underwing bomb racks were left off until after decaling. The decals went on well in spite of their small size.

CONCLUSIONS

                I cannot recommend these kits too highly. For about 10 bucks you get two well-detailed kits of an interesting subject, with colorful and varied markings options. Detail freaks will want to scratchbuild a cockpit and wheel wells, but most of us will be content to build this kit out of the box.

On a personal note, I purchased these Sweet 1/144 kits because my diminished motor skills require me to build simpler, less complex kits. My reasoning was that I would not need to bother about canopy framing and interior detail in this scale. Assembly was for the most part easy, but when my hand tremors started up as they do they were magnified by a factor of two because of the small scale! I readily admit that I just did without the tiniest parts such as guns and the air filter, and chose the “gear up” option for simplicity. I will say that the marking scheme I chose was somewhat beyond me. I plan on building the second kit in this box in the overall NMF scheme of a post-war trainer. Fortunately, the other Macchi C.200 kit has the smoke-ring decals over a basic Tan and Grey scheme, so painting should be much easer.

REFERENCES

Aircraft in Profile # 64 – The Macchi C.200 

Air International Vol. 13, No. 6 (December 1977) – “The Sprightly Saetta” 

“Famous Fighters of the Second World War “, by William Greene

Rick Crabill

April 2008

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