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First Look Review
Macchi M.5 flying boat fighter
12 Decal options in 1/72 and 1/48 scales
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by: James Fahey [ JAMO_KIWI ]

Most modellers looking for aftermarket WWI decals are either looking for something a bit more colourful than the kit decals, or for markings associated with particular aces. This decal release from Pheon really hits the spot on the colourful markings criteria, with some of the most interesting colour schemes you’ll find anywhere. On top of that the Macchi M.5 is a very elegant little flying boat fighter.

The decals are available in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales, and should a Macchi M.5 be kitted in 1/32, which Rowan Broadbent appears reasonably confident will happen (wahoo!), then they will be issued in that scale also. Note the price for the 1/72 set is the same as the 1/48 set but is a more limited release.

There are twelve options provided in the set including four US Navy Macchis that operated from an Italian flying boat base, Porto Corsini, near Ravenna. The hardest decision will be choosing which option to go with, as they are all interesting.

As well as the personal and national markings, Pheon have included circular decals to represent the hull inspection covers on the upper rear hull, some smaller circles for the inspection panels at the base of the fin and shapes for the machine gun blast exits and ventilation panels, all of which are tricky to paint.

The cockades all feature separate centres to avoid register issues.

In 1/72 scale the Macchi M.5 has been kitted by Pegasus (short-run injection moulded, now out of production) and by Polish manufacturer Choroszy (resin, currently available).

In 1/48 scale there have been resin kits by Lone Star Models and Hippo Models (both now out of production), and more recently an injection moulded kit by Fly. Pheon note in the instruction booklet that although the Fly kit is a nice kit and well detailed it suffers from a range of accuracy issues, particularly a hull that is too shallow. Recognising that this problem doesn’t lend itself to a simple fix, Pheon have obtained a full set of original Macchi drawings and are in the process of developing a set of hull cross section templates to allow those modellers with the patience, skills and inclination to scratch build a new hull.

Modellers who choose to build the Fly kit without correcting the hull shape will find Pheon’s cockade on the hull side will look a bit big (use the kit decal, subject to colour differences) and the relative positions of the other markings might need some juggling, as will the white waterline position. The wing cockades will be fine.

Another option would be to wait for the Blue Max 1/48 Macchi M.5 kit which is currently in development and expected to be available later this year according to Rowan Broadbent.

As with all Pheon releases, this set comes with full colour decal placement guides printed on A4 glossy photographic paper showing side and top views for all 12 options. In addition there is an A4 sized sheet featuring a single randomly selected profile that is suitable for framing.

The instruction booklet follows Pheon’s standard layout comprising service history, comments on the kits, general colouring notes, references, decal application guide and service history for each aircraft and pilot. Very useful.

To order, email Pheon directly at [email protected]

Payment is by Paypal only. Two postage options are available: 1st Class £3.60 to the UK & Europe, £4.95 to the rest of the world. 2nd Class: £2.52 to the UK & Europe, £2.70 to the rest of the world.
Highs: Very colourful, interesting markings for an elegant aircraft. Beautifully printed.
Lows: Economics of a short production run and multiple colours have necessitated a higher price.
Verdict: Possibly Pheon's best set yet. Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 48010
  Suggested Retail: £17.50
  Related Link: Pheon's page at Britmodeller
  PUBLISHED: Jun 07, 2010

About James Fahey (Jamo_kiwi)

I started modelling Airfix kits in the late '60s, eventually building most of the range and hanging them from the ceiling of my bedroom. In my teens I did a bit of wargaming, first WWII then Ancients using 28mm white metal figures. My first foray into WWI modelling was also for wargaming and I built...

Copyright ©2021 text by James Fahey [ JAMO_KIWI ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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