|KIT:||LF Models 1/48 Amrosini SAI 207|
|PRICE:||$Cheap from a vendor who wanted to dump it|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin with metal, photo etch and vacuform parts|
During the second world war, most combatants were concerned about a lack of strategic materials for aircraft construction so often looked into building aircraft made of wood. The most successful of these would be the Soviet fighters from Yak and Lavochkin as well as the British Mosquito. Lightweight fighters were also explored with such types as the French C.714, US XP-77, and British Miles M.20 being less than successful examples. In fact, no lightweight fighter of any nation actually had much success, though the C.714 was able to achieve a few victories during the later weeks of French resistance to the German onslaught of 1940
In Italy, a lightweight fighter of wooden construction was designed by Sergio Stefenutti of SAI, work starting in 1939. He had earlier built several successful record-breaking aircraft of light weight and lower horsepower engines, which had drawn the attention of the Italian Air Ministry. Wishing a type suitable for the military and powered by the Isotta Fraschini Gamma engine of 540 hp, the SAI 107 was able to reach speeds of 350 mph, yet weighing only 2,200 lbs fully loaded.
This success led to a full fighter designated the SAI 207. It was also full wood construction and reached a speed of 596 mph in a dive from 10,000 feet. Pre-production aircraft were started and after only 13 were finished, production switched over to the more capable SAI 403, which never reached full production before the Italian Armistice in September 1943. Any use of the SAI 207 in combat is unknown.
LF Models have a fairly good reputation at this time, but like all companies doing short run resin kits, their earlier products are not always the best.
So it is with this one. That hasn't been made better by the fact that this one has been banged around a lot and much damage has been done with the edges of the fuselage wing root. Not hard to fix, but not something that sells kits, ergo my ability to get it cheap.
The main parts (fuselage halves and one-piece wings) are floating around in the box while the other bits are all in compartmentalized bags. The resin is fairly well done, though suffers from some mold flaws like pin-holes, incompletely molded bits and some large flow crud that is on the inside of the fuselage halves. Some of this is of no consequence and other bits will need ground away or sanded to build the kit. The top of one fin is quite poorly molded and will undoubtedly be replaced by card or epoxy filler.
There is one etched fret with gear doors oleos and a few other odd bits. A piece of card with an instrument panel on it. The metal pieces are for the prop blades and landing gear with two sections of tubing for pitot tubes. A lone vac canopy is provided, but with very easy to see frame lines.
Not really a lot of detail in the cockpit as there is but a seat, floor and stick in there. I thought that doing a three piece tail wheel was a bit much and would rather have that as a single molding.
Instructions are a single piece of paper with drawn construction steps on one side, decal and painting guide on the other. No inside color info is given, but we will all use Italian Interior Green. A set of seat belts would have been nice, but those can be purchased from Eduard or others. The decals are of unknown quality. They are matte and fairly well printed, but until used one just doesn't know. The best reference for placement is the box art as none of the smaller marking locations are noted on the instructions.
I'm not sure how old this kit is as I picked it up from a show vendor, however, it doesn't look like it will take a lot of work to build as long as one has the skills needed for a short run resin kit. The broken/poorly molded parts should not be that difficult and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. One thing for sure, you will not find an airplane like this from the major injection molded kit companies!
Fighters of WWII, volume 2, 1960, William Green.
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