Macchi C.202 Serie III 

"Folgore"

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This page was last updated on 17/01/2011


Aircraft Macchi C.202 Serie III, M.M.7720, 84-1
Kit 1/48 Hasegawa Macchi C.202 Folgore ‘Baracca’, 09444
Model Build Year 2005
Additions/Modifications As detailed in text
References 1. Gentilli, R. and Gorena, L., "Macchi C.202 in action, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980

2. Massimello, G. and Apostolo, G., “Italian Aces of World War 2”, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 34, 2000

3. Scheibling, W. “Macchi C.202 Folgore”, http://www.features02.kitparade.com/c202ws_1.htm

4. Sky Models Decals, Macchi MC 202, SKY 48-015
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SUBJECT

The subject this model represents is the aircraft M.M.7720, 84-1, which was almost certainly flown by Capitano Franco Lucchini of 84a Sqadriglia, 10 Gruppo, 4 Stormo at the time of the El Alamein battles. Lucchini was the second highest scoring Italian with 21 Second World War kills plus 1 kill in the Spanish Civil War.

This is an interesting aircraft for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is the second Serie III aircraft to be manufactured by Macchi from June 1941, following on from the 10 serie II aircraft (M.M.7709-7718, May-June 1941). (100 Serie I aircraft, M.M.7859-7958, were manufactured by Breda from July 1941 to March 1942 (Ref. 1).) As such, it has a number of features that distinguish it from a later Serie III aircraft, as detailed later.

Secondly, being an early build aircraft, it was delivered in an early Verde Mimetico (a dark green) over Gigio Mimetico (light grey) scheme and operated in that guise by 1 Stormo. At some time this was over-sprayed in the field with Gialo Mimetico (a yellow-tan) to give better concealment in the North African desert.

Thirdly, it had been damaged at some stage and the rear engine cowling and starboard wing had been replaced with parts from later build aircraft, with differing camouflage, to further complicate the non-standard camouflage effect.

Colour profiles of this aircraft are presented in both Reference 1 (with serial as an out of range M.M.7669) and Reference 2. Two excellent photos exist of this aircraft in Reference 2 displaying the starboard fuselage as well as a rear quarter shot showing all upper flying surfaces. 

CONSTRUCTION

This is the second Serie III aircraft produced and the photos in show it to be similar to the Serie I as described in Reference 3. It differed however, in that the starboard wing and rear engine cover are replacements from two later production aircraft. Therefore, the kit was backdated to an early Serie III aircraft largely as per Reference 3.

Specifically, the modifications are;

    1. The oxygen filler was relocated to early, low position on the port side.

    2. The access hatches at rear of cockpit fairing were removed (both sides).

    3. The crankcase vent outlet on the starboard nose above the exhausts was repositioned further forward.

    4. The louvres on the fuselage gun access panels were removed.

    5. The access hatch on the lower mid-starboard fuselage and the access hatch and middle opening on rear engine cover, starboard side, were removed.

    6. The wing root fuel tanks removed on the underside of the fuselage/wing join as it seems that early aircraft did not have these.

    7. The aircraft would not have been fitted with wing guns because the port wing would not have been constructed to accommodate one. Therefore the wing gun barrels were removed from both wings, the panel line detail around the gun and all gun access hatches on the upper port wing as well as the ammunition case ejector slot from lower port wing were removed but retained for the replacement starboard wing. Also, the outer access panels were removed from both wings as these are for the later cannon armed C.205V.

    8. The radio mast was not fitted and the hole filled and replaced with smaller mast further back on cockpit fairing.

    9. Detail was added to both sides of radiator.

    10. I Scratch built seatbelts from aluminium foil and wire based upon advice provided by Werner Scheibling (Ref. 3). What a complicated (and uncomfortable looking) system the Italians used!

    11. I replaced the wing navigation lights with clear sprue with a ‘bulb’ drilled out and painted red/green on the inside.

    12. One thing that annoyed was that Hasegawa ran the upper wing fuselage join straight through the two wing join covers leaving half of each as part of the fuselage and half as part of the wing. To fix this, I added these covers from aluminium foil.

    13. I added a circular supercharger intake shutter valve, in the open position, to the front of the supercharger.

    14. I added fuselage guns from hollow brass rod, but you can only see these if you really look for them.

Fortunately this kit has the early tail plane and so no modification was required. I also assumed that at this time this aircraft would have been fitted with an air intake filter on the port side.

Other than the above modifications, this was an out of the box build and it generally went together with very little effort. I did use super glue to fill a gap at the lower fuselage/wing join but that was not too bad.

The main problem I had with this kit was with the upper nose piece. Hasegawa has split the nose into four parts. There is the usual left and right fuselage and these capture the propeller axle, as is a typical solution. The lower nose is a separate part to allow for the differences between the C.202 and C.205 oil coolers. The upper nose is also a separate part to allow for the complex curvature and detail of the upper cowling. I first glued the left and right fuselages together being careful to capture the propeller axle without accidentally gluing it fixed. I dry fitted the upper cowling part and found that I could not get a good fit at both the front and rear of this piece. So, what I did was to attach it at the rear, wait for this to dry, and then bend the front down whilst gluing from underneath (inside the fuselage). At this point some glue obviously got to the propeller axle causing it to seize. I couldn't get this free without messing up the build and managed to twist the axle out of shape. I attached the lower nose piece, cut off the propeller axle stub that fed into the spinner and resolved to simply attach the spinner to the remains of the axle after painting. I can't spin the prop, but this is not too much of an inconvenience.

My final problem, and one of my own making, was the radiator. I fitted this after painting and was left with a slight gap at the rear end where the fuselage section is rounded. I guess I should have anticipated this. Also, I couldn't figure out which way up the radiator splitter vane went until I found a picture on the internet. (The vertical vane thing goes down.)

PAINTING

The cockpit an undercarriage/engine bay were painted Verde Anticorrosivo (Anti-corrosion green) with detail painted other colours as required.

The first thing I did was to paint the undersides, fuselage sides and upper wing tips with the main under surface colour, Grigio Mimetico (Camouflage Grey). I then pre-shaded the panel lines and other features in these areas with black. I then painted the fuselage stripe area and the wingtips with white and, when this was dry, masked them off with Tamia tape. At this point I had not yet attached either the radiator parts or the oil cooler cover.

I then sprayed a less dense coat of the Grigio Mimetico under the wings and tailplane, being careful not to go too heavy and obliterate the pre-shading. I then masked off the wing and tailplane under surfaces excepting for the leading edges where the upper surface camouflage wraps around. I then sprayed the main colour for the upper surface, Verde Mimetico (Camouflage Green), excepting for the rear cowling and starboard wing but including the starboard aileron. These areas I sprayed Nocciola Chiaro (Light Sand). I then painted the oil cooler gun metal with some silver highlights and attached the oil cooler cover, the interior of which I had painted Verde Mimetico. I then pre-shaded these areas with black and once again lightly painted the starboard wing and rear cowling with Nicciola Chiaro so that the pre-shading just showed through.

Next I painted the ‘smoke rings’ free hand using my airbrush in RLM 80 Olivegrun which approximates the required Verde Oliva (Olive Green). I carefully referenced the available photos and actually resprayed the Nicciola Chiaro and repainted some of the rings until I was happy. I also painted the blotches on the rear cowling with the same cover, being careful not to paint too many blotches. This was harder to verify with the reference photo so I looked at other Macchis with this type of camouflage.

The rear cowling, including the complex curves of the port air intake fairing, and the starboard wing excluding the aileron were then masked off. The masking extended to the wing root but I cut out the masking tape at two wing join covers. These covers would give access to the wing join bolts and I expect that they would be the original aircraft parts and therefore the same colour as the fuselage at the wing root. I then sprayed a light coverage of Verde Mimetico, once again to allow the pre-shading effect to show through. In fact, I liked the effect and the colour of the Verde Mimetico that I’m tempted to build a plain green Macchi sometime.

As the reference photos are black and white, it is difficult to be sure what colour the overspray on the fuselage and port wing is as Reference 2 and other references differ. I’ve come to my own conclusion that the overspray would have occurred soon after it entered service at which time the available colour would have been Giallo Mimetico (Camouflage Yellow). Once again I sprayed these areas freehand with careful reference to photos. In doing this I was careful to keep the airbrush perpendicular to the surface I was spraying to minimise specs of the light colour on the dark green. Normally I prefer to spray dark onto light colours as any such splatter of dark colour shows up less on a lighter one. I couldn't do that in this case, so after the paint had dried I rubbed the surface down with wet newspaper. This is has a slight abrasive effect that not only helps to remove or minimise these small spots, but also lends a 'distressed' look to the paint.

At this point I removed the all the masking and, as a result of further research into Italian colours, I decided that the new wing under surface should be painted Grigio Azzurro (Grey Blue), as this was the contemporary under surface colour to Nicciola Chiaro/Verde Oliva. So, I masked the lower starboard wing in the opposite to the way I had for the upper surface - aileron and wing root covers being masked this time - but also masking the upper surface camouflage leading edge wrap around. I then sprayed the new colour and, when finished, added a little black to the cup and post-shaded the various wing panels and features. The effect is near indistinguishable from the pre-shading once a couple of coats of clear are added.

That is what I did next, with near disastrous results.

I sprayed the top of the aircraft with a clear gloss but managed to over do it on the fuselage sides. Leaving this overnight to dry, I discovered that the excess had pooled on the underside of the fuselage next morning. I then had to sand those down and respray the white fuselage band, mask this, and respray the lower fuselage camouflage. Fortunately this turned out OK. I was more careful when I clear coated the lower surfaces.

I then decaled the aircraft and weathered it by simulating exhaust stains by airbrushing with a mix of greys and browns and added general grime by using artists burnt umber watercolours. The latter was applied in my usual fashion; using the tip of a finger and smudging in the direction of the airflow. Any mistakes can be easily removed using a damp facial tissue.

The model was finished with a coat of clear 'flat' and the addition of undercarriage, a stub arial mast from thin wire and radio antenna wire from fin to stub mast from fly-fishing monofilament thread.

I didn't add any paint chips at this stage because I ran out of time as I wanted to enter it in a competition, the 2005 Australian Model Expo, the next day. I entered it in the "Open Aircraft - Medium - Propeller Driven (1/36 to 1/71) Modified" category but didn't rank with this plane (but did get a 2nd with my Me 262A-2a). 

CONCLUSION

I really enjoyed this kit, so much so that I bought another at the contest.

What more could I say?

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