Planet Models 1/72 SIAI-Marchetti SF-260M
KIT #: 198
PRICE: $48.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin kit with metal landing gear and vacuformed canopy

HISTORY

The Aermacchi SF.260 is a light aircraft marketed as an aerobatics plane and a military trainer. It was designed by Stelio Frati, originally for Aviamilano, which flew the first prototype of it (then designated F.260) on July 15, 1964. Actual production was undertaken when SIAI Marchetti purchased the design soon thereafter and continued with this firm until the company was bought by Aermacchi in 1997. The military versions are popular with smaller air forces, which can also arm it for use in the close-support role.

The design is a conventional one, featuring a low wing and tricycle undercarriage, and is often praised for its sleek lines and sporty appearance. The pilot and up to two passengers (or pilot and one student in trainer versions) are accommodated under a broad, extensively glazed canopy.

The SF.260 holds the airspeed records for aircraft in its class over the 100 km (62 mile) and 1,000 km (621 mile) closed circuits.

The aircraft was marketed in the United States in the late 1960s as the Waco Meteor, although it was in no way connected with the Waco aircraft company. Thirty SF.260EA - the most recent version - were delivered to the Italian Air Force in 2005 for a total price of 33 million ($40 million).

THE KIT

As you can see from the parts placement, the kit comes in the standard compartmentalized bag. There are not a ton of pieces to this one as Planet Models has molded the fuselage and wing as one piece, including the cockpit with the instrument panel. The kit comes with metal landing gear for additional sturdiness and two vacuformed canopies. One is left to wonder just where one can put weight as the nose is solid. Unless a brace is used or the finished model permanently attached to a base, the only way to add weight is to drill out the nose section to provide room. Thanks to a separate cowling front, this can be done. Though the aircraft is used for light attack, no weapons are provided as both options are strictly trainers.

Instructions are well done and there will be no confusion as to what goes where. The painting and markings guide is in full color and both options are basically overall orange. The Italian option has but wing walk areas and an anti-glare panel in black to break up the orange. The other is a Belgian aircraft with a shark mouth and all of the flight control surfaces are in red as are the tip tanks and  the forward cowling. I don't recall all of them having the black and red stripe, but apparently this one does. All of the first order of aircraft have the shark mouth. Later aircraft do not, unless they have been painted on in the last 10 years or so. Decals are quite thin and should work well without any problems. 

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, a very nice kit of an important trainer in Europe and Africa. The resulting model should look great in any collection of modern trainers.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SF-260

March 2010

Thanks to me for this one

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