My thanks for all the questions from everyone about the M.A.S. boats, particular thanks to Alan McNeilly for his work and in-process photos, and most special thanks to Dr. Al Ross for his answers to those questions and for the of drawings and photos he’s posted. All this information has been educational, inspirational, and will be invaluable – now that I have (finally) received my own kit.
One of the photos in the Italeri reference booklet shows a light machine gun mounted on the bridge just aft of the hatch. For anyone who would like to duplicate this, the machine gun looks like a Breda Model 30, or possibly a Breda 37. These were virtually identical, apart from caliber. The gun’s magazine folded sideways along the barrel for storage, and is shown folded in Italeri’s photo.
In any event, there are at least two sources for a 1/35th scale Breda Model 30. The best (by a considerable margin) is from the Model Victoria # 4012 “Italian Small Arms Set”. Along with the Breda MG, the set includes two each Mannlicher-Carcano rifles, two M-C carbines, a pair of Beretta sub-machine guns, and an ammo box for the Breda and a bi-pod.
DML offers a Breda 30 in two of their figure sets: # 6391 “Italian Infantry at El Alamein” and # 6563 “Fragile Alliance”. The DML gun isn’t as nicely done as the Model Victoria example, but it is certainly usable. The DML kits also include a Beretta SMG and Mannlicher-Carcano carbine – but no MG ammo box.
Now, to my question: Aside from the additional bridge-mounted machine gun, did M.A.S. crews further augment the torpedo boats’ armament with machine guns mounted elsewhere? I’m not asking about the gunboat conversions (for which Dr. Ross has provided drawings), but about up-gunned torpedo boats, specifically.
At least two photos in the Italeri booklet show the WW II Fasces emblem, as what seems to be a relief casting, on the side of the wheelhouse. In one of the photos, this appears to be painted the same color as the wheelhouse exterior (light gray or white), while another shows it as a darker color (possibly the color of the original casting?). Italeri did not see fit to provide this particular detail. Since Italian aircraft models include decal versions of the fasces, I don’t believe there is any political prohibition against the emblem (as there is with the Swastika, in some countries). For all I know, Italeri omitted this because it wasn’t present on either of the boats depicted by the kit decals. Can anyone shed some light about the installation of these emblems and what clues their presence (or absence) might offer about a particular boat’s history?