Meng 1/72 Fiat G.91R

KIT #: DS-004
PRICE: $40.00 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken

New Tool Kit


The Fiat G.91 was an Italian jet fighter aircraft. It was the winner of the NATO competition in 1953 as standard equipment for Allied air forces. It entered in operational service with the Italian Air Force in 1961, with the West German Luftwaffe, in 1962, and later with the Portuguese Air Force. It was in production for 19 years. 756 aircraft were completed, including the prototypes and pre-production models. The assembly lines were finally closed in 1977. The Fiat G.91 enjoyed a long service life that extended over 35 years. It was widely used by Portugal in the Portuguese Colonial War in Africa. In addition, both Greece and the US were seriously considering the type, but neither went forward with large purchases. Before the USAF was given control over all Army fixed wing tactical assets, the US Army was seriously considering the type for use as a COIN fighter.


 Not an aircraft you would expect to see kitted as a new tool, yet the G.91 has a relatively large and loyal following. !/72 scale modelers have only had the ancient Airfix kit from the 1960s and a rather disappointing one from Revell in the mid 2000s for an injected plastic version, while there was at least one vac/resin kit of the trainer version by Aeroclub.

Now you can hock your others or give them to the kids as Meng has produced what appears to be the best in this scale yet. If you have seen any of Meng's kits, you are aware of how nicely they are detailed and this one is no exception. The cockpit has nicely raised detail on the instrument panel and side consoles. The seat is pretty generic, but getting an aftermarket version for this aircraft should not be too difficult as it is a variant of the Martin-Baker Mk.4, one of the most widely used second generation seats ever used. Pavla has this in their catalog.

The interior tub sits atop the nose gear well and there is room above it for weight. There is a blanking plate that fits a few mm back from the intake. The instructions would have you paint it silver. I'll paint mine black. To ensure no errors with the intake lip, that piece is separate. The kit offers optional lowered speed brakes. You can also build the kit gear up, though you will have to come up with your own display stand.

Wheel wells have convincing detail and I found the landing gear legs to be OK, though not as detailed as some may wish. The clear bits have a separate canopy and windscreen. It appears you can pose the canopy open, though there is no extension mechanism visible. The aircraft can be built as the German R3 variant with four cannon or the Italian R1 version with two cannon and four machine guns. To accomplish this, there is a large insert that goes on either side of the cockpit.

Since it was a light strike fighter, there are things under wings. For the Frecce Tricolori version you have small tanks for the inner pylons. These are what held the oil for the smoke system. For the other versions, you have two optional wing tanks of different designs. You pick the ones you want. The German planes used tanks that had plates on the end of the fins like on an F-86D/K and those are not included though perhaps you could modify one of the sets. I should also mention that there are two different wing fence designs. One has the outer pylon molded on it while the other does not. For the outer pylon you can put a pair of mk 64 bombs, LAU 51, LAU 32 or lAU 3 rocket launchers.

Markings options are for three planes. One is the box art plane from the Frecce Tricolori. I had always thought these planes had different nose cones that were pointed and had no cameras. That is true, but they also flew with standard noses, though the cameras were removed and I believe the windows painted over. The second option is for an LekG 43 plane as participated in the 'Bulls Eye '79' meet. This is in standard Luftwaffe colors. The center of the tanks is in da-glo and not regular orange. The third option is most welcome and is one of the planes the US Army was evaluating in 1961/62. Again, the orange listed in the instructions is really da-glo. The decals are superbly printed and should provide no issues. Instructions are in Meng's booklet form and provide a full color fold-out for the markings options. Gunze paints are referenced. A nice option for what is sure to be the first of several boxings, is a full size patch for the Frecce Tricolori. This is a typical patch used by the Italian Airforce and is either leather or a very high quality and thick vinyl. It comes with a velcro backing, ready to be placed on your flight jacket.


 The kit is designed for two different armament arrangements and one needs to think about which version one is going to do rather early in the build. Though the inserts for the guns is not covered until later in the build, I felt it was important to get this feature installed in case of fit issues. As I had decided to do the Bundeswaffe version, I removed and cleaned up those inserts and installed them. They are a touch small and so there will be gaps that need to be filled.

I then set about assembling the drop tanks, getting the wheel well inserts ready and getting the cockpit together. Now one thing that Meng does is have the sprue attachment points mostly on the mating surfaces. The theory here is that they will not cause issues with damaging detail when removing the stubs. What it actually does is provide an opportunity to increase the need for filler as the modeler will inevitably oversand these area removing the sprue stubs. This results in gaps such as you see in the image. You could probably lay a piece of sandpaper down and remove them like one does when doing a vacuform kit, but then you'd remove all the pins from one side of the assembly. Many of these sprue stubs are right next to these pins.

The instructions call for a Ghost Grey interior and so I used Aircraft Grey for this, painting the side consoles and instrument panel in black. These black areas were then drybrushed with white to bring out detail. The control stick was installed with the seat being added later. Instructions called for the wheel wells to be a dark green (FS 34079), and this just did not sound right so I went with aluminum, the same shade as recommended for the inside of gear doors. Installing the wheel wells was pretty easy as the attachment points are well marked. I glued one side and then trapped them in between the fuselage halves to dry. This ensures a good fit. I did the same with the cockpit. There is an intake blanking plate that is supposed to be painted aluminum, but it did not look right so I went with flat black. I then installed the instrument panel but realized that I had installed the cockpit a bit too far forward. It was too late to remove it and this would cause issues when installing the intake ring. There is more than enough room for nose weight and while none is called for in the instructions, I put a goodly amount in there just to be sure. I then installed the exhaust pipe and closed the fuselage halves. After the usual filler, I installed the intake ring. This required the removal of all of the tab you see sticking out in the front of the cockpit floor piece, but it did fit once that was done. Next was the nose and it proved to be a tad oversize.

With all the joins filled and sanded down, I attached the wings. These fit quite well as did the tail planes. There were the usual gaps at the very front and back, but nothing major. The pylons were next. The outer pylons include the wing fence. Fit here is only fair and I ended up having to use filler on the gaps. The inner pylons were not an issue at all.

I painted the kit seat (which is rather generic) and added some tape belts. This was installed and the clear bits were then glued on after being masked and after the gun sight was glued in. Fit here was also quite good.

This was as good a time as any to start painting.  


For this one, I wanted to use the early scheme with the da-glo patches on the nose, wings and rudder. So first step was to paint those areas white, as the da-glo paint is pretty transparent. I used Tamiya X-1 white for this, applying several coats. Then, using Model Master da-glo red, the white areas were painted. These were then masked off.

The underside of a number early German G.91s was silver, but I decided to go with the grey scheme. A bit of background info regarding the wheel wells. I thought that dark green couldn't be right, but according to information in Modeldecal set #13, they were painted this shade at the factory. The Luftwaffe repainted them after delivery in silver because they were too dark. Something to keep in mind on your German G.91.

For the underside color, the instructions suggest Light Gull Grey. I used Aircraft Grey with some white added in as most of the LGG I have gives off a somewhat brownish tint. The upper side was done in Dark Sea Grey and FS 34079 Dark Green.

These colors were used to paint the drop tanks as well as the rocket pods. I have to say I suck at straight lines on drop tanks, and it shows in this instance. One of these days I'll come up with an idiot proof way of doing these. Once all the various camo colors were applied, and it took a lot of tape, I did the anti-glare panel and fin tip in black.

The landing gear was attached and the entire kit was given a couple of coats of Future or clear gloss acrylic to prep for the decals.

In this case, I used the markings from Modeldecal sheet #13, which was the 1981 reprint. I simply wanted something different and markings to match the color scheme of the time. The Modeldecal markings went on well with Microsol and thanks to the white under the red being off register, I used the Meng decal markings for the red fuselage bands and the no step area on the wings. These do not have a white backing and fairly disappeared once they were put on. The forward of the two red fuselage bands was too short and did not meet all the way around. I simply trimmed them at the same place to make them look even. The other kit sheet item I used was the LeKG 41 unit badge. This unit carried the marking on the nose most of the time. Normally, this is on the fin in other units.

Once the markings were on, I added the wheels, gear doors, speed brakes and the things under wings. The nose gear axle stub was short shot so that it was actually missing. I simply glued the nose wheel to the fork stub and left it as it was.

The last items to glue in place were the gun barrels. These are simply short plastic rods and as I had bent them removing them from the sprue, I replaced them with short sections of stainless steel tubing. I also cut small bits of black from the Meng sheet to simulate the camera windows in the nose. A bit of touch up painting such as tips of the pitot and formation lights and the masking was removed from the canopy. I had a bit of bleed-under that had to me taken care of and once that was done, so was the model.


 This is my first Meng kit. It has a lot to offer the modeler who isn't turned off by the purchase price. It is well engineered and provides nearly all the options one would want. I would have liked to have seen proper GAF drop tanks, but there you have it. I am sure this will eventually be reboxed with different markings including some pretty fancy Portuguese schemes and hopefully some Italian 'in service' ones as well. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but it does make into a very nice and surprisingly small model.

February 2013

Thanks to Tom Cleaver for sending this one along to me. I assume he got it direct from Meng. 

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page