KIT: Karaya 1/48 Ansaldo A.1 Balilla
KIT #: 48001
PRICE: $
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Dave Calhoun
NOTES: Resin kit with photoetched parts

HISTORY

The Ansaldo A.1 Balilla was designed in Italy in 1917, based on the SVA series of fighters. Although it was a good looking aircraft, it was heavy and sluggish and had a defective engine.  This pushed the plane to schools and second-line units.  Only 2 Italian units used the aircraft in combat in 1918, 70 and 91 Squadriglia. 

After World War One the main country using the Balilla was Poland, who bought 35 and built60 under license.  It was used in the Polish-Bolshevik War.  American volunteers in the Polish Air Force liked the Balilla.  The aircraft was also used by the Soviet Union, and several other countries.

THE KIT

  This kit is the first 1/48 scale aircraft made by Karaya, a Polish manufacturer that has specialized in detail parts for armor and aircraft.  Kit number is 48001.  It is a resin and photo etched kit, and comes packed in a sturdy 2 piece box, with corrugated bottom and lid with nicely printed profile on a high gloss stock.  The resin parts are beautifully molded, my sample had no air bubbles on any of the parts, and all of the resin pouring gates were very thin making clean up very easy for a resin kit.  The fuselage halves are very thin, and feature internal stringer details and locating tabs for floor & seat mount.  The wings feature nicely molded rib detail, none of the over stated ribs seen on some kits.  The trailing edges appear to be of a scale thickness, and the ailerons are separate pieces to allow positioning them.  All struts are molded from resin, but have copper wires trapped inside the resin for strength.  There are 2 sets of wheels, one with hub covered and one that has just the tires, to be used with photo etched spokes.

The photo etched brass sheet is a nice addition, and contains the photo etched wheel spokes, a seat with separate belts, an instrument panel, rudder pedal foot straps, throttle, radiator grill, rudder horns and windshield frame.  The photo etched sheet is manufactured by Part, so you know the quality of these parts.  Also a small piece of film is provided for the instruments and windshield.

Decals are provided for 6 different versions, 2 Italian WW1, 2 Polish and 2 Soviet ones.  The decals are beautifully done, including a large Italian crest printed with metallic gold and 4 other colors (although the  dragon shown on the box top is not printed in green).  They feature perfect register, and full national markings, squadron insignia (including one for the U.S volunteer Kosciuszko Squadron) and serial#ís.  The colors look perfect, especially the green and red of the Italian cockades & rudder stripes.

CONCLUSIONS

I have been waiting for this kit in 1/48 scale for several months, and the wait is sure worth it.  I do not have the Windsock Datafile to compare it to, but the model looks to be a well researched and designed project, and should cause little problems for the model builder with a small amount of resin experience.  Since the only other Balilla ever issued in 1/48 was the Sierra vacuformed kit (not a bad kit, but no photo etched parts or decals) this kit is a must have for the builder of Italian World War One aircraft, and the great decals may cause the builder to order more than one.

My thanks to Radek at Karaya for the review sample, I will be doing a build up article in the future.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

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