Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino
This page features the aircraft that ing. Giuseppe Gabrielli designed for FIAT during the Regia Aeronautica years. Born in Sicily 1903 he had a long distinguished career that continued long after WWII. He died in 1987.
FIAT G.5. This aircraft was a fairly large 1930's single-engined low-wing monoplane built for touring and training purposes. Only a handful were built in various guises. Choroszy Modelbud do a nice 1/72 resin kit. Aerofan 80 features a useful article on this aircraft.
FIAT G.12. A tri-motor transport aircraft powered by FIAT A74 radials. Originally designed for commercial use only, a troop carrying G.12T was also developed. Aerodim produced a resin cast G.12 in 1/72 scale with a separately moulded rear fuselage section. The large wings were solid cast but fortunately the kit included metal cast undercarriage parts to take the weight! It is a large kit but builds into a nice looking model even though surface details are non-existent. SEM Models had the same kit in their catalogue. The post war FIAT G.212 was a modified G.12 with an enlarged fuselage and extended wings. Broplan produced two 1/72 vac-form G-212 kits covering both military and civilian variants. All these kits are now thought to be OOP.
FIAT G-18. First built in 1935 and closely resembling the Douglas DC.3, this commercial aircraft was powered by a pair of FIAT radial engines. It probably never saw RA service. Italiankits have photos on their website showing kit parts for a 1/72 G.18 resin kit, penned as a future release. Issue 87 of Aerofan has a major article on this aircraft.
The FIAT G.50 Freccia is a very popular modelling subject. Although Celestino Rostatelli was FIAT's 'go to' designer at the time, the air ministry decided to develop Gabrielli's G.50 concept, being Italy's first all-metal monoplane fighter design with retracable undercarriage. The distinctive open cockpit was introduced after complaints about the design of the Serie I enclosed design which became apparent whilst in service with the Aviazione Legionaria in Spain. Despite good handling, it suffered from a lack of firepower and performance and ultimately they were relegated to training duties for both the Regia Aeronautica and the Luftwaffe. The G.50 saw more success in the Finnish Airforce where they proved very effective against the Soviets during 1941, losing just three G.50's against 99 victories, 23 of which were clamied by ace pilot Oiva Tuominen.
The1/48 Hasegawa Fiat G.50 is was originally a Secter kit so it is not a typical Hasegawa product. The tail surfaces are crudely moulded, the engine cowl shape is wrong, the wheel wells are too shallow and the engine is best replaced with an aftermarket example. Although the cowling is fairly easy to reshape and the tail surfaces can be reworked, the shallow well wheel could only be resolved with the Misterkits/Pacmodels replacement wing, which had the correct wheel well depth and the bonus of separate flaps and ailerons. The very thick canopy could also be replaced with a Falcon vac form canopy. The end result of all this remedial work is a very good looking model, albeit a rather expensive one.
Italian Classic released a series of 1/48 G.50 conversion/detail sets. The first G.50 mage shows the Serie 1 conversion together with a Falcon canopy. They followed these up with a series of complete 1/48 resin kits. They were extremely well detailed and beautifully cast but they have been OOP for some time.
Pacific Coast Models reissued the Hasegawa/Secter kit in various guises, either as a bis or Serie 1. They addressed most of the faults by including extra resin parts for the engine, cowl, fin/ & rudder, a fully detailed cockpit, an Eduard etch set and a complete SkyModels decal sheet. It was possibly the best value kit of the G.50 in 1/48 at the time, although stocks were limited. Some of the resin/brass etch items used in these kits were available separately, as well as the replacement resin wing. Flying Machines have since released a trio of high quality 1/48 injection moulded kits and are now the ones to get, if you can find them.
The recent FLY 1/72 G.50, also released by AML, is perhaps the best injection moulded kit in this scale and for any modellers who do not mind working with resin should consider the excellent 1/72 SBS G.50 kit, which has superlative detail and finely moulded parts.
Other G.50 kits in this scale were made by Airfix, AML/Kora and Misterkit. The Airfix kit is quite old and rather inaccurate. The OOP Misterkit kit was easily the best in resin before the all new SBS kit appeared. Another interesting G.50 is ItalianKits 1/72 resin kit of the D-Benz engined G.50V prototype.
MPM have recently released a very impressive series of 1/32 limited-run injection moulded kits, with resin and photo-etch details. As well as a Regia Aeronautica boxing, there is the Finnish and Luftwaffe/Croatian types as well. They build up very well despite not having separately moulded flaps and ailerons. Click on the G.50 in Croatian markings.
FIAT G.55. This was a development of the FIAT G.50 but, with so many changes made to the airframe, it was given a new designation. Along with the similarly engined Macchi C.202, C.205 & Reggiane RE.2005, this design was at least equal or even better than some of the rival Allied fighter designs of the time. The G.55 had only just entered service with the Regia Aeronautica when the Armistice was signed, so it saw most WWII action in the ANR. It was a very highly regarded aircraft, especially at altitude, where its large wing area proved to be very beneficial. Germany were so impressed with this design that they developed a G.56 prototype, which was fitted with the more powerful DB.603 engine and had a top speed of 425mph.
For too long, this fine aircraft was badly served by model kit companies. Only the poor Supermodel 1/72 G.55 and SMER 1/50 kits were around but both suffered from various inaccuracies. All too briefly the best 1/72 G.55 was Misterkits resin kit, as seen in the first G.55 image. Nowadays, the Special Hobby's series of 1/72 injection moulded kits are a whole lot better, using resin and etch detail parts. Versions covered include the two seat trainer, serie ‘O’, captured ‘RAF’ and the G.56 prototype. Sword have released a good looking double kit in 1/72 as well.
The OOP RCR Models 1/48 G.55 resin kit was, for a while, the best in this scale and was re-issued by both Vintage Models and ItalianKits. ItalianKits now do 1/48 & 1/72 scale conversion sets for the post war FIAT G.59 variant, which was a G.55 fitted with a Rolls Royce Merlin engine and a teardrop canopy which altered their appearance quite markedly.
Although Classic Airframe's 1/48th G.55 injection moulded multi-media kit was very popular in its day (judging by inflated eBay prices), it was not very accurate. It suffered from various outline faults to the fuselage, as well as a few other detail errors. Fortunately, the Special Hobby/Flying Machines 1/48 kit series are much better and should be considered as the definitive 1/48 G.55 kit. Click on the Flying Machines sole silurante prototype kit image. It has additional resin cockpit detail whereas the Special Hobby kits only have injection moulded cockpit detail. As with most limited run kits, it is necessary to test fit all parts first.
Pacific Coast Models released a 1/32 G.55 Serie 1 and it is a great kit. Being a relatively large aircraft, it makes for an impressive model in this scale. The detail throughout has been faithfully captured and is quite easy to assemble if care is taken to prepare the parts first, especially thinning the trailing edges of the wings. Decals are provided for 4 ANR aircraft for which I prepared the artwork. Cammet Models released a silurante conversion set for this model and is now produced by Mastercasters.
Model images are linked to detailed write ups and, in most cases, are archived SAMI reviews.