|KIT:||Fine Molds 1/72 Savoia S.21|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||From the movie "Porco Rosso"|
A history will be difficult, for I could find nothing on this aircraft and though there seems to be a history in with the instructions (written in Japanese), it could be totally fictitious. It sure looks the part of a 1930s Savoia flying boat fighter, and there is precedence for such a thing as both Italy and Austria flew these types during WWI. But that was about as far as things went. I would be remiss to mention that both the British and the US flew prototypes of full hulled jet fighters in the 50's but again, it was a dead end and went nowhere.
This particular aircraft is probably the inspiration of Hayao Miyazaki's fertile imagination and is the mount of the hero in Porco Rosso (which I believe translates to 'red pig') in one of his cartoon epics. In this movie, Porco is a bounty hunter who is often hired to protect Adriatic shipping against seaplane pirates. There is much additional excitement as he has his aircraft rebuilt in Fascist Italy, where he is a wanted man (pig). I won't blow the rest of the movie as it really is superbly done and if you aren't afraid of animation for your entertainment, you and your kids will thoroughly enjoy this one.
Of course, it is molded in red plastic. So much to help you with the painting of the kit. Actually, the molding is quite well done with engraved panel lines, a teeny bit of flash and nicely done fabric representations. Since the plane is mostly wood, a clean finish is to be expected.
The kit is presented in its 'pre rebuild' form with the older engine and the solid forward hatch. There is not much to the cockpit aside from the very basics. A decal seat belt is provided if you wish to use it. In actuality, the cockpit is designed to be manned (pigged) by Porco himself and a well done, though small figure is included in the kit.
Also included is a beaching trolley that one sees only with the modified aircraft, but it is nice to have it included. There is also a display stand so that you can show your completed model in a dynamic pose.
Instructions are well done but impossible to read. I can tell you that the plane itself is bright red with what seems to be a tan lower hull and lower wing floats. There is a color chart referencing Gunze paints on the back page, but again, all is in Japanese. Decals are well done and should work well. The movie's aircraft only had tricolors on the rudder and lower wings. There are some other markings you may want to use and some are obviously for the display stand.
I've seen several of these built up at the US Nationals and while they are not large planes, they are pretty neat looking. Thanks to the rather minimalist parts count, it should be a rather fun build and will make for a most interesting TV/Movie related subject. For those interested, the later, post-repair version is also kitted by Fine Molds.
Courtesy of me and my penchant for things a bit different
Late Note. I have found that there was an S.21, but, aside from the basic fuselage/tail, it is quite a different beast from the movie. Here is a photo.
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