Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Fiat BR.20

Alpha Flight, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Kit #4806 - Fiat BR.20
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 116 pieces in gray resin; 26 in clear vacform; 7 white metal parts; 95 photo-etched parts; 3 printed acetate panels; markings for 6 aircraft
Price: MSRP USD$189.95 available online from Pacific Coast Models
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High quality castings; high level of detail; useful inclusion of photo-etched parts; good decals and instructions.
Disadvantages: Some air bubbles and light flash; high price makes this for the discerning Italian or Japanese fan only!
Recommendation: Highly Recommended.


Reviewed by Matt Swan

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com




This aircraft was first proposed in 1934 by Celestino Rosatelli with the intent of creating a standardized bomber for the Italian Air Force. Powered by a pair of Fiat A80 RC41 18 cylinder radial engines the Br.20 took flight for the first time on February 10, 1936 at Torino Alitalia and by November of 1937 20 aircraft had been delivered for operational use. The type demonstrated very good handling characteristics and sturdy construction but was to be quickly outclassed by new aircraft under development in Germany, England and even in Italy. By 1940 the aircraft was obsolete.

The Br.20 “Cicogna” (Stork) was partly skinned with light metal alloys and partially with fabric. It did see action it the Spanish Civil war and in the French campaign with Italy’s entry into the Second World War. Four basic version of the Br.20 were manufactured with the initial run being simply Br.20 followed by a modified version, Br.20M and a few Br.20 bis models and about 82 for export to the Japanese as the Army Type 1 model 100 “Ruth” – a short nosed version. The Japanese used these in the Manchurian War prior to WW2. The only serious problem they had with it was the chronic lack of power and the poor reliability of the Fiat engines. With a top speed of 158 MPH and three light defensive guns it was not going to show good survivability where air superiority was not maintained.

Even though an obsolete aircraft almost right from the start it was used by Axis forces throughout the war. The production run was cut short when Italian aircraft manufacturing decided to concentrate on the CANT Z.1018 bomber. Br.20s operated in Malta, Battle of Britain, Yugoslavia and the Balkans. The Br.20M saw action against Russia, Allied forces in North Africa and was even used briefly in the Battle of Britain but was withdrawn after failing to achieve any real results.

By time production ceased approximately 594 aircraft of all types had been manufactured.



This is an all resin kit - well almost all resin. She arrives in a standard sized light duty cardboard box and within we have several bags of goodies. First are the primary aircraft pieces. The wing panels and fuselage halves look very much like what you would expect from an injection molded kit other than they are resin, and good quality resin at that.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The material is light gray and slightly flexible with a nice smooth texture and no heavy mold release agent residues. While examining the fuselage pieces thin flash is evident across the windows and wing mounting holes but it is so thin that it virtually pops out with some light pressure from the fingertip. Around the nose are of the left hand side there are two very large air bubbles that must be filled before and construction could begin. A few smaller air bubbles can be found here and there but nothing very serious, better than found on most all resin kits. There are also a few air bubbles found within the wing panels and again, none of these are very serious in nature. Other than the light flash over the windows there is no other flash evident on the parts. All panel lines are fine and clean, fuselage fabric definition looks good, the inner sides of the fuselage displays complete framing and no serious warpage is evident in the large parts. Upon test fitting the fuselage all panel lines meet up nicely.

Also included with this kit are two medium sized bags of resin detail pieces. Here we have all the interior cockpit pieces, mass balancers, nacelles, separate flight control surfaces and individual propeller blades and hubs. Each engine includes eighteen separate cylinders to be mounted to the crankcase/gear reduction box. Wheel wells have excellent interior detail and the exhaust manifolds are like pieces of artwork. All the resin pieces have a most definite feel of quality to them. In addition to the resin pieces there is also a small fret of photo etched brass pieces. Here we have more cockpit detailing items and engine detailing items. The dash harkens back to the old MPM vacuform kits with a PE part that overlays an acetate instrument sheet mounted on a plain backing plate. The kit includes two sets of vacuformed clear pieces as well.

While the clear parts have good clarity and well defined frame lines there are lots of little tiny dimples all through the pieces from the vacuforming process.



On the plus side we do get two sets of these parts so there is some room for error. As this is a resin kit it will have some considerable mass once complete and to keep all this standing where it belongs the landing gear are provided in white metal. The main struts, retraction arms, rear strut and defensive guns are all done in white metal.

Taking a quick review of the package contents we have one hundred sixteen resin pieces, thirteen clear parts (duplicated for twenty six), seven white metal pieces, ninety five photo etched brass pieces and three acetate panels for a total of two hundred forty seven pieces in the box.

Decals and Instructions

Instructions for this kit begin with a full sized A4 booklet with a brief historical background of the aircraft on the cover. Following this is a complete parts map and twenty six exploded view construction steps. Within the exploded views are a few interior painting tips and some limited construction tips. For exterior painting and decal placement we turn to two A3 sized full color spreads folded in the bottom of the box. Here we have three-views of four Japanese aircraft, an Italian aircraft and a Spanish Condor Legion



This kit actually comes with four sheets of decals; a primary sheet and three small auxiliary sheets (you may click on the image at right to view a larger picture). The primary sheet covers the four Japanese aircraft and the Spanish bird. The three smaller sheets cover the single Italian example shown in the instructions. The decals are by Cartograf of Italy and look to be of exceptional quality. The print registry is dead-on, color density looks very good and they seem to be properly thin on the paper. The Italian set shows some real nice metallic gold in the insignia as well.




A price tag of $189.95 can make most modelers think twice before reaching for the wallet but one should first consider just how much cash is involved in putting together a large modeling project that would include resin and PE details and decal options for multiple aircraft. Starting with a middle of the road kit and adding all the appropriate aftermarket items can easily reach this same amount, if not more, quite quickly.

A unique aircraft and one not commonly found in this scale (other than the M version also by Alpha Flight), this is most definitely something to acquire for the discriminating Italian and Japanese aircraft collector. Other than a few air bubbles the resin parts are all well cast, the photo etched pieces will add a wonderful level of detail and the metal gear will ensure it maintains its stance in your display. At this point in time there are no aftermarket items for this kit and in truth it does not need any – it truly is a complete model kit.

Highly Recommended.

Review sample courtesy Pacific Coast Models.

Text and Images Copyright © 2006 by Matt Swan
Page Created 16 March, 2006
Last updated 15 March, 2006

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page