Hasegawa 1/48 Macchi C.205 Veltro

KIT #: Jt 33
PRICE: $43 AUD a few years ago
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Brad Gaff
NOTES: Third Group Decals and etched metal seatbelts used

HISTORY

 The origins of the Macchi 205 date back to 1936, when the Italian Air Force placed an order with Aermacchi for a high performance interceptor. The Macchi  MC 200 was the first offering by the company. Due to a lack of power from the radial engine, the DB 601 liquid cooled inline engine was fitted during 1940, eventually resulting in the Macchi 202. However the Ď202 had its own share of problem,  primarily it was woefully underarmed, sporting only two 12.7mm fuselage mounted machine guns. To rectify the problems of the Macchi 202, the more powerful DB 605 engine was fitted and provision made to accommodate two 20mm cannon in the wings.  The first prototype flew on 19th April 1942, making a very favourable impression on its test pilot, Guido Carestiato.  The Macchi 205 was a very capable machine, easily a match for the P-40 and comparable to the P-38 and P-51 but there were never enough. Only 250 machines were built between October 1943 and May 1944. Records show claims for 113 aircraft destroyed with a further 45 probable for the loss of 55 machines and 49 pilots.

 As with many Axis (and Allied) aircraft the MC 205ís career didnít end with the cessation of hostilities in 1945. The Middle East gave a second life to some 42 MC 205ís, delivered between 1948 and 1951 to Egypt, which was, at the time, desperate for any aircraft it could get. Some of these aircraft were new built, but the vast majority were modified MC 202ís. Around 80% of the airframe between the two types were common, so conversion was fairly simple. However the retrofitted 202ís retained their fixed tail wheels and had no antenna lead in on the upper rear fuselage. The Egyptian Macchi 205ís saw extensive combat during Operation Chorev (22nd Dec 1948 Ė 7th Jan 1949) and wore the worst of the action, losing at least 8 to Israeli Spitfires while only claiming 1 damaged and 3 probable victories.

THE KIT

The kit comes in the usual Hasegawa light grey plastic with extremely well done surface detail. No flash was encountered on any of the parts. Cockpit detail is excellent straight out of the box and can be seen through the inclusion of a two piece canopy. Cartograph decals look great and have gone into my spares folder for future use.

 Although the decal options included are for early series aircraft, the 20mm cannons for the Series III Macchiís are included. You also receive a late style windscreen. Instructions follow the typical Hasegawa style, well presented and easy to follow. 

CONSTRUCTION

I started where most of us do, with the cockpit. Assembly was straight forward; however I decided to add some seatbelts to the rather large and naked seat. I lacked any Italian seat belts and couldnít actually find any aftermarket ones (if you know of some in 1/48 drop me a line), so I used some RAF belts I had from Red Roo. I painted the cockpit Humbrol Matt 30 green and black for the instrument panel.

Installing the cockpit and gluing the fuselage was very easy with the fit being every bit as good as Tamiya. A quick run over with some 800 grade sandpaper was all that was needed. The fit of the horizontal stabilisers was so good I opted to leave them off and install them after Iíd finished painting.

I painted the wheel well RLM 66 light blue and then assembled it. Once again the fit was perfect, but just take a minute to make sure you align everything correctly. Wing to fuselage fit was almost perfect but did require some correcting and re-scribing aft of the radiator, so make sure you clean up this join before fixing the radiator in place.

 The oil coolers need some minor clean up on their joins however both upper and lower cowlings need no filler, but again take care to align them correctly.

 To make a Macchi 205 that was an upgraded Ď202, I removed the antenna lead in on the top of the fuselage by way of xacto blade and glued the retractable tail wheel doors shut and sanded the joins smooth. You should also reduce in size the fairing forward of the tail wheel, but I decided not to.

 Tail wheel, prop and spinner, horizontal stabilisers, undercarriage and doors, canopy and exhausts were all painted and attached after the main camouflage was laid down.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I chose to build the Egyptian Macchi as I have a strong interest in the post war use of Axis aircraft.

The painting guide on the Third Group decals is very good and calls for Dark Olive Green and RAF Middle Stone over Azure Blue. I used Gunze Azure Blue and Middle Stone, but I canít remember the Green.  Any RAF dark green will probably do, as the REAF had copious amounts of RAF paint on hand. Although the upper surface camouflage pattern is unknown, they do give you a guide which I chose to follow.

 I purchased the Third Group Decals off a model club mate, which include markings and paint guide for 2 REAF Macchiís (but note only enough national insignia and bands for 1 aircraft).  The decals are excellent, settling down without any problems over Humbrol gloss cote. The black and white bands are particularly impressive, as they fit extremely well. You might want to leave off your pitot tube, or you will end up having to drill a hole through one of the decals with a sharp blade so your decal fits over the tube though! Also, donít use too much Mr Mark Softener on them; otherwise you will melt the decals (as I almost did).

 Weathering was achieved using a wash of water with a drop of liquid detergent and dry black pastel powder mixed together. It was sparingly applied to the panels, allowed to dry for 5 minutes then rubbed off in the direction of the airflow with a damp lint free cloth.  Dry pastel powder was used for exhaust staining and for a dusty appearance of the wheels and gear doors. Paint chipping was achieved with a silver gel pen. I used Humbrol matt cote to seal in everything .

CONCLUSIONS

I think the Italians made some of the most aesthetically pleasing aircraft, and the Macchi 205 is no exception. The Hasegawa kit does the aircraft justice and is, in my opinion, suitable for all skill levels. If you spot one around and have an interest in Italian aircraft, buy it, you wonít be disappointed!

REFERENCES

Alex Yofe, Spitfire - Star Of Israel, Ventura Publications, New Zealand, 1996

Scale Aviation Modeller International, Volume 8 Issue 8, August 2002

www.acig.org

Brad Gaff

 

September 2009

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