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1:32 Special Hobby Fiat G.50B Bicomando


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Fiat G.50B Bicomando


Special Hobby






Catalogue number SH32083

Price range: €45,40


During the thirties, Fiat Aviazione was one of the most advanced aircraft manufacturers in Europe. With the advent of new technology at the time, it was obvious that the next stage in the development of the aircraft industry, especially in military aviation, would be centered around all-metal monoplanes. Fiat’s Chief Designer, Ing. C. Rosatelli, had been designing mixed-construction biplanes and even an all-metal bomber. As the demand for a modern, all-metal fighter plane was high, Fiat officials made a decision to hire a young aircraft engineer named Giuseppe Gabrielli, who would later design the Freccia, the first operational Italian all-metal fighter.


The history of the Fiat G.50 began in 1931, when Fiat formed a new Aircraft Technical Bureau – Department 2 (Ufficio Tecnico Aviazione – Divisione II). The main purpose of this bureau was designing and building brand new types of modern all-metal planes. The same year, a young Italian engineer, Giuseppe Gabrielli, was hired by Fiat Chairman Senator Angelli to work for the Technical Bureau. Giuseppe Gabrielli had gained some experience in aircraft design while working for Piaggio. When he moved to Fiat, he immediately began working on several non-military aircraft projects. All of his projects were marked by the capital letter ‘G’, his initial. First was the G.2, an all-metal, three-engined plane, then the G.8 biplane trainer, and later the twin-engine passenger plane G.18.

During the thirties, the Italian Ministry of Aviation (Ministero dell Aeronautica) was interested in adopting a new, all-metal monoplane fighter and ground attack aircraft for the Italian Air Force. Some specifications for their request were: to use one radial engine, armed with at least two 0.5 in (12.7 mm) heavy machine guns with at least 300 rounds of ammunition and one 0.7 in (20 mm) gun or 1.45 in (37 mm) gun, and provisions for bombs on the ground attacker. A request was sent out to all domestic aircraft manufacturers. There were several proposals in response, but only the G.50 and the Macchi C.200 would be chosen for production. The others were either rejected (Ro.51 and A.U.T. 18) or built in limited numbers, like the Caproni F.5.

In order to solve the problem of the lack of an adequate fighter design, Fiat officials even considered the acquisition of a license to produce the American Seversky SEV-3, but nothing came of this. In April of 1935, Giuseppe Gabrielli began working on a new low-wing, all-metal plane named G.50. According to his first plans and drawings, it was to be armed with two machine guns, powered by a 550 hp radial engine (with a diameter of 39 in/1 m), weigh around 3,395 lbs (1,540 kg), and equipped with a retractable landing gear. At the same time, Fiat was testing a new FIAT A 74 RC 38 14-cylinder radial piston engine, so it was logical that Giuseppe Gabrielli decided to use it for his work. The A 74, in principle, was a direct copy of the American Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp which powered a large number of US planes, including the Douglas C-47, Consolidated PBY Catalina, Douglas TBD Devastator and Grumman F4F Wildcat. The expected speed of the G.50 with this new engine was around 285 mph (460 km/h) at 11,500 ft (3,500 m).


The G.50 Freccia, Italian for Arrow, was a single-seat, low-wing, all-metal fighter plane. The main fuselage was made from four angular shaped longerons with 17 metal frames. The wing construction consisted of a center section which was made of a steel tube connected to the lower fuselage and two metal spars connected with ribs. The four flaps were hydraulically actuated and at certain speeds they would automatically retract to their closed position. The fuselage, wing, and tail were covered with duralumin sheets. The only fabric-covered parts were the movable control surfaces in the wings and the tail.


This G.50 belonged to the 20th Group, transferred from Belgium to North Africa. [ea51.org]

The engine was placed in a tubular shaped mount made of chrome-molybdenum steel that was connected to the fuselage by four bolts. The engine and the cockpit were separated by a fireproof screen in order to protect the pilot from any possible fire outbreak, either due to engine malfunction or damage. The plane was powered by the 840 hp (626 kW) Fiat A 74 RC 38, 14 cylinder radial piston engine. With this engine, the G.50 could reach a maximum speed of 293 mph (470 km/h), with an effective range of 276 mi (445 km) and a service ceiling of 35,000 ft (10,700 m). An all-metal three-blade propeller produced by Fiat was used. One of major disadvantages of using a radial type of engine was the massive drag due to its large cross-section. In order for ground repair crews to have easy access to the engine and the fuselage interior, several access doors were added. The maximum fuel capacity was 83.5 gal (316 l.) There were two fuel tanks located in the wings 11.9 gal each (45 l) and two more in the fuselage, one larger with 26.4 gal (100 l) and a smaller one with 18 gal (68 l) with an additional auxiliary tank 13.75 gal (52 l) also located in the fuselage.

The first G.50 series had an enclosed cockpit design but as this created many issues, it was later changed to an open cockpit. Despite its disadvantages, the enclosed cockpit had an excellent rear view. Many different open cockpit designs were tested before the final design was chosen. The later version with the open cockpit had two smalls door installed to help entering or exiting the plane. The seat was adjustable, so it could be adapted to the pilot’s needs.


In front of the pilot, the dashboard was divided into three sections. On the upper section were the navigation instruments, reflector sight, fuel indicators and engine instruments. The middle section had the ammunition counter, warning lights, the position of the landing gear, compass and oxygen control panel. The lower section had the engine starter, cowling controls and compressed-air system indicator. The radio in the pilot’s cabin was the ARC 1, but the quality of the batteries was poor. A fire extinguisher system was also provided. There was also the possibility of installing one OMI FM62 camera gun.


The G.50 was equipped, like most modern aircraft of the time, with inward retracting landing gear, but the rear tail wheel was fixed. In the G.50 bis version, the rear tail wheel was changed to a retractable type. The landing gear could, if necessary, be manually operated. At first, it was of a Messier type, but it was later replaced with a Magnaghi design. The retracting landing gear was hydraulically operated, and pneumatically during lowering. In case both systems did not work for any reason, it could be manually operated. For easier and more pleasant landing, hydraulic shock absorbers were provided for both telescoping legs.


The main armament consisted of two forward-firing 0.5 in (12.7mm) Breda-SAFAT heavy machine guns, with some 150 rounds of ammunition for each machine gun. The guns were placed behind the engine top and both were synchronised in order not to damage the propeller. It is interesting to note that this gun used oil lubricant for faster firing and thus a lubricant tank was added on top of the engine. Some G.50 planes were armed with bomb racks and used in North Africa.



Trainer G.50 B

The Fiat G.50 B version with the longer cockpit design for the instructor and the student.

As the G.50 was entering production and the first operational units were formed, a trainer was needed for new pilots. As most army pilots were accustomed to flying older biplanes, retraining them for flying the monoplanes was required. For this purpose, in late 1936 the Italian Air Ministry placed an order for Fiat to developed a two seat dual control plane based on the G.50. After the mock-up was built and inspected in March 1938, it was deemed sufficient for production. By April, an order for the first prototype was placed. But due to the constant changes to the design, the production of the first prototype was frequently delayed. It was not until June 1939 when the final design with an enclosed cockpit was chosen. The plane was named G.50 B. The capital ‘B’ stands for ‘bipost,’ the Italian word for two-seater. This version was recognizable by its long glazed canopy with the rear cockpit being open from the top. The first prototype, marked 3615, would be ready in late April 1940 when it was tested by Enzio Guerra.

After only a few test flights, it was deemed adequate and was put into production. The first ten were built in 1940, with the last one built in 1943. In total, some 108 (or 100, depending on the source) G.50 B trainers were built during the war. Production by years was: 10 in 1940, 82 in 1941, 11 in 1942 and 5 in 1943.

The first series of G.50 planes produced had an enclosed cockpit design, but this was later replaced with a semi-open design. [warbirdphotographs]

The G.50 B was, in essence, a modified single-seat version with a new cockpit and dual controls. The front part of the cockpit was fully enclosed in contrast with the rear which was open. The main armament was removed on the G.50 B. This version was very successful, as it was easy to build and offered almost the same flying performance as the single-seat version.





These were used mostly by the Regia Aeronautica Fighter Schools. Smaller numbers were operated as liaison planes or even in some front based fighter units. After the Italian capitulation, small numbers, possible 20 or more, were used by the National Republican Air Force. At least one was given to the Croatian puppet state in the Balkans. The last G.50 B were used by the Flying School in Lecce for a few years after the war, up to 1948.

 Historical text and pics from https://plane-encyclopedia.com/ww2/fiat-g-50-freccia/



Now that`s look to the kit.


This model is a different version of the one-seater Fiat G.50, also from Special Hobby, with new parts.




So I check the 1:32 Special Hobby one-seater version instructions and compare with this version, and we immediately can see that the sprue A are different, with a new fuselage and new cockpit flor and there is an extra sprue, the sprue E.


Sprue A


Sprue E








And as obvious, the clear parts are also different.



As for the resin and PE parts, all is equal but you get two PE sheets (and not just one, as you have two cockpits to make.

So the box is a standard top-opening box in the Special Hobby style, and as I said 5 sprues in plastic grey, a clear sprue, two PE sheets and quite a few resin parts.

Being a limited run kit, there are none of the little luxuries such as locating pins and tabs, so take time when aligning and gluing the plastic parts.





But, as you can see the dryfitting is quite good, even being a limited run model.

 There are a few raised ejector pin circles that look like they will interfere with wing parts joining (especially on the inside of tail planes), so you'll need to clean these up prior to assembly. But that`s a quite easy job in fact.

The surface textures on the wings and fuselage are quite good with fine recessed panel lines and very subtle stretched fabric effect on control surfaces, are all well done.







Raised structural detail is molded onto the inside of the fuselage.



 The fuselage halves have detail molded into their interiors, with extra details add by several panel sections on the port side with PE levers, and other details.

 The cockpit is made up from the floor section, rear bulkhead, two seats, two instrument panel, control columns, and several sidewall instruments made of resin.




Moulding of the plastic and mainly the very good detail of the resin parts will pop out with careful painting and weathering.

The instrument panel is a single plastic part with recessed circles and raised switches and two decal sheet with instrument dial.


Passing to the resin parts, they are mainly for the engine and engine cowlings (and several small bits for the cockpit)




The resin is top noch quality as Special Hobby isthe home of CMK. The resin are in gray color has no distortion or bubbles and very good casting and detail in every single one. Very impressive casting











Most of it if for the engine that has a central core, and each cylinder must be add. There are sixteen cylinders in all so patient will be need. Here, as a typical limited run kit, you will need to make push-rods with 0.3mm diameter wire and 8mm long 













The main wheels. Well each is built from two halves.  As always, I will get the resin wheels from CMK.




The PE sheets. As it is a bi-seater, you get two PE sheets identical one with seatbelts for both seats, and some small details for the cockpit like handles and levers.






The clear parts are very well molded with good frames delimitation and also good clearance and transparency.




As for the markings, it offer four disparate markings options on the decal sheet:

Black 136, MM6425, Advanced Flying School, Regia Aeronautica, Italy, 1941


No.3510, MM6477, 1 Sqn., 1 Group, Air Base, No.1, Croatian Air Force, Zagreb-Borongaj, Croatia, June 1942


MM unknown, Luftwaffe, Italian Social Republic, Mid 1943-early 44


Black 1, MM6843, 3 Squadriglia, 2° Gruppo Scuola Volo, Aeronautica Militaire, Brindisi, Italy, 1946


The decals look quite good with good definition and color pigmentation. I don’t know who printed them as its no reference at all of the manufacture so I don’t know how they will work out.






            The instruction are a booklet with 13 pages (and two of Special Hobby products), in satin paper, with good drawings and location parts and even with aftermarket suggestion  (of their brand) along the way (nice Special Hobby)











            It´s a limited run kit so its not a beginner but with patience, work and skill it can be achieved  a very nice looking model. In fact, having build the early Special Hobby back in the 90, this one looks like almost a “Tamigawa” comparing to them.

It`s quite an unusual subjecti in 1:32, but a very welcome one after the single seater and Special Hobby has done a very good job with this one!


VERY Highly recommended.


My trully Thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample.





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An interesting plane and the kit looks decent, typical SH, but surely buildable for the more experienced builder, I guess. Thanks for the review Fran, you rolled it out in full detail.
The canopy design is interesting, as it allows the instructor (sitting in the back, I presume) to escape the plane without the hassle to open a canopy, in case one of the pupil messes up.

Cheers Rob

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