Macchi C.202 Folgore 1/72 Hasegawa

Macchi C.202 Folgore (Lightning) is probably the most famous Italian fighter plane of WW2, the first one that was able to fight toe to toe with its adversaries. Admiteddly, the most important factor in play was a German engine put inside (basically the same as in the Messerschmitt Bf 109). However, the airframe itself, made by the Italians from scratch, was an excellent design as well. Reportedly, the Folgore was very nimble but also robust. Like with most other Italian airplanes, the biggest disadvantage was a weak armament, consisting only of two (rarely four) machine guns.

My model depicts this particular machine of the 51° Stormo, 153° Gruppo „Asso di Bastoni“, 374ª Squadriglia. The picture above is from Sicily, 1942, I know neither the exact place nor time.

I used the old Hasegawa plastic parts, reissued recently by Hobby 2000. Originally, the kit is a new tool from 1992 and yeah, it shows its age (more than some other Hasegawa kits from the nineties that I have seen and built). However, the newer model by Italeri is just a knockoff of the Hasegawa, with a few minor changes (for the worse). So, there is no real alternative, anyway.

There are almost no details in the cockpit, the wheel well is made up (classic Hasegawa features 😅), and many hatches and panel lines are missing. The scribing on the front fuselage is sloppy, with some overdrawn lines. I rescribed and added something here and there, most visibly, all the lines of fasteners on the belly panels and gun covers in front of the cockpit.

I designed in Fusion 360, and then 3D printed several parts myself: the Venturi tube, a complete propeller with spinner, exhausts, a cockpit seat, landing gear legs with covers, and a wheel weel. Everything is available under the Airone Hobby brand. Therefore, this model also serves as kind of a demonstrator of my own products.

The wheel well is depicted with anti-sand inserts (i.e. that characteristic deep “snake pit” is covered). Incorporating it into the wing takes some work, I had to remove a lot of plastic – the upper side of the wing roots is basically translucent.😅 As a result, the well now has a realistic scale depth (the wheels fit inside completely). On the other hand, the 3D printed landing gear legs actually save time, as they are one-piece, all I had to do was insert the wheel axles.

For me, the highlight of the model is the Piaggio P.1001 propeller, with its specific shape that the original kit designers didn’t get quite right. I managed to find the authentic factory drawings online some time ago, so I dare to say that my version is reasonably correct. By the way, I focused on the correct weathering of the rear sides of the blades, which is also visible in the photo of the real thing. The spinning propeller raised a cloud of sand behind it, so the front sides of the blades were almost untouched, while the rear sides, starting from the tips, were shaved to bare metal. This is in contrast with the typical, manneristic weathering method a la “a dwarf dented the leading edges with a hammer” (yes, this is one of my favorite pet peeves 🙃).

Some tiny bits in the cockpit, mesh for the coolers, and the wheel well inner door actuators are Eduard photoetch.

As for the camouflage, all paints are Tamiya acrylics, the beige (Nocciola Chiaro) is XF-59 Desert Yellow, the green (Verde Oliva Scuro) is XF-27 Black Green, and the grey (Grigio Azzurro Chiaro) is regular British Medium Sea Grey (I forgot the XF number).
The green has to be lightened up with a large amount of white – but not too large, Verde Oliva Scuro is supposed to be dark after all, and also, the shade will lighten up by the overspray when retouching the beige.

Macchi Folgore were produced in three different factories (Macchi, Breda, SAI). Each factory used a different style of camouflage, stencil placement, and to some extent, the shape and size of the white cross on the tail. This particular Folgore was made by Breda – the underside color is pulled up high onto the fuselage sides, and the mottle is shaped like amoebas (a Macchi machine would have the upper colors wrapped around the fuselage, and the mottle of the “smoke ring” style).

I think that in the end, I got the camouflage quite right, even though it doesn’t exactly follow the photo of the real thing. The correct shape, size, and layout of the mottle is definitely the same, or even a bigger challenge than just thinning the paint and using the airbrush correctly.

The numbers and the Asso di Bastoni emblem are from the Sky Model decal sheet. At first glance, it offers a fantastic choice, it seems like you can make almost any Macchi Folgore ever produced. At a second glance, though, there are many small mistakes and omissions. In this case, there are only 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 9 numbers available, so I had to spray the red 4 through masks.

The Asso di Bastoni emblem has a wrong, pale cyan color. There is also a green and red version on the sheet, so you have plenty of (probably) wrong variants to choose from.🤣 In the photo of the real thing, the emblem is quite dark – it looks perhaps like a similar shade of blue as on the fuselage fasces? I have seen a color version of the same photo as well, where the emblem is indeed dark blue, but I am not sure if it’s not just colorized. Eventually, I got so fixated on this “problem” that I had to repaint the decal with a thin brush.😅 The national insignia and stencils are right from the kit (Hobby 2000 rebox), i.e. Cartograf, perfect in all aspects. I appreciate that the Savoia coats-of-arms are available separately – so I could airbrush the white crosses.

I had this model in the early stage of assembly for two years – basically, I only incorporated the wheel well and the exhausts (as a fit test of my products) and then put it aside. I finished the rest of the model recently in about a month, so I could take it to a model show in Moson, Hungary. In some regards, it is visible that it was made in such a hurry (feel free to criticize), it managed to score gold in the masters category, nevertheless. As always, a successful result makes you quickly forget all the troubles during the build, so I am already looking forward to building the C.205 Veltro as well (again, using my 3D printed propeller, wheel well, gear legs, etc.).

3 thoughts on “Macchi C.202 Folgore 1/72 Hasegawa

  • 4. 5. 2023 at 15:00

    What a superb model! Crisp build, fantatic finish, and one of my favorite aircraft.

    I am currently working on the same kit, and using some Airone parts. It’s a treat to see all these superb sets in place on this model. It’s a shame that no better kit of this famous and beautiful aircraft has appeared since 1992, but the Airone sets are a huge step in the right direction.

    I am especially interested to see the improved P.1001 propeller set, with detailed hubs for the C.200, 202, and 205; and separate blades.

  • 5. 5. 2023 at 4:22

    Brilliant in every aspect…not surprisingly a well deserved Gold meal winner !

    The Airone upgrades bring the beloved Folgore up to date…along with detailed research (watch the propeller chipping, everyone) and excellent paintwork, Mr. Kafka has created another masterpiece !

    Bellissimo !

  • 8. 5. 2023 at 18:34

    Very, very nice! And I support your pet peeve regarding weathered prop blades!


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