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Astrokit 1/48 scale Macchi C.200 Saetta

Manufacturer: Astrokit (Italy), distributed by Pacific Coast Models, 613 Martin Ave., No. 106, Rohnert Park, CA 94928-2000.
Kit: No. 48201
Scale: 1/48
Price: $42.25
Comments: Cast resin, 45 parts (1 vacuum-formed canopy), decals.
Pros: Excellent detail, good cockpit interior, beautiful decals, good subject.
Cons: Parts alignment tricky, some warpage, right wing thicker than left.
The Macchi C.200 Saetta came from Italy's advanced fighter development efforts in the late 1930s, but due to the rapid technology advances in Germany, Britain, and the United States the C.200 was quickly obsolete. Even so, it saw much action in air battles over the Mediterranean, North Africa, and even the Soviet Union. Interestingly, the design had potential for improvement and led to the sleek C.202/205 series of fighters.

Astrokit's all-resin Macchi C.200 is one of the few 1/48 scale kits of this classic Italian fighter. Molded in tan resin, it features fine surface detail with comparatively few of the molding flaws that often mar resin kits. The fuselage and wings are solid resin pieces, which make for a hefty model. The cockpit is accommodated by cutouts in both left and right fuselage parts. All cockpit details except for the seat, stick, and instrument panel are molded in the cutouts.

Astrokit provides a choice of windscreens: One is vacuum-formed plastic and the other is a resin frame with individual clear plastic panels. Instruments are provided on clear film to be added to the back of a resin panel. An interesting feature is the wing root at the fuselage has internal structure represented; this would be visible only with the wing removed, making a maintenance diorama easier to create.

I started construction by building the radial engine and cowling. The engine fits snugly within the cowling with the cylinder heads dropping into the cowling bulges. The fronts of the cowling parts are molded solid and need to be opened up. I found this easily accomplished with a motor tool and a grinding drum.

Astrokit provides a pair of separate alignment pins that fit into holes in each fuselage half. After test fitting I found they didn't help alignment, so I left them out. I used both super glue and five-minute epoxy to assemble the main components.

Most of the small parts are fragile. I found this out when I broke the pilot's armored backplate while trying to clean it up. I used the broken pieces as a form to cut out a sheet styrene replacement. A numbered parts diagram is provided, but the parts themselves are not numbered on the resin trees. One landing gear in my kit was a bit warped but I didn't try to correct it for fear of breaking it. If I were to build another, I would replace the landing gear with suitable plastic parts.

Built straight from the box, the model has almost no dihedral, but the instructions feature a drawing showing a small amount. Sanding the wings or wing root should fix the problem. My right wing was significantly thicker than the wing root molded on the fuselage. I made it fit best on the top (most visible) surface and sanded the bottom until it faired in.

I painted my Macchi with Polly Scale's World War II Italian Air Force colors. Markings for two aircraft are provided on the Tauro decal sheet. These went on without any problems.

Two excellent references on the Macchi C.200 are Ali D'Italia 8 Aer.Macchi C.200 and Aero Details 15 Macchi C.200/202/205. Based on these the Astrokit looks accurate, but the wings measure just a tad over scale.

My Macchi C.200 was complete within 18 hours. If you haven't built a resin kit before, the Astrokit Macchi is a good starting point.

Jim Zeske

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