Fly 1/48 Macchi M.5

KIT #: 48001
PRICE: $55.00 MSRP ($27.45 on sale at GreatModels )
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run kit with resin parts

HISTORY

The Macchi M.5 was anItalian single-seatfighter flying boat designed and built byMacchi-Nieuport at Varese. It was extremely manoeuvrable and agile and matched the land-based aircraft it had to fight.

Development

The first prototype of a single-seatsesquiplane fighter was the Type M which first flew in 1917. Developed by engineers Buzio and Calzavera it had single-step hull and an open cockpit forward of the wings and was similar to the earlierMacchi M.3. It was followed by another prototype with a revised tail unit designated the Ma and further developed as the M bis and Ma bis. The production aircraft was designated the M.5 and like the prototypes were powered by a singleIsotta-Fraschini V.4B engine inpusher configuration. Deliveries soon commenced in the summer of 1917 to theAviazone per la Regia Marina (Italian Navy Aviation). Late production aircraft had a more powerfulIsotta-Fraschini V.6 engine and redesigned wingtip floats, they were designated M.5 mod. Macchi produced 200 aircraft and another 44 were built by SocietÓ Aeronautica Italiana.

 Operational history

The M.5 was operated by five Italianmaritime patrol squadrons as a fighter and convoy escort, and some were embarked on the Giuseppe Miraglia. Towards the end ofWorld War I, the aircraft were flown by bothUnited States Navy andUnited States Marine Corps airmen.Ensign Charles Hammann won the firstMedal of Honor awarded to a United States naval aviator in an M.5.

In 1923, when the Regia Aeronautica was formed, 65 M.5s were still in service, although they all had been scrapped within a few years.

THE KIT

Molded in tan plastic, there are two tan injected plastic sprues along with a tiny clear sprue for the windscreen. The kit has a small bag of resin for the engine, some engine details as well as some of the interior details. The kit itself is, like nearly all WWI aircraft models, pretty basic. There is a full cockpit with sidewall details. As the kit builds more than just a standard M.5, there are optional bits such as different engine exhaust, some vents for the forward cockpit and different wing floats.

The one piece upper wing will help with maintaining dihedral and as one can imagine, there is a considerable amount of bracing required. Aside from the just the wings, there is bracing for the engine struts and there are cables for the control surfaces that will need to be done. This is all clearly shown in the instructions and one has the box art to use for instructions as well.

The instructions are on a single folded sheet of paper. I found them to be well drawn if not a bit small. Colors are generic with no specific paint brand. The full color decal and camouflage guide is on the back of the box. All three options are quite colorful, with some requiring some skillful masking to properly duplicate. The large decal sheet is very well done and should provide no problems. Not shown are two small addendum decals. Interestingly, aside from the roundels, none of the other decals are specifically called out so one has to be able to interpret what is needed from looking at the markings guide. Regardless of which option is chosen, you'll have a colorful and interesting model.

CONCLUSIONS

A very nicely done kit from the look of things. Due to the rather involved rigging and the widespread use of resin for the engine, this one is only recommended for those with experience with resin kits in general and WWI biplanes in particular.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchi_M.5

November 2010

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