|PRICE:||$25.00 or so|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 (now Leonardo SF-260) is an Italian light aircraft which has been commonly marketed as a military trainer and aerobatics aircraft.
The SF.260 was designed by Italian aircraft designer Stelio Frati, while production work originally performed by Milan-based aviation manufacturer Aviamilano. On 15 July 1964, the first prototype performed its maiden flight (then designated F.260). Shortly thereafter, responsibility for production was transferred to SIAI Marchetti, who had purchased the rights to the design; manufacturing continued to be performed by this firm until the company was bought by Aermacchi in 1997.
The SF.260 has been largely sold to military customers as a trainer and light combat aircraft. In addition, there have been limited civil sales to private operators; during the late 1960s, the type was marketed in the United States under the name Waco Meteor. Armed military versions, sold as the SF.260W Warrior, proved to be popular with smaller air forces, which could arm the type for use in the close air support role. Both piston-powered and turboprop-powered models have been developed.
I ordered this kit from a dealer in Poland. When it arrived, the box looked as if it had been caught in a door or something as one half of it was bent over and accordioned. I feared for the worst, but when I finally got everything opened, I discovered that the kit only took up about half the space in the box. Some parts were damaged, but are easily repaired. The box, however, was a mangled mess and after cutting the front and back of it so I would have something to scan for this preview, the box top and everything else save the markings guide were thrown out. The rest was put into a zip bag.
I know of only one other kit of this aircraft in this scale, and that was a resin kit by Planet Models (I've been told that Special Hobby also does this aircraft) . The Planet Models kit was nicely done, but being resin, there was no place to put any sort of nose weight. This one offers the engine cowling area, but will require 10 grams, which is not an inconsiderable amount for such a small area. Like their recently reviewed MiG-19, there is detail on the inside of the fuselage halves.
KP has boxed this kit several times and from the look of the 'not used' portion of the sprue layout, they have done the turboprop variant with the longer nose and three blade prop. Molding is very good though looks a bit heavy handed for this scale. I'm sure that under a coat of paint it will look just fine. You have a nicely detailed cockpit floor with the lower seats already molded in place. One then adds the seat backs, control sticks and rudder pedals along with the instrument panel. You are provided two different decals for this, one being a 'glass' panel. You are also provided decals for the seat harness. The nose gear well is molded onto the cockpit floor.
Engine cowling is six pieces with a false engine front to fit right behind the cooling openings. Engine exhaust fits onto the interior pan at the aft of the nose gear well. A single piece wing has two piece tip tanks that butt join on the ends. The instructions show what look like aft fairings for the wings, but has those marked as optional. Landing gear are well done and the tailplanes join with a pin in hole arrangement at the roots. You can install weapons on this if you wish and a rocket pod is included for this. The canopy is a single piece and the last thing installed.
Instructions are a single piece of paper folded in half. No color information is provided for during the build so you are pretty well forced to use the 'net for that info. You have markings for four aircraft from Tunisia, Mauretania, Libya and Uganda. The camouflage schemes on all of them are quite different. The decal sheet is nicely printed and includes stencils, for which there is a guide on the back of the instructions.
I bought this because I like trainers. If you are so inclined and are good at figuring out where to put nose weight, then this will be a nice one to add to your collection.
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