PCM 1/32 Fiat G.55 Centauro

By Angelo Battistelli

After Macchi MC 205 Veltro and Reggiane Re 2005, Fiat G.55 was another airplane equipped with twelve cylinder engine Daimler Benz D.B. 605 built by Italian factory under licence. Fiat G. 55 was built in metal and had an extended wing span and high speed expecially in high altitude. It was produced in small quantity and was not be able to make difference in air war in Italy. The first prototype flew on April 1942 and immediately showed its good performances and flight. The Centauro was called "SERIE 0", early version armed with 1× 20 m.m. cannon M.G. mauser and 4 ×12 Breda Safat machine gun two on the upper cowling engine and two lower cowling firing trough the propeller arc. Another version followed called "Serie 1" was armed with 3×20 M.G. cannons (151/20 in each wing and one on the cowling of the tree blade propeller) and 2×12,7 m.m. Breda Safat on the upper cowling engine. Fiat G. 55 Centauro served on Regia Aeronautica with pre-production series of 34 airplanes ordered to "Serie 1". Squadrons of Regia Aeronautica that utilized G. 55 were "Ventesimo Gruppo" of 51 "Stormo Caccia Terrestre" in Ciampino airfield, 353 ^ Squadriglia based in Umbria; others were assigned to 372 ^ Squadriglia of 153 Gruppo in Torino Mirafiori until the Armistice of "Otto Settembre 1943". When Italy surrendered to the Allied Forces. The Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana was the air force born at the end of 1943; After this period "Centauros" were employed for duty interceptions of Allies Bomber that were passing throw in the sky of North Italy. "Squadriglia Montefusco" was the first Unit that operated in Piemonte on March 1944. Another Unit operated with Fiat G - 55 was 2nd. GROUP Caccia : Squadriglie 4^ "Gigi Tre Osei", 5^ "Diavoli Rossi" 6^ "Gamba di Ferro", based on the airfield of Milain, Varese, Parma, Pavia, under the Repubblica Sociale Italiana insigna; this powerful and fast aircraft proved itself to be an excellent fighter airplane an excellent interceptor at high altitude claiming many victories against P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt and Spitfire Mk IX. After the Second World War the "Centauro" served in the Italian Air Force and was re-equipped with a new engine the Rolls Royce Merlin twelve cylinder engine. Today only an airplane survive, it is preserved in Italy in Vigna di Valle Air Museum near Rome.

The Model

Built in plastic parts, resin reproducing cockpit and main landing gear bay it's joined by photo-etched parts. It's Short Run Kit and is the only one in 1/32 scale, I enjoyed myself during the construction of this kit, in fact building has not create any problems. I decided to separate the surfaces of the ailerons, of the elevators and rudder only to give it a maximum realism, in terms of production design and easy to assembly. The resin detail parts are very nice and I've not spent a lot of time assembling them.

Painting and Markings

I decided to do my Centauro as G -55 1^ Squadriglia, Secondo Gruppo Caccia based in Cascina Vaga (Pavia) in gray camouflage R.L.M. 74/75/76. The insignia Squadron "Gigi Tre Osei" painted in each side of the cowling engine, wing fasces on the upper wing have a clear background, while the lower ones are usually white with R.L.M. 76 paint scheme. For painting the model I've used Gunze Sangyo acrylic colours sprayed with airbrush Paashe; the Cartograf Decals are very nice, I applied them without any problem under a couple coats of Mr. Mark Softer Gunze. I washed the model with oil black for giving it a used appearance. I applied exhaust stains with black Tamiya Smoke, after I gave a final coat of Microscale Microflat for a flatter finish real. Real Fiat G-55 Centauro 6 black (1^ Sq. 2^ Gr.C.) was used in dogfight in North Italy on 1944 by Sottotenente Pilota Amedeo Fagiano.

© Angelo Battistelli 2017

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This article was published on Friday, September 01 2017; Last modified on Friday, September 01 2017