Karaya 1/72 Ansaldo A.1 Balilla




$21.90 direct from


6 options


John Impenna


Resin with photoetched parts


An aesthetically pleasing aircraft, the A.1 Balilla never quite lived up to the hopes of its designers or to its looks.  Being described as heavy and sluggish  at the controls, as well as suffering from numerous construction delays, it never made it in quantity to the front  as a first-line fighter. Initial production was assigned to flying and gunnery schools.

Several did make it into combat. One aircraft, 16558 flown by Tenente Leopoldo Eleuteri , received the only victory credited to an A.1 during the war; an Albatros D.III shot down on October 8, 1918. The A.1 did continue in service with various air forces well into the 1920s, most notably, flying with the Kosciusko Squadron as well as other Polish squadrons against the Soviets. Although not a spectacular performer, it was liked by some of the American volunteers flying with these squadrons.


This is the first release of an aircraft model by Karaya of Poland. As has become so typical of the Eastern European model manufactures, this kit is a little gem. Surface detail is excellent. The wings are among the nicest I have seen in this scale in either injection or resin. The cockpit detail is very complete and will make up into a suitably busy office.  The resin is  yellowish in color and seems harder than what I am used to seeing. The instructions recommend, and I can verify that the parts should be washed to remove mold release prior to assembly. Very nicely done photo-etch, I believe from Part, is included. When compared to my references, this kit scales out just about perfect! Dimensionally and outline wise, it appears dead-on accurate.

The instructions are very detailed and complete. No real guesswork here. They consist of 2 sheets of paper with a short history and exploded assembly diagram on one and separate markings sheet with 4 a/c on it.  While no separate rigging diagram is included, the boxart and the markings sheet should provide a suitable guide for this. While there is no color, camouflage details are provided for each aircraft.

Decals are by Techmod and look absolutely terrific. They are in perfect register. Markings are provided for 6 aircraft. One, flown by Tenente Antonio Locatelli, is being restored by the Museo del Risorgimento in Bergamo, Italy. The markings on this aircraft  are very striking.



Prior to this release, the only other A.1s available (I believe) were from Joystick and Hit Kit. The Joystick, being a vac-form and really nice kit (I have one) is still a lot of work. The Hit Kit, well, some folks have turned that sows ear into a silk purse, but with this release, you can throw the plastic away and keep the decals.  Karaya has really hit the mark with their first release.  They have announced that they are releasing this kit in 1/48th as well.  You will then have the definitive A.1 kits available in both scales.  This kit should also make a nice ice-breaker to anyone who has wanted to try a resin kit but has hesitated. It doesn't have the gazillian break-if-you-look-at-them small detail parts!. Rigging is also fairly simple for a biplane.  This little jewel is moving to the top of the to-do pile!! Highly recommended!

Kit courtesy of


 Windsock Datafile #88 Ansaldo A.1 Balilla   by Gregory Aleggi           

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