Manufacturer: Craftworks, 872 SW 174th St., Seattle, WA 98166, &206-242-8272.
Kit: No. 32107 Scale: 1/32
Comments: Mixed media, 213 parts (45 resin, 63 white metal, 94 photoetched brass, six plastic, five metal), decals.
Pros: Excellent decals, fine details, choice of subject.
Cons: Poor fit, poorly shaped lower cowl, windscreen angle too steep, some photoetched parts incompletely formed and some with poor fit, missing parts.
The Macchi C.202 Folgore (lightning) was introduced in early 1941. Initially powered by German-built Daimler-Benz liquid-cooled inline engines, later aircraft had engines produced under license by Alfa Romeo. The C.205 Veltro (greyhound) incorporated a larger engine and was similar to the C.202 except for a more rounded spinner, two cylindrical oil coolers replacing the single, box-style cooler, retractable tail wheel, and two 20mm cannons mounted in the wings.
The Craftworks Macchi C.202/205 is a master-level kit composed of resin, white-metal, photoetched brass, plastic, and metal rods and wires. The four beautiful, comprehensive decal sheets provide markings for dozens of Italian units, as well as numbers and insignias to produce the marking of just about any Macchi that ever flew. Rub-on data panels are also included. A nice bonus is a beautifully cast standing figure in resin.
The ochre resin and white-metal parts are crisply cast - small parts are attached to runners and sealed in plastic bags. There's even raised data cast onto the tires! The photoetched parts are nicely done, though just a tad too delicate, as some of the oil-cooler screens are etched away.
The four-page, 20-step instructions include text, drawings, and photos, but the illustrations are vague on parts placement. A careful study of the text and references will help.
Color guides cross-reference Italian colors to the closest Federal Standard chips, but some of these suggestions seem too dark. A four-view color illustration is also included as a painting guide, though only for a single C.205.
I assembled the kit according to the instructions, but I found that in most cases, fit was a problem. Large gaps required filling at the wing roots and horizontal stabilizers. The cockpit floor had to be narrowed to fit inside the fuselage. Noticeably misshapen is the lower cowl for the 202; it is not deep enough, creating a drastic step to the fuselage. You would have to shim and fill the back end to make a smooth transition to the fuselage. It could be that my sample was malformed. Few of the photoetched parts fit into their appropriate places without modifying either them or the surrounding resin. The instructions specify a 1/8" hole for mounting the tail-wheel assembly, but this should be 1/16".
The white-metal landing-gear oleo scissors and the pitot tube were missing from my sample. I found the white-metal canopy frame to be fragile and hard to keep in proper shape. Attaching the clear plastic windscreen panes to the metal frame is a real bear. The finished windscreen isn't angled properly and looks too upright. You're on your own when it comes to the right height of the sliding canopy section. Repeatedly test fit and trim until it looks right on the fuselage.
I painted the kit overall Polly Scale Earth Yellow and Neutral Gray, with a disruptive pattern of Fokker Dark Green. After a coat of clear gloss, I started decaling. What a difference from the rest of the kit! These decals are a dream; they are thin and laid down into every panel line without setting solution. There's little clear carrier film that needs to be trimmed away, and when the decals are dry, they look painted on! I wrapped up the model with a monofiliment antenna wire and a shot of clear flat.
The overall dimensions of Craftworks' C.202 scales well with the data and drawings in La Bancarella Aeronautica's Aer Macci C.202.
I spent 30 hours on my model, most of that on figuring out part locations, then cleaning up the parts to fit. Expert modelers will want to spend much more time to make the quality of the fit match that of the detail. I recommend this kit only to experienced modelers.
- Phil Kirchmeier