Hasegawa 1/48 Macchi C.202 'Folgore'
|NOTES:||True Details Resin Cockpit & MSAP # 4853 MC.202 decal|
The Macchi MC.202 Folgore was an Alfa-Romeo engined DB 601-A1, license built from Daimler Benz, 1,175 h.p. inline engine replacement for the MC.200 Saetta. It continued the form, function and lineage of the MC.200 radial engined fighter built by Aeronautica Macchi, and subcontractors Ambrosini and Breda in Italy. The MC.202 initial prototype flew in April of 1942. Its initial armament consisted of two fuselage mounted Breda-SAFAT .50 caliber (12.7mm) guns – a bit light compared to its contemporaries.
The prototype C.202 (serial # M.M. 445(2) flew in the summer of 1940. The first production aircraft rolled off the assembly line in May 1941. It was well liked by its pilots and served in the Mediterranean, Russian and North African fronts.
Hasegawa released Macchi C.202 "Folgore” in April 1994. It was quite well received and a big seller in 1/48th scale kits for many years since it provides an accurately detailed Macchi 202 with a nice OOB cockpit. After building a few Hasegawa MC.202/205 airframes using combinations of resin cockpits and the kit plastic with some Eduard etched I found no matter what you do with the cockpit, whether you replace the seat or just add a set of color seatbelts you will be quite pleased with the results OOB. There are some complete resin cockpits available as well from SBS Models and Squadron that are very nice.
The MC.202 Folgore’s tail wheel comes in a few varieties and Hasegawa provides alternate parts for this. The kit’s cockpit in an OOB configuration looks very nice. I use resin cockpits frequently for the improved details or to replace a deficient kit plastic cockpit. This kit, and the Hasegawa MC.202/205 series, does not motivate me to do so since it is quite nice OOB.
The exhausts are undersized and for some “unusable”. There is a resin replacement from Ultracast # 48119 (which I used in this build), that provides a much better detailed and quite robust exhaust. It is a clear improvement on a very visible area. The Quickboost alternative gives hollowed out exhaust tips but looks a bit flat in dimensions compared to the Ultracast unit.
The undercarriage legs and landing gear are riddled with deep ejector pin marks requiring a bit of clean-up. The undercarriage legs holes have to be filled and sanded or replaced by a white metal replacement.
This kit is nearly perfect in shape and dimensions and shows off some of the finest surface detail you can get. There are some small errors or omissions, Fixes for all of these are detailed in Mauricio Di Terlizzi’s book, Macchi MC 202 Folgore, Aviolibre Special #3.
The instructions are excellent, very typical of Hasegawa’s time proven instructions. There’s nothing new here since it is composed of well detailed explanations and clear illustrations. The parts count is low and will surprise you because the build goes very fast as a result of the minimal parts count.
The kit cockpit is nicely laid out and includes decals for the instrument clusters. The cockpit and sidewalls have adequate detail. I only say adequate because the Macchi 200 to 205 series seat used a unique restraint system composed of chains, belts and a seat pad that is missing from the OOB contents. You can fix this with the Eduard Color Zoom set or with a resin replacement seat from Ultracast with cast seat belts.
There are lots of other very nice details Hasegawa provides like the part # B17 magnetic compass, a nice trim wheel, etc. with its OOB parts. Many resin cockpit sets actually have you use some of the Hasegawa plastic cockpit parts because they are that well moulded.
The wing subassembly that you build in step 3 has an adequate main wheel well that captures a small amount of the complex look of a C.202/205’s accessory and main wheel well bay details. But, compared to the photos of the actual area it does look “boxed-in” and flatly detailed. If you look at close ups from actual aircraft or had the opportunity to put your head underneath this area you will quickly recognize the compromise made in 2D injection plastic parts compared to the actual very busy 3D look of the MC.202 main landing gear bay. There are some significant electrical wires and color coded pneumatic hoses for its ignition system for example that are missing.
Again, I would hope this would be the area some resin caster with superior abilities like Vector, Pavla or Aires/Quickboost could give us a big hand with by supplying a simple resin bay enhancement piece. Since the kit has been out for a few years I am surprised none have been released. Now that Roy is back in business maybe Barracuda can help us out – if he does it will be awesome!
I did have some trouble working with the part C16 assembly which represents some of the engine and nose bearing support struts. Although there’s not much Hasegawa detail in this area there was enough to give me some assembly fit mishaps especially with the main landing gear struts and the part C16 tubular supports. If you try to add some wire or bass guitar strings to this area to detail the “snake pit” use caution because it gets cramped like the real aircraft and can affect some of the kit plastic assembly. A color painting guide for the pneumatic and electrical hoses is available on the “Stormo” website.
The landing gear is well detailed and the main gear door mounting frames are acceptable making a tradeoff between cost and accuracy. Perhaps I am still thinking about how Italeri approached this area and comparing it to Hasegawa’s effort? I was impressed with Italeri’s work (on their similar airframe Macchi MC.200 kit) in this area using photo-etch to mount the main landing gear wheel covers to the landing gear. Italeri provided a solid mount of the doors to their respective struts using etched metal while maintaining in-scale thickness and improved detailing. The Italeri combination of superbly moulded plastic and etched metal supports or attachment points gives an excellent representation of the landing gear and doors. It even included a tail wheel as a two part component permitting ease of painting and enhanced detail which is usually lost when a tail wheel is moulded as a one piece component as found in many other kits.
There are some areas where I hoped to see more detail such as the clear light at the rear tip of the fuselage, the butterfly doors on the air intake area but the kit does not represent them.
The kit provides marking options for two aircraft, a MC.202, Regia Aeronautica airframe from 363rd Squadriglia, 150th Gruppo, 53rd Stormo and one from the, 153rd Gruppo, both in Nocciola Chiaro 4 (Light Hazel Tan 4 – FS30219) upper surfaces over Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1 (Light Blue Gray 1 – FS36314) undersurfaces.
There are unfortunately very few available aftermarket decals for the MC.202. Given it was released almost 19 years ago not much seems to have materialized for the MC.202 in aftermarket decals. There are some terrific and colorful schemes that I would like to build. There have been decals released by Tauro, Skymodels 48015 Macchi MC.202 decal with 36 different C.202 options, Superscale 48-659, 48-660 and 48-862, AeroMaster 48-189, (MSAP) Ministry of Small Aircraft Production 4853 are some choices.
I replaced the kit cockpit with a new pit from True Details. It was a perfect replacement and added a lot especially providing the unique look of the MC.202 restraining chains, seat belts and seat cushion that is missing from the OOB Hasegawa kit.
The Hasegawa fuselage halves closed with no concerns coming from the aftermarket resin cockpit. When the cockpit was painted and dry brushed, then a black wash applied it went in with no fuss. What you can see from the outside looks fine to me and also the resin gunsight is a big improvement over the lame kit part.
With the benefit of having completed the kits construction, I would strongly advise you to do as much gap and seam filling and sanding on sub-assemblies before final assembly. Keep an eye out for sub-assemblies that require some filler or seam filing to correct them before attachment. For example, parts A3 that goes on the air filter (part A4), and the fuselage seam where the rear center part of the wings meet the fuselage all have noticeable seams or tiny gaps that are much, much easier to fill and sand before they are committed to their attachment points on the fuselage or partially obscured by other assemblies. For example, the lower wing to fuselage join I thought would be covered up by the ventral radiator housing but it is not. It is exposed enough to be visible. I fixed this one before the radiator and its door with a support strut were attached with a Flex-I-File to clean up the seam.
This version of the MC.202 did not have wing guns but other versions did have the 7.7mm armament (diagrams for this armament are found on page 66 of the Squadron Walk Around) which comes standard with this kit. If they are pertinent for your build I recommend replacing the plastic wing gun barrels with some stainless steel tubing because plastic moulding constraints or the approach Hasegawa took make the barrels look a bit odd.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The decals come on a small but well printed sheet with two options. I opted to use (MSAP) Ministry of Small Aircraft Production decal # 4853 for “Black 79-Red 1”because it had among its five choices an airframe for 1st Stormo. Besides looking very nice I wanted to match it to the MC.200 and MC.205 I have with 1st Stormo markings. I found a picture of the subject aircraft on page 9 and a similar aircraft in Libya during 1941 on page 12 of Warpaint Series No. 78 Aer Macchi C.202-205 Folgore-Veltro. This book also had color profiles for 1st Stormo airframes “79-6” on page 3, and “88-9” on page 11 .
For the overall fuselage finish I used Tamiya acrylics because they were close enough in color and I had the paint in hand. A web search indicated Model Master II Enamels - No. 2037 Flint Gray FS36314 is the exact match for undersurfaces. The top surfaces are matched by Model Master # 1742 Enamel Dark Tan FS30219 or Gunze Mr. Color # 310 Brown. The exact colors I used were Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow with a small amount of XF-52 Flat Earth. The green was XF-13 JA Green. The undersides are painted Tamiya XF-25 Light Sea Grey (it is spelled “grey” not “gray” on the label) which is a very good blue gray tone similar to FS36314.
Weathering and Final Coat – some pastel chalk and black/brown pin wash was used. I sprayed on a Future coat used during the initial decal application and after decaling was completed I used Future using a brush to seal all of the decals. Testors Dull Cote was used during the final step to seal all of the decals and give the correct flat finish.
This was the first Hasegawa kit that I have built which did not suffer from the non-fit of the lower wing to the fuselage. It was perfect. The wing to fuselage had no gap (it did have a seam). I just had to hold it together with a berna-clamp and apply some liquid glue. After the glue set and I removed the clamps and thought NO filler was required which is, or to me, a big shock since I always have had this concern with 1/48th scale Hasegawa kits not fitting in the lower wing to fuselage join beneath the cockpit. But, a few days later, I was concerned with the thought that maybe what looks like a panel line (the glue join) should be smooth and have no seam. Is it a seam or a panel line? Some Mr. Surfacer 500 was applied and sanded smooth.
Hasegawa supplied a clear gunsight (Part M1) which I did not use due to the True Details resin cockpit. The TD sight was OK but could have been more pronounced since it just looked like another blob rather than standing separately from the instrument panel as in the actual aircraft. I added the glass reflector part using some clear styrene sheet from Squadron.
The very last step was attaching the canopy and its connector wire that goes behind the armor plate (see page 33 photo in the Squadron Walk Around book). I used a “third hand” tool positioned below the canopy to hold it in position under the Gorilla glue which hardened hours later.
I punched out one styrene disk from an Evergreen plastics sheet to provide the intake door for the air filter intake. It is a noticeable flap on the actual aircraft. The exhaust was finished by brushing on thinned Pactra IP96 Rust enamel. When the Pactra was dry I used some Metalizer Dark Iron non-buffing as a wash. I was a disappointed with the kit exhausts and used some Ultracast replacements which went right in and look great.
The long thin wooden mast was used and some antenna wire connected to the tail and to the mid-fuselage glass insulator connector. This configuration was used for most of the MC.202 aircraft except for very early versions. I used some scrap etched copper fret to cut a connection tab for the antenna wire connection to the vertical tail’s front edge. I wound some thin copper wire around a thicker piece of wire to create a spring for this part. I also used two pieces of empty wire insulation as the insulators (see photo). I attached this before the final painting of the upper surfaces and canopy parts.
The main landing gear covers were painted off the model and added at this point. The small tabs (part C14) at the top did have a good fit since there was a small indentation just for them. I found other Macchi kits lacked fit in this area. There are two versions of speed fairing in front of the tail wheel, with one having a part behind so be mindful of which is appropriate for your build.
I have no hesitation in highly recommending this kit. I really enjoyed this build. Assembly of the main parts was so quick that I thought I did something wrong but everything was there. The MC.202 is a beautiful aircraft and the model builds into an accurate replica.
Warpaint Series No. 78 Aer Macchi C.202-205 Folgore-Veltro
Squadron Publications # 1041 Macchi C.202 In Action 1980
SKYmodels decal 'Macchi MC 202', # 48-015
Macchi MC 202 Folgore, Aviolibre Special #3 Maurizio Di Terlizzi; Avialibri Special # 3; 2000
Squadron # 5558 Macchi MC 205 “Veltro” Walk Around Color Series; Maurizio Di Terlizzi, 2008
Aero Detail # 15 Macchi C.200/202/205 published 1995
Stormo! web site at http://www.stormomagazine.com
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