Italeri 1/72 MB.339 PAN (2018 livery)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Aermacchi MB-339 is a military jet trainer and light attack aircraft designed and manufactured by Italian aviation company Aermacchi.
The MB-339 was developed during the 1970s in response to an Italian Air Force requirement that sought a replacement for the service's existing fleet of Aermacchi MB-326. Its design was derived from that of the MB-326, rather than a new design, and thus the two aircraft share considerable similarities in terms of their design. Aermacchi had found that the MB-339 was capable of satisfying all of the specified requirements while being the most affordable option available. The maiden flight of the MB-339 took place on 12 August 1976; the first production aircraft were delivered two years later.
Roughly half of all MB-339s have been induced into the Italian Air Force, while the remainder have been sold to various export customers. As well as being used for training, the type is also flown by the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic display team. The type has been used in combat by both the Eritrean Air Force during the Eritrean–Ethiopian War of 1998-2000 and the Argentine Naval Aviation during in the Falklands War of 1982. In both conflicts, the MB-339 was typically flown as an attack aircraft. In Italian service, the aircraft is intended to be replaced by the newer Aermacchi M-345.
This is not a new tooling by any means having been released by Supermodel back when the type was new. It has raised panel lines and uses decals for instrument and console panels. This boxing is molded in blue and I only bought it as the trainer version was not available. Fortunately I have a nice Sky decal sheet that provides options for all sorts of Italian trainer schemes.
Due to the age of the molds, you can expect it to be a fairly simple kit. That it is, but simple does not mean it fits like a dream. The cockpit tub is equipped with a pair of three piece seats, a couple of control sticks and a flat instrument panel. This fits into the nose and one needs to add 10 grams of weight to keep it from tail sitting. There is a lot of room for that. Wings are upper and lower half and you need to open holes for the inner pylons.
There is a separate canopy and windscreen so you could pose the canopy open as you are given a cross brace and piston. There is also a shield for the rear instrument panel that gets installed at this time. Other bits to add are the wings, tailplanes, glideslope antennas and nose probes though I'd leave these off until after painting along with the glideslope bits so that the fin decals will fit.
Landing gear is well done with the large nose and main gear doors molded shut as they should be. There is a speed brake that can be posed lowered if you wish. The strakes on the lower rear fuselage are butt joins. You are provided tip tanks as well as two sets of wing tanks if you wish to use them. There are a pair of wing fences that will need to be added to the leading edges. These planes generally perform without any outer tanks or tip tanks but with the inner tanks, just like is shown on the box art. There should also be a tube running into the exhaust for the colored smoke. Actually, the kit has no exhaust, just an opening at the rear so you might want to deal with that as well.
Instructions are well done and you have a full set of markings for any of the aircraft flown by the team in 2018. There is a full color painting guide and not surprising is that the blue is darker than the plastic. Underside is a flat aluminum. There is a chart provided to match numbers with pilot names and other unique markings. The sheet is superbly printed and will make for a colorful aircraft. There are a ton of photos on Google you can use for a reference if you wish.
Still waiting for a better kit of this plane in this scale. I said that in 2001 when I first built this kit and it is just as true today. The airplane gets no love from the manufacturers and it is a shame as it is a neat looking trainer. At least it isn't expensive.
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