Kit Reviews

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Meng 1/72 scale Fiat G.91 light fighter-bomber

By Walt Fink
Published: May 6, 2013
G.91R01
Click the photo for a larger view
Kit:  DS-004
Scale:  1/72
Price:  $39.95
Pros:  Beautiful clear parts; excellent surface detail; great choice of options
Cons:  Seat lacks detail; some fit issues; translucent decals; omissions in instructions
Manufacturer:  Meng Models, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555
Comments:
Injection-molded, 88 parts, decals
G.91R07
G.91R02
G.91R03
G.91R04
G.91R05
G.91R06

Ever since seeing Fiat designer Giuseppe Gabrielli’s namesake G.91 in U.S. Army evaluation markings, I’ve wanted to build a model of it. Now, Meng has supplied the wherewithal to finally do so. With optional parts and markings for a Luftwaffe machine, and a Frecce Tricolori aircraft as well, the most colorful versions are pretty well covered. A high-quality PVC Frecce Tricolori patch is included with the kit.


The kit has beautiful surface detail, but the fit of parts varies from great to average. The raised detail on the cockpit tub and instrument panel is excellent, but the seat is basically featureless (I added masking-tape seat belts and an ejection handle). The detail in the wheel wells and speed-brake wells is great, but, though I couldn’t find any photos of the keel area, I suspect the main landing-gear well should have a center divider. 


Optional fuselage inserts allow building a G.91R.1 or R.3 version. The instructions specify adding those late in the build, but I installed them as I built up the fuselage; the left side panel needing some trimming. Meng cast the sprue gates on both the mating and surface areas of the parts, so extra care is needed to avoid oversanding and marring the surfaces when removing the nubs. I added nose weight to prevent tail-sitting.


The wings and stabilizers are one-piece moldings and fit the fuselage well. Filling and sanding was needed on the lower fuselage, the combination main wheel well/speed-brake well-to-fuselage joints, and the forward fuselage, where its contour didn’t match the nose cone’s. 


The main landing gear is somewhat simplistic and has very little attachment surface to the wing. On my sample, the axle for the otherwise nice nose gear was missing, so I fashioned a fix for that; I reinforced the delicate main gear-to-wing joint with epoxy.


Wing fences/pylons for the different variants are given, and underwing stores include “smoke tanks” for the Frecce Tricolori version, drop tanks for the Army version, and three kinds of rocket pods plus a pair of Mk.64 bombs for the Luftwaffe version. Separately bagged, the clear parts are excellent. Though there’s no operating mechanism for it, the canopy can be posed open with a friction fit to its turtledeck fairing. 


The instructions have some minor glitches. The “orange” specified for the Army bird is Day-Glo. The decals are a mixed bag. They go down well, are a breeze to work with, and they fit the model exactly. But they’re somewhat translucent, so my wing insignia has pinkish stars and bars, and the yellow lettering on the tail — as well as the red wing walks and turbine warning stripe — came out muted, as the model’s paint shows through. I added black decal stock to represent camera windows.


The kit takes a little modeling, not just assembling, so I spent a slightly-more-than-usual 20 hours on my “Gina.” But it’s not a complicated kit, and a nice addition to my collection.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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MARK ODEGARD from MINNESOTA said:
I agree neat model, but I can't stomach the prices. I'm getting back into the hobby, but I couldn't drop $40 on something with so few parts and so small. Nice model though.
4 stars
CALEB ENGLAND from OHIO said:
Looks fun and well made I just always hesitate a bit to buy 1/72 kits above $20 but it is always well worth it. Cant wait to add it to my bench!
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