Originally built for SAMI and appeared in the October 2004 issue.
The kit comes in a plain white cardboard box, the graphics on an outer secondary lid made from a laser printed sheet. The contents are a kit made entirely out of various shades of ivory coloured resin with a large, but very thin, clear single vacform moulding for the cockpit enclosure. Decals are a set of generic Luftwaffe markings (although an Italian dive bomber design, it was tested by the Germans until the 1943 Armistice). Overall moulding is typical limited run, with some minor surface imperfections and panel lines lacking the finesse expected these days. They were deeply scribed and appear to be hurriedly done. So much so, the scriber had slipped in a few places! It's not too much of a problem, they are easily filled.
The A5 sheet has a hand drawn parts layout and assembly sequence on one side, with all parts given a Humbrol colour code. A markings guide is on the reverse, again using Humbrol colour codes. No history is given.
To help with the construction of this model, various photos were found via the Internet. First job was freeing the one piece fuselage and the two wings from their casting blocks. They were left with very prominent seams, which required a fair amount of cleaning up. As a consequence, a small bullet fairing needs to be restored just before the exhaust stack and the leading edge of each wing made smooth again, although comparing them with the photos suggest the inner leading edge is too sharp at the fuselage join. The wing to fuselage mating surfaces were also sanded smooth & level to get a nice clean butt join. The untidy wheel wells were reamed out with a grinding tool to improve their appearance. The rest of the assembly sequence is fairly trouble free, although mounts for the oil coolers had to be adjusted to get them to align properly. The cockpit has just the right amount of detail to not be thought of as bare. The most critical part of the assembly is the large canopy. It is a very thin, fragile moulding and as only one is supplied, it needs to be handled with extreme care. Fortunately it is a relatively simple shape to cut and is a very good fit, although a touch of Milluput is needed on the fuselage, both fore and aft, to fair it into the canopy properly.
It was clear that Legato have not got the spinner shape right at all. It looked just plain silly on the model and was impossible to ignore. After a trawl in the spares bin, the front section of the drop tank from the Tamiya Dinah kit was found to be a reasonably good match. A hole was drilled in the tip for the cannon aperture. The photos also show that the undercarriage parts are not quite right either. To me, they look suspiciously like copies from the Italeri Ca.311 kit. That could explain why they were too short and the wheels too small. I would suggest adding about 2mm to the length of the main undercarriage and, if at all possible, find 1mm bigger diameter and fatter wheels. I used shortened and revised undercarriage legs taken from the LTD IAR80 kit and wheels from a Falcon RE.2005 kit. The correct "sit" of the aircraft is now restored and had the added advantage of enabling a better fit for the undercarriage doors, which are made up of four sections. They are a bit thick, so make new ones out of thinner plasticard, if you wish. The exhausts were the last items to be glued in place, but not before they were trimmed. With no recesses in which to place them, they protruded far too much.
Published dimensions give a span of 13.9 metres, length 11.01m and a height of 3.79m. WIth this information, the model was found to be 3mm short on span, although with the revised spinner and undercarriage, the correct fuselage length and height were restored. Having corrected the spinner and undercarriage this model does capture the look of this aircraft. Using the kit parts, it certainly wouldn't have!
This was a one-off prototype, so there is only one scheme. It is the of late WWII Italian camouflage scheme of Verde Oliva Scuro, with Grigio Azzurro Chairo lower surfaces. German markings are used, but the Regia Aeronautica fuselage band had been retained. I used Xtracolor X134 for the lower surfaces and X109 for the upper surfaces, using Tamiya tape to mask the windows. The white fuselage band was previously painted and masked with Humbrol Satin White. Humbrol Satin Varish was used as a seal coat.
A very simple sheet that, with the help of Future, was no problem to apply, although the Swastika was way too small. I replaced it with a correctly sized spare. Rating 6/10.
On appearances alone this kit gets my vote, as I have not seen another aircraft like quite like it. The strange cockpit layout was to test the concept of having the pilot lay prone in order to avoid blackouts when pulling out of dives. Once the parts have been cleaned up, it is a relatively simple model to construct. If only a spare canopy was supplied, it would have made that part of the assembly much less stressful. The undersized spinner, incorrect undercarriage and rather crude panel engraving let this model down and would only recommend this model to those willing to tackle these problems.