by: Warren Inman [ ]
Back in the depth’s of the Cold War a plan was hatched to obtain a new light tactical support aircraft that would be used by NATO countries to keep the menacing Soviet Empire at bay. The winner of the competition resulting from this requirement was the Fiat G.91 which first flew on the 9th of August in 1956. That’s even before I was born!! Must be an ancient plane then..
But I digress.. Over the following years 770 of these little aircraft were built and were initially used by Italy and Western Germany. Another 40 had also been built for Greece and Turkey but where not delivered. Portugal needed to buy aircraft quickly to use in their colonial wars and originally where going to buy 100 Canadair Sabres. This idea was given the thumbs down by the powers that were and instead they were offered 40 G.91s.
Greece evaluated four over a number of years.
In the end Portugal ended up with 70 G.91s of different versions, the last of which was phased out in 1993.
In 1966 Fiat, who had by then changed their name to Aeritalia, produced the G.91Y. This was a twin-engined version of the G.91 but was only operated by Italy.
But enough of the history. Hands up who thinks the G.91 looks like the F-86D Sabre Dog? If you squint and have a good imagination I am sure you can see the resemblance.
More From Ancient Times
The G.91 has been released by Airfix, Revell and Matchbox in 1/72 scale. The Airfix and Revell kits depict the earlier single engine G.91 whereas the Matchbox kit is of the twin engine G.91Y.
A G.91 has also been released in 1/48 scale by Esci and Italeri, probably the same moulds, and Tamiya released one in 1/100.
A week or so ago a parcel arrived in the post, one item in it being the Meng 1/72 Fiat G.91R, part of their 1/72 Dimorphodon Series (Yes, really).
The box is a sturdy cardboard box with top and bottom halves. The colour schemes available for the kit are shown on the sides of the box.
Opening the box reveals six polythene bags with each item having its own bag except the two armament sprues which are in the same bag.
What's In The Box
1. Four sprues of light grey plastic.
- Sprue A contains the large majority of parts including the the fuselage, flying surfaces and doors.
- Sprue B the wing fences and weapons pylons.
- Sprue C the armament, and
- Sprue D is the canopy, gunsight reflector and windscreen.
2. One sprue moulded in clear plastic.
3. Full colour instructions on glossy paper.
4. A sheet of decals.
5. A patch made of vinyl with Velcro attached to its rear depicting the Frecce Tricolori crest.
Options listed on the top of the box are
1. The ability to build two variants, G.91R1 or G.91R3,
2. Landing Gear, canopy and air brakes can be built open or closed.
3. Three painting option provided.
These are printed on good quality paper with a fold-out section on the last page showing the colour schemes in detail.
Page One of the instructions gives you a brief history of the G.91 and side views of the three colour schemes.
Page Two is the usual ‘Read carefully before assmbly’ hints and tips. Then it lists the usual cautions including common sense ones like don’t injure yourself on sharp tools etc. Then the recommended tools, how to apply the decals and finally the colour chart showing Gunze Sangyo’s Hobby Color (Acrylic) and Mr. Color (Enamel) paint numbers. Not all of the colours are in the Hobby Color list but are all listed under the Mr. Hobby list. You are going to need your equivalent charts if you use any other brands of paint.
Page Three starts the assembly process. Step 1 is assembly of the cockpit (surprise, surprise!) with comprehensive colour call outs that Trumpeter and Dragon could learn much from. There is no decal for the instrument panel and there is nothing moulded on the panel. You may not be able to see very much with the windscreen and gunsight reflector in place so this apparent over-sight may not be a problem. The instrument panel is tiny anyway. Yes, that is a larhe ejector pin tower in the middle of the ejector seat, but it should not be too hard to remove.
Step 2 covers the assembly of the fuselage and suggests the addition of a balance weight to the nose, but doesn’t tell you how much you need. There should be more than enough than enough room for the ballast in the nose area.
On to Page Four. Step 3 covers the attachment of the horizontal stabilizers, intake and gun blisters.
Step 4 is where you attach the wings and nose cone. The wings are moulded in one piece which makes sense in this scale with small wings like these. Antennas and pitot probes are moulded integral with the wings.
Page Five, Step 5 is when you attach your undercarriage doors and speed brakes. What appears to be a rarity nowadays is the provision of undercarriage doors for both the open and closed positions. Detail in the undercarriage bays and air brake bays is good with a suitably busy look for both.
Page Six covers Step 6 which is where you attach your undercarriage if you are building the aircraft with its undercarriage lowered.
Step 7 is where you get to choose which variant you want to produce as the side panels for the guns are different for the two versions. The Italian and US Army versions have 4 x Browning machine guns, whereas the Luftwaffe version had two 30mm DEFA Cannon. The canopy, windscreen and gun sight reflector are also attached here, but not necessarily in that order…
Page Seven contains Step 8 and here is where you attach your external fuel tanks and wing fences.
Page Eight, Step 9 is the armament assembly and installation stage. The parts map takes up the lower part of the page.
Pages 8 through to 13 are all for the colour schemes which are for the following G.91s;
1. G.91R/1s, Frecce Tricolori, Aeronautica Militare Italiana, Rivolto Air Base,
2. G.91R/3, LeKG 41, 31 43, Luftwaffe, ‘Bull’s Eye ‘79’, and
3. G.91R/1, US Army, Early 1961.
Things That Go Bang
The following external stores are provided with the kit;
1. LAU-3 Rocket Launcher
2. LAU-32 Rocket Launcher
3. LAU-51 Rocket Launcher, and
4. M64 500lb bombs(Well the kit ones don't weigh quite that much).
One omission I have found is that there are no painting instructions for the LAU-3 or 32 Rocket Launchers, so you are going to have to use your references for these.
I am not going to comment on the accuracy or otherwise of the kit as I am no G.91 expert but in its unbuilt form it looks to portray a G.91.
There is only the tiniest amount of flash on the wing fences but wipes away with a swipe of the emery paper, file or knife.
This release sort of makes the Airfix and Revell releases redundant and only really for the collectors market.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products
highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.