DayGlo Models | Fiat G.91
Reviewed by Ray Peterson
“The Fiat G.91 is an Italian jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Fiat Aviazione, which later merged into Aeritalia. The G.91 has its origins in the NATO-organized NBMR-1 competition in 1953, which sought a light fighter-bomber "Light Weight Strike Fighter" to be adopted as standard equipment across the air forces of the various NATO nations. After reviewing multiple submissions, the G.91 was picked as the winning design of the NBMR-1 competition.
The G.91 entered into operational service with the Italian Air Force in 1961, and with the West German Luftwaffe in the following year. Various other nations adopted it, such as the Portuguese Air Force, who made extensive use of the type during the Portuguese Colonial War in Africa. The G.91 enjoyed a long service life that extended over 35 years.
The G.91 remained in production for 19 years, during which a total of 756 aircraft were completed, including the prototypes and pre-production models. The assembly lines were finally closed in 1977.”
Light attack fighter designs from European countries, such as the G.91, L-39 Albatros, and Alpha Jet, have been neglected by main stream manufacturers. Luckily, small garage producers have provided some of these lesser-known aircraft in resin. Fliegerhorst Authentics gave us a 1/32 Alpha Jet, Collectaire, then HpH brought out a L-39 ZA, and now in this case, a new company called DayGlo Models have released this kit for our modeling pleasure.
The kit is made up from some 91 parts in resin, four cast brass landing gear parts, six turned brass gun barrels, two turned brass pitot tubes, 44 photo-etched parts, and seven clear resin parts. Decals are provided for a single Luftwaffe aircraft. Casting quality on the whole is nice, with only a few bubbles in my example, mostly buried in the resin. Hopefully most wont open up during sanding of seams. There are some casting seams to deal with, one of the worst seams being along the bottom of the fuselage. At least DayGlo did us a favor: the pour stubs on the fuselage halves are mostly in areas that need to be removed, such as the flashing over the gear wells and air brake well. The bottom of the cockpit part, which also forms the top of the intake trunking, also has a wavy seam to deal with. The worse part of the resin clean-up for this model will be removing the parts from the pour stubs as many of them are large and thick.
The clear resin parts are well cast and very clear. A nice feature is the nose landing gear door, which contains the landing lights, is also provided in clear resin, as is the gunsight.
The PE includes the two wing fences, two canopy mirrors, and 40 tiny vortex generator which are to be folded and carefully placed above and below the horizontal stabilizer.
The turned brass items are beautiful, provided by Master Model out of Poland, and are a nice touch. The brass landing gear also look good and appear well detailed and strong. They have very little in the way of seams to clean. They do have a very polished finish, however, and may need a light sanding to get paint to stick to them properly. The instructions suggest cleaning them with soap and water, but I doubt that would be enough.
Instructions consist of sixteen A4 pages. They are very well done, with inserts of detail drawings and photos many of which appear to be from manuals. There are also many color call outs which are sorely welcome yet rarely seen in a typical short run kit, resin or plastic. They are not perfect, however, as there are a few part numbers listed which do not show at all in the instructions, such as parts 87 and 88. The builder will have to do a little extra research for locating those three small clear parts.
All parts are well packed in several bubble wrap packets with more bubble wrap sheets enclosing the entire contents. A very professional looking box with line drawings on the lid completes the package. Unfortunately, even with the care taken, there was damage during transit for my kit. One break occurred where a small finger of resin broke from the nose where the nose cone is supposed to attach. Thankfully, I found the small broken part and it should be relatively easy to fix. Not so for the drop tanks. Nearly every fin has broken off them. I believe the problem stems from the tanks themselves being solid and quite heavy and the fins being cast directly on them, paper thin, with rather large casting blocks on the end of the fins. So, you have rather solid blocks each end of very delicate fins and they just couldn’t handle the jostling during shipping. They will have to be replaced with plastic card. I am also missing a part off of the clear part sprue, the early nose landing gear door with the single light. Probably will have to be scratched also if I need it.
The decals appear well printed – I can’t tell by who – with good colors, good registration, and with film tight to the markings. My example included two small errata sheets; two more modern German crosses (they were shorted on the main sheet) and new black armament boards (‘armament’ was mis-spelled on the main sheet).
Kit Options and Accuracy
The kit instructions show how the aircraft can be built as an G.91-R/1/3 or as an G.91 “Pre-series” or “PAN”. The G-1 is armed with quad .50 cal/12.7mm Browning machine guns and the G-3 is armed with a pair of 30mm cannon. The Pre-series and PAN are both armed with the quad machine guns. Markings are provided only for a single aircraft; German Luftwaffe G.91-R/3 30+93. Apparently Italian national markings are copyright protected (crazy!) although free markings were available for a short time on an Italian modeling forum. I do not know if they are available at this time. I asked for a set but never received them. Further German markings are available from Hahen Aircraft Accessories, including a shark mouth decorated example. The kit decals provide a pretty complete set of stenciling, including optional stencils in English only, with very good stencil diagrams.
Accuracy of the kit looks very good. Compared to photos I could find on the internet as well as photos and line drawings in my reference, the kit is a very good match in scribed detail and size and shape. The cast-in detail in the cockpit tub, bang seat, and instrument panel is outstanding! The detail matches well with cockpit drawings I found with only a few slight variations, but I am not sure which variant the drawings were for, so no judgements at this time for that. I am sure additional detail could be added – more wiring, canopy detail, rivets, etcetera but a great base is provided. Detail in the form of ribs, structural elements, and major fixtures are well represented in both the wheel and air brake wells, although piping or wiring is absent. The exhaust is a smooth tube with a representation of a fan face on the interior. Looks pretty simple to me but I haven’t found a good photo of what it is supposed to look like so check your references!
The worst feature in the kit is the intake trunking – it doesn’t exist! The inside of the fuselage halves make up the bottom and sides of the intake and the underside of the cockpit make up the bottom. Unfortunately, the rear of the cockpit is where it ends, with a short void afterwards then a solid bulkhead. Between what will be hard-to-deal-with joints and incomplete piping, as well as no fan face, this may be a case where a FOD cover is the best option.
Another area where modification may be needed is the cannon or gun troughs. The troughs may need to be deepened a bit as they look a little tight for the brass barrels to fit parallel to the centerline and stay in the trough. They might work, but it will be close. It is something to watch for.
The G.91-R/4: Another Option
While I was researching this model, I learned about the R/4 variant. This was an aircraft developed for the Hellenic Air Force. An order was placed, but after receiving the first couple of aircraft, the Greeks were not happy with them and cancelled the order. Forty aircraft were in production and the Italians were able to sell them to Germany which already had many R/3’s on hand. However, there was enough detail differences between the two types causing the Germans to not be too happy with them for logistic reasons. Enter Portugal.
The Portuguese were dealing with dissension in its African colonies, especially Portuguese Guinea. They were in desperate need for aircraft for COIN operations. Due to pressure from the West, most countries declined to sell them anything. Eventually Germany offered them the ex-Greek machines and Portugal jumped on them. What makes them an interesting option is this is one of the few times the G.91 was used in conflict, and the fact one of the squadrons that used them was Esquadra 121 ‘Tigers.’ Aircraft of this squad carried standard Luftwaffe camouflage colors on its uppers, RAL5014 blue on its lowers, with a sharkmouth on the nose and a tiger’s head squadron logo under the canopy. Along with the Portuguese national markings make this a nice colorful set of markings. A concise history of this period, along with some profiles, are at this web page.
To make a G.91-R/4, most of the parts are included in the kit. The R/4 is pretty close to a R/3 so use the camera nose and the late vented front covers, parts 29A and 29B. The R/4 is armed with quad Brownings, so use the corresponding parts, 32 and 33. From photos – as far as I can tell – the modeler should use part 19 for a Mk. 4 bang seat, and the early, flatter canopy part 83. Photos show the narrower nose landing gear with a single lamp, so use the early part 86, along with corresponding parts 45 and 46. It also appears they used the late drop tanks, parts 74 on the inner pylons. There are supposed to be some other variations from the R/3 for the Greek R/4, but I have yet to find what they are.
This is a very well done, very professionally produced kit. If you have any interest at all in the G.91 this is your chance. Other than the intake trunking, which is a tough one to deal with, a well detailed model can be had right out of the box.
Kit courtesy of my over-used credit card.
Available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or at CM Modellismo.
Warpaint Series No. 49: Fiat G.91 by Richard Caruna
Also, check out the recently started build thread in the forums.
© Ray Peterson 2018
This review was published on Monday, August 06 2018; Last modified on Tuesday, August 07 2018