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Flying Machines 1/72 scale Piaggio P.108B I. Serie

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit: No. FM72001
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Flying Machines, available from Pacific Coast Models, 707-538-4850, www.pacmodels.com
Price: $57
Comments: Injection molded, 119 parts (21 resin), decals
Pros: New subject, detailed resin parts, thin clear parts.
Cons: Poor-fitting nose assembly, engraved panel lines are shallow, incorrect propeller blade shape.
The Piaggio P.108 debuted as Italy's premier long-range four-engined bomber, and although its size, bomb load, and performance roughly matched the Boeing B-17, less than 200 were built. Flying Models has released this version of the MPM kit with a new box and additional parts.

I emptied the box's contents onto my workbench and had a good look at the parts. I noticed a slightly rough finish on the large wings and fuselage. The simulated- fabric control surfaces look convincing. Bagged separately, the resin parts are well detailed. The .50-cal gun barrels are drilled out and detailed with cooling holes in the jacket sleeves. The kit provides options for both the short and long versions of the exhaust plumbing and flame dampeners. The cockpit seats are molded with belts and had a little flash between the armrest and the seat bottom. The transparencies, also bagged separately, are thin and clear with two nose configurations provided.

The instruction book is laid out in 15 steps and include a parts map, paint legend, exploded view drawings, and a multi- view paint and decal placement guide for two aircraft.

I buffed the fuselage, wings, and tail with a polishing stick before assembling them. Building the cockpit, bombardier/ navigators station, and the bulkheads was straightforward. The wing-spar slots in the fuselage need to be opened up a little, and some filling is required to blend the nose assembly into it. I had to sand the bottom edge of the nose gun turret (CP1) to mate it to the fuselage.

I couldn't tell the difference between the two sets of engine-cowl halves. The engine detail is simplified, and a photograph of the prop blades shows them to be a different shape than the parts provided.

I painted the model with Model Master Italian green and Italian blue-gray. I mixed the interior color, anti-corrosion green from Model Master British interior green and U.S. interior green. The decals wanted to curl, so I slid them into puddles of water on the model's surface and blotted way the excess. My markings were for the "2 Vellvoto Della 2 Sezione" squadron.

The model measures pretty close to scale according to the dimensions in Axis Aircraft of World War Two by David Mondey, my primary reference for this project. I spent 25 hours building my bomber. For modelers interested in WWII Italian aircraft, this kit will be a welcome addition, but it's not for the intermediate modeler.

- Thomas Foti

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