Pavla Models latest release converts the Italeri 1/48 Macchi MC.200 Saetta into a serie 1 aircraft. The conversion includes two full canopies, decking for the fuselage behind the cockpit, replacement rudder, propeller unit, retractable rear wheel doors . Also included are decals for four aircraft. Some surgery is required and there are full instructions included.
This release comes in Pavla's familiar vac formed packaging, with all the parts contained in the blister. Included are:
2 x vac formed canopies.
2 x resin canopy rails.
4 x resin canopy rail stop ends.
1 x upper fuselage decking for behind the pilots seat. Includes re-inforced headrest
1 x additional resin headrest re-inforcement.
3 x prop blades.
1 x spinner.
1 x prop boss.
2 x rear wheel doors.
3 x small sheets of decals.
1 x six page instructions.
The two canopies, Pavla supply a spare, look excellent. There is a small area of waste plastic between each of the three sections that makes up the canopy. The waste areas will mean that the cutting process will be less stressful. Obviously great care will be needed to separate the components when cutting. As they are the canopies feel pretty strong, but once cut into they will need some support on the inside. Not an item to rush and use a fresh surgical blade. Any excess plastic after cutting can be sanded down. Pavla's canopies will improve the look of your Saetta no end. Quality of the plastic and the transparency is very good. Particularly good is the rivet detail around the area where the windscreen meets the fuselage. There are two resin rails to attach to the fuselage that the canopy then fits onto. A nice touch from Pavla is the inclusion of four tiny resin parts to represent the stop ends on the rails.
Surgery to the kit is required to remove the kits fuselage hump directly behind the pilot. There is a fair bit of plastic to remove, but the cut runs along a panel line, so the task should not be difficult. The resulting gap is filled by a resin insert that forms a new deck behind the pilot. This part includes a headrest and the representation of tubular supports. There is a little bit of flash around the headrest, but nothing a sharp knife wont fix. There is a re-enforcing plate to be added on two of the four versions depicted in this conversion. This plate with drilled out holes sit directly behind the pilots headrest. It is important to refer to the painting instruction whether you need to fit it for the version you are building.
The replacement propeller unit comprises of three nicely cast propeller blades, a spinner cap and a propeller boss. You may want to reduce the thickness of the blades tips a little, but be careful you do not destroy the shape of the blades. Attaching the blades to the the boss will be the most challenging aspect of this conversion. The blades are butt joined to the boss, so it would be worthwhile creating a temporary jig to aid construction.
The fitting of the replacement rudder will also require some surgery. Obviously the kit rudder needs removing. The taped ribs on the rudder will look good under a few coats of paint. While down at this end of the aircraft and depending which aircraft you have chosen to depict. Then the rear wheel well will need squiring off with a knife or file to accommodate the resin retractable doors. Again check the colour references in the instructions.
Pavla offer you four sets of markings with this conversion, including:
- C.200 MM 5089 of 372° Squadriglia, 153° Gruppo Autonomo, Brindisi, Italy, November 1940.
- C.200 of 81° Squadriglia, 6° Gruppo, 1° Stormo CT. Catania-Fontanarossa, August 1940.
- C200 of 369° Squadriglia, 152° Gruppo, 54° stormo CT, Treviso S.Angelo.
- C200 of 88° Squadriglia, 6° Gruppo, 1° Stormo CT, Catania, winter 1940-41.
All aircraft feature three colour camouflage on the upper surface. The base colour is Giallo Mimetico 4, with blotches of Verde Mimetico 2 and Bruno Mimetico over it. All undersurfaces are Grigio Mimetico.
Are printed by Boaagency. They come separately bagged from the rest of the components. Quality looks excellent. Good registry, colour density and there is minimal carrier film. There are no national marking or stencils as you will have them from the kit. What is included are code and aircraft numbers, tail insigna and badges. There is a small correction sheet for some of the badges. Nothing wrong with the quality, it's that the badges all face the same way.
Six pages of black and white drawings, providing instruction on how to modify the kit and add the Pavla parts. Colour instructions are clear, but there are no colour references regarding paint manufacturers or standard numbers. I did find that the names that Pavla supply are easily referenced on the internet.
If you are a fan of Italian aircraft from WWII, then this conversion set will be ideal to change the out of the box Macchi MC.200 Saetta into this series 1 aircraft. There is a considerable difference between the two and it's not a case that all is different is a few panel lines. This is an excellent release, not only supplying resin and vac formed parts, but also the decals. This would be a good project if you are thinking of moving from kit bashing to something with a little challenge. This conversion should not take a massive amount of man hours to complete. Nice one Pavla.