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Pacific Coast Models 1/48 scale Regia Aeronautica Macchi C.200 serie VII

Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Pacific Coast Models, 613 Martin Ave. No. 106, Rohnert Park, CA 94928-2000, 707-538-4850,
Price: $38.95
Comments: Mixed media, 100 parts (36 injection-molded, 39 resin, 24 photoetched metal, 1 photo-film), decals
Pros: Good plastic, resin, and photoetched details; excellent engine and cowl castings; excellent decals
Cons: Vacuum-formed canopy difficult to prepare and fit, engine cylinders too long to fit into the cowl
The Macchi C.200 has been a popular model with short-run kit manufacturers, and Pacific Coast Models' kit is the newest rendition of this famous Italian World War II fighter. The Macchi C.200 was powered by a Fiat radial engine and was the precursor of the more familiar Macchi C.202, which had a Daimler Benz in-line engine.

The kit's main components are molded in flash-free gray plastic. Most of the cockpit details are provided in either resin (tub, sides, seat) or photoetched metal (panels and control handles). Some of the parts have plastic, resin, or photoetched alternates, so you can choose to have more or less detail.

The resin cockpit has good detail, and you can use either a resin instrument panel or one assembled from photoetched parts and photo-film instruments.

The resin engine cylinders and block are molded separately and fit neatly together. But watch out - dry-fit the cylinders and block and test-fit it into the cowl. Sure enough, mine wouldn't fit, so I cut off more from the bottoms of each cylinder (14 of them) before gluing them to the block. The one-piece cowl with its rocker-cover blisters is a beautiful molding.

I carefully assembled the complex six-piece engine mount which fits onto the firewall/wing spar, and can be seen through the landing gear bay. All of this must align properly so the wing will fit properly.

At this point I installed the cockpit module and engine mount/firewall/spar into the right fuselage half, then checked the fit of the left fuselage half. I thought it was going to be tight, but it ended up fine. I left the tail-wheel assembly off at this point to keep it from being broken.

Normally, you can assemble the top wing panels on the single bottom panel and attach the assembly to the fuselage. However, with the wing spar already in place, you have to add the bottom panel first, then attach the top panels. There are no attachment pins, but with careful alignment, the wing and fuselage came together well.

The windscreen is vacuum-formed, and a spare is provided (thankfully). I found this little part to be the most challenging in the kit. With no bottom and no back, the canopy is difficult to cut out, clean up, and install.

The landing gear looks good, but it proved complicated by having plastic, resin, and photoetched parts. Without positive locating devices, it took time to figure out the positions of all the fine details.

I painted my "Saetta" ("thunderbolt") with Polly Scale's acrylic WWII Italian colors. The excellent Cartograf decals went on well over a clear-gloss coat and with the use of a little setting solution.

My prime reference was Ali D'Italia No. 8 Aer.Macchi C.200, and I found Ali E Colori No. 2 AerMacchi C.200 useful for additional markings information. The kit matches the reference drawings perfectly and looks good compared with photos.

I spent 14 hours on my C.200 and I think it builds into a fine model. If you're thinking about trying your first mixed-media kit, this would be a good choice.

- Jim Zeske


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