by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Written by Maurizio Di Terlizzi, with additional text and editing from Richard Franks, the new technical will appeal to both aircraft enthusiasts and modellers alike, with a very useful blend of historical data, walk-around-style photos, and a detailed examination of the aircraft’s rich variety of paint schemes.
The 82-page A-4 softbound volume is printed on high quality stock, and the translation from the original Italian text is excellent throughout. There are hundreds of well chosen photographs - both period shots (including a few rare colour shots) and modern views of preserved airframes. Extensive use is made of original maintenance manual illustrations, while top quality colour profiles are provided by Richard J. Caruana and Angelo Brioschi.
The book breaks down into three main sections:
1. Brief History.
This 18-page Introduction gives a concise and informative background to the development and operational career of the MC-202. It describes each series in a useful identification guide that will make it much easier to differentiate between the versions in period photos.
2. Technical Guide.
The next 40 pages examine the fighter in detail, combining wartime and walk-around photos with technical illustrations to produce an excellent reference for anyone building a kit of the MC.202 The quality of the vintage photos is obviously variable, but they are very well reproduced and accompanied by excellent captions. The airframe is broken down into the following areas:
Fuselage (including the cockpit)
Controls and Control Surfaces
Engine, Propeller, Exhausts and Cowling
There’s a mass of detail revealed - a fair amount of which I have to admit I’d not picked up on before. When you look at the author's painstaking reconstruction of a full-sized Serie III instrument panel, you realise just how (moist likely) uniquely qualified he is for this reference work. The combination of vintage and modern shots works excellently in filling the inevitable gaps in many modern restorations (e.g. the cockpit of the Italian Air Force Museum's aircraft looks decidedly forlorn).
3. Camouflage & Markings.
This 20-page guide gives an excellent overview of Regia Aeronautica camouflage in general, and its use on the MC.202 in particular. Again accompanied by excellent captions and diagrams, there will be a few surprises for anyone who’s only taken a passing interest before. The guide to using the camouflage style to identify the airframes produced by each subcontractor is really handy, and the set of high quality profiles included, with heady mix of Regia Aeronautica, Luftwaffe and Allied schemes should really provide some inspiration to book a spot on the workbench for this attractive aircraft.
Finally, a set of Appendices gives a handy overview of MC.202 kits and accessories, along with a bibliography.
ConclusionThis book is pretty much essential reading as a modelling reference on the Folgore. I’ve always found Regia Aeronautica aircraft fascinating, so I hope this guide to the MC.202 is just the first in an extended series of Italian subjects from Valiant Wings. Highly recommended.
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