|KIT #:||SW 72059|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete was an Italian fighter-bomber developed during World War II. The aircraft was a further development of the Re.2000, with some of the modifications that already had been introduced in the Re.2001. In September 1941, the Italian Air Force ordered 200 aircraft, delivery of which began in March 1942. The aircraft equipped the 5° Stormo and 50° Stormo, although the engine problems hadn't been fully solved. The first batch of 100 aircraft were delivered by July 1943, but only part of the second batch was delivered before the armistice with the Allies.
The squadrons equipped with Re.2002s saw a great deal of action with the Allied landings in Sicily although they also suffered many losses. During the first four days, when the Italian Air Force tried to attack allied ships, 14 aircraft were destroyed by British Spitfire Mk Vs. Allied bombing raids and strafing of airfields destroyed many aircraft on the ground. Due to the lack of fuel, the Re.2002s were only used sporadically, often equipped with three 250 kg or 100 kg bombs.
Some of the last skirmishes took place on September 3, 1943, when the British 8th Army landed at Calabria. Fifteen Re.2002s from 5° Stormo attacked the landing force. Three pilots were killed, among them was Giuseppe Cenni, the commander of the unit.
The Germans had shown interest in buying 300 Re.2002s before the Armistice. They planned to use the German produced BMW 801 radial engine in order to eliminate the deficiencies with the Piaggio engine. However, Reggiane could not satisfy the demand, and none were delivered. However, some 40 "factory-fresh" Re.2002s along with 20 aircraft requisitioned from operational stocks were taken over by the Germans after the Italian armistice, and used against the French resistance.
The kit itself comes on a single sprue with nicely done engraved detail. As befits a short run kit like this, there are no alignment pins for the fuselage or tail planes, for example. A well detailed cockpit is provided with quite a bit of detailing on the sidewalls of the fuselage. A rather generic looking engine is provided that gets trapped between the fuselage halves. A one-piece forward cowling ring is provided which goes a long way to eliminating the nasty 'lip seam' that we can find on other kits.
The wing has a single lower piece into which the wheel wells are installed prior to attaching the wing upper halves. The main gear have part of the landing gear covers molded in place which helps to make it a pretty strong construct. One may need to deepen the attachment points for the main gear. A centerline bomb rack is molded in the lower wing with the modeler adding anti-sway braces. I found it a bit odd that no weapons are included. The aircraft should have outer wing racks as well which are also not included. The cockpit canopy and windscreen are separate so that the canopy can be posed open to show the interior. There are two tiny sprues included that have the two nose machine guns. I guess one is given two sets in case a gun or two is lost as they are quite small.
Instructions provide generic paint references and several very nicely drawn construction steps. There are markings for three planes. One is a Reggia Aeronautica plane from 239a Squadriglia in February of 1943 in standard Italian Olive over Italian Aircraft Grey. Note that the white fuselage band will need painted. Next is a similar plane but now with the Italian Co-belligerent Air Force in early 1944. The R.A. bits have been painted over with fresh Olive while the rest of the Olive is quite faded. Finally, a German plane with Geschwader Bongard in June of 1944. This one is painted RLM 70/71/65, the standard dive bomber colors, with a yellow fuselage band. All schemes have the upper color slightly wrap under the flight surface leading edges. Decals are by Techmod and are superbly printed.
Prior to this, the only 1/72 Re.2002 of which I can recall that was injection molded, was the old Supermodel/Italerie kit, that while old is still nice, but not as detailed. This one is a good replacement for it and will make a fine addition to your WWII Italian aircraft collection.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or have them order it for you.
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