by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Originally published on:
A very welcome release from Special Hobby this year is a new-tool kit of the Reggiane Re 2005. Progressively developed from the tubby little Re 2000 (itself heavily influenced by the Seversky P-35), Reggiane's series of fighters and fighter-bombers evolved into arguably the most elegant Italian fighter of WWII. Redesigned with a stretched airframe and fitted with a licence-built DB 605, the Saggittario (Archer) represented a diametrically opposite path to that taken by Republic as they developed the P-47 from similar basic origins.
Armed with a pair of 12.7mm heavy machine guns and three 20mm cannons, the Re. 2005 packed a formidable punch and was highly rated by its opponents:
“The Re.2005 'Sagittario' was a potent aircraft. Having had a dog-fight with one of them, I am convinced we would have been hard pressed to cope in our Spitfires operationally, if the Italians or Germans had had a few Squadrons equipped with these aircraft at the beginning of the Sicily campaign or in operations from Malta. Fast, and with excellent manoeuvrability, the Re.2005 was altogether a superb aeroplane. Neither the Macchi 205 nor the Bf 109G measured up to the capabilities of the Re.2005 series in manoeuvrability or rate of climb. I think it was easily the best aircraft Italy produced. It is a pity that no Re.2001/5s survive this day because they were fine examples of Italian engineering craftsmanship.” - Grp Cpt. Duncan Smith, DSO, DFC
For all its fighting qualities, the Re 2005 was built in pitifully small numbers - just 48 production machines, plus a number of prototypes, none of which appear to have survived. The only remaining relic is the rear fuselage and tail of MM.092351 - one of the aircraft featured in the colour schemes of Special Hobby's kit.
The KitSpecial Hobby's Saggittario arrives in a sturdy conventional box, with the runners and accessories bagged for protection in transit. The sample kit arrived perfectly intact and comprises:
98 x grey styrene parts (plus 4 not needed)
4 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 4 x colour schemes
As with many recent Special Hobby kits, there’s a clear division in how the parts are manufactured; the airframe involves skilled traditional limited-run kit pattern-making, while the smaller details appear to be CAD-produced. On a personal level, this combination works really well - because I love the challenge of a kit that requires a little extra experience to tackle.
Everything is pretty cleanly moulded - expect to do a little more clean-up than with a state-of-the-art mainstream kit - and there’s a touch of flash here and there (ironically, mostly around some of the higher-tech details), but it’ll be quick to take care of. On the down side, I’ve spotted a couple of sink marks on the sample kit - the most noticeable being on the undercarriage doors where there’s deep moulding on the reverse of the parts - but again, they shouldn’t present any problems for modellers with a little experience.
The nicely polished exterior finish features finely scribed panel lines with a few applique panels, plus a very subtle depiction of the fabric-covered control surfaces. This is one area where the “old school” pattern-making really scores for me, because I’ve admired how Special Hobby depict fabric surfaces since their earliest short-run models in the last century.
Test FitThere aren’t any locating pins on the fuselage and wings, but everything lines up neatly and construction promises to be pretty straightforward for a kit of this nature.
The trailing edges of the wings need a good deal of thinning to improve their appearance, but the important thing is that they are moulded straight and true. The fit between the fuselage and wings will need a little careful easing, but the result should be a neat joint.
I found the locating tabs for horizontal tail-planes are a very tight fit in their slots, but a few moments spent opening them up works wonders, and the plastic used is easy to work with.
A Few DetailsConstruction begins with a neatly fitted-out cockpit, comprising 19 parts. The instrument panel is crisply moulded and provided with a decal overlay, and there’s plenty of detail on the floor and sidewalls to repay careful painting and highlighting.
The distinctively shaped seat, with its prominent bulge for the pilot’s parachute, is moulded in three pieces and you’ll need to take care to disguise the seam down the back (to be fair, it’s hard to see how else it could have been moulded). The only disappointment is that Special Hobby haven’t included a seat harness (particularly as Italian WWII harnesses were quite elaborate. It’s ironic that a company that was among the pioneers of photo-etched details such as seatbelts in kits hasn’t provided one.
Moving on, the tailwheel features a split fork with a separate wheel in a neatly boxed-in well, while the main undercarriage is very nicely detailed and quite an elaborate assembly.
I’d normally leave the gear legs off any model until after main painting, but there’s really no easy alternative to Special Hobby’s suggested method of constructing each 14-part wheel well - complete with gear leg - before installing it in the wing. The resulting undercarriage bays should look excellent - but I will thin down the edges of the openings quite radically, as they are very thick.
The mainwheels themselves are nicely moulded, unweighted, with some neat detail on the hubs. The lower doors are moulded to include part of the undercarriage fork on the inner surface - this being what caused the slight sink mark on the outside.
The propeller features separate blades, with solid-looking angled locators which should ensure the pitch is correct with minimal hassle.
The exhausts are 2-part affairs - a row of stacks to slot inside a fairing - and should look neat enough. As with a number of other details, Special Hobby have released superior replacement resin parts in their CMK range, but the kit parts certainly aren’t bad.
The large underbelly radiator includes a 5-part core with splitter vanes.
The clear runner contains a very nicely moulded canopy, which is crystal clear with crisply defined frames. It’s thin enough to tempt slicing in two with a fine razor saw if you want to depict it open - and the level of cockpit detail provided in the kit is certainly sufficient to warrant showing off the “office” if you wish. Also provided are a clear gunsight and wingtip navigation lamps.
Instructions & DecalsSpecial Hobby provide a nicely produced 12-page instruction booklet that’s printed in colour on good quality glossy stock. Construction is broken down into 19 logical stages, and the illustrations are clear and straightforward to follow.
Colour matches are provided throughout for Gunze Sangyo paints.
The kit includes decals for the following aircraft, with an interesting mix of Regia Aeronautica, ANR and Luftwaffe machines:
Scheme A: Re 2005 Sagittario, MM.0923xx, 362-8, 362a Squadriglia, 22° Gruppo, 42° Stormo lntercettori, Littoria, June 1943.
Scheme B: Re 2005 Sagittario, MM.092351, 362-2, 362a Squadriglia, 22° Gruppo, 42° Stormo lntercettori, Capua, Summer 1943.
Scheme C: Re 2005 Sagittario, MM.092352, Red 4, Reparto Aereo Collegamenti, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, Mi|an-Bresso, March 1944.
Scheme D: Re 2005 Sagittario, MM.O96109, Lonate Pozzolo, October 1943. Converted to German standards at the factory, it was issued to the Luftwaffe on 2 October and seen and
photographed by German pilots of ll./JG77 at Lonate base.
All the featured aircraft feature the same straightforward camouflage of Verde Oliva Scuro 2 topsides and Grigio Azzurro Chiaro undersides, so painting will be straightforward. Scheme D will certainly stand out in any line-up of Luftwaffe fighters with its Italian colour scheme and non-standard markings.
The decals look excellent quality. The thin, glossy items are printed in precise register and have crystal-clear carrier film. The swastikas for the Luftwaffe scheme are designed with a separate centre to avoid problems in some countries
ConclusionSpecial Hobby’s Sagittario looks set to be a very enjoyable build. It might present a bit of a challenge for beginners, but any modellers with a few limited run kits under their belt should have few problems. I’ve got it slated as my next build this autumn and I’m really looking forward to getting started.
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