FIAT G.55 "Centauro" Sottoserie 0

Posted on 5/2/2023 in kits with tags Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana

Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana – 1ª Squadriglia "Gigi Tre Osei", 2º Gruppo, Lonate Pozzolo (Italy), May 1944

Kit details

In 1942 three Italian companies had test flown their new modern fighter prototypes: Aermacchi C.205, Reggiane Re 2005 and Fiat G.55. All three aircrafts were powered by DB 605 engine or its license built version RA 1050 Tifone. Eventually, all three types were accepted by Regia Aeronautica; however, Fiat G.55 had been selected as the primary fighter aircraft. Some interest in the new Fiat fighter swas also shown by the German Luftwaffe.

The first prototype with serial number MM491 took off on 30th April 1942, followed by other two prototypes. Later on, an initial series of 12 pre-production aircraft (serial numbers MM91053 to MM91064) were built and designated "Serie 1 Sottoserie 0". Armament of these aircraft consisted of one 20mm cannon Mauser MG 151/20 firing through the tubular propeller's shaft, and four nose-mounted 12.7mm SAFAT machine guns.

The final armament setup of subsequent aircraft of both Sottoserie 0 and Serie 1 settled on two wing mounted cannons and two machine guns above the engine. Independently of the armament changes the particular airframes were produced with two different fin types. The first production aircraft were assigned to Regia Aeronautica and proved successfully, particularly against P-38 Lightnings.

After signing the Armistice and consequent occupation of Italy the Centauros were captured for Luftwaffe service, as well as the Fiat factory in Torino which was seized by the Werhmacht. Afterwards, the interrupted production stated again and several aircraft were handed over to Luftwaffe. Eventually, the rest of produced aircraft equipped the Italian National Republic Air Force (Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana). With ANR these aircraft taken part in heavy fights against allied bombers and escorting fighters. Initially, the Centauros had been assigned to the Squadriglie Complementare Caccia "Montefusco" (later renamed to "Montefusco-Bonet" in memory of fallen commander). Later on Centauros were also assigned to 20o Gruppo Caccia that went through heavy fights and subsequently was re-equipped with Bf 109s.

Remaining Fiat G.55s were deployed at 1o Gruppo Caccia which fought quite successfully, but with heavy losses, against the overwhelming numbers of American and British aircraft until August 1944. On 10th August 1944 the test pilot S. Agostini deserted in a Fiat G.55 to Allied territory having British intelligence agent F. Gentile on board. This action had intensified the tense relation between Germany and Italy. Subsequently on 25th August, during operation Phönix, Germans engaged Italian airfields and disarmed the ANR. Machines of the 1o Gruppo Caccia stationed at Vicenza airfield get the propellers removed and eventually they were all scrapped, as well as the new machines manufactured at Torino. I

n total, 107 Fiat G.55s had been produced during the WWII; however the production was restarted again in 1946. Both Fiat G.55A (single seat) and G.55B (double seat) were produced for Italian, Argentinean, Egyptian and Syrian air forces. Both Egyptian and Syrian aircraft participated in air war against Israel.

Wingspan: 11.85 m, Length: 9.37 m, Max. speed: 620 km/h at 8000 m, Climb to 7000 m: 8 min and 34 s, Service Ceiling: 13000 m, Range: 1050 km

Painting reference

  • Underside: Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1 9E9E9E
  • Cockpit: Verde Anticorrosione B4D5D0
  • Camo: Verde Mimetico 1 73873C + Marrone Mimetico 1 705A43 + Giallo Mimetico 3 C7960D
FIAT G.55 "Centauro" Sottoserie 0
Scale 1:48
Modeler: Paolo Marcucci