Savoia S-21 Porco Rosso, Fine Molds 1/48
Sometimes you see something that piques your interest enough to make you want to do something about it, and so it was with this model. The inspiration came from an article here on iModeler posted sometime last year. Without it, I would never have known about this machine, as it sure isn't the usual kit on my radar. I don't remember who posted the article, but I would like to thank him for introducing me to this lovely little airplane.
The Savoia S-21 is a fictional seaplane featured in the Japanese anime film "Porco Rosso" (The Crimson Pig), about an Italian fighter pilot who makes a living fighting air pirates in the late 1920's. He lives under a curse, having been turned into a pig after abandoning his squadron mates during a WWI dogfight. It is a wonderful film, well worth watching. It's family suitable as well, so it can be enjoyed with the kids and wife, assuming you can talk them into it!
The airplane is based on the real life Macchi M-33, which lost the Schneider Cup to Jimmy Doolittle's Curtiss R3C. The antagonist in the film is named Curtiss and flies a modified R3C racer, which is also available as a kit from Fine Molds. The real S-21 was a biplane which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the model.
The fictional airplane is powered by an Isotta Fraschini Asso supercharged V-12 of approximately 850 hp. Armament is a pair of 7.9mm Spandau machine guns in the nose compartment. In the movie, the airplane is shot down and rebuilt, receiving a larger, more powerful "Ghibli" engine and having one machine gun replaced by an extra seat in the nose.
Colors are Model Master Italian Red upper surfaces, with the lower hull and floats painted in MM RLM-79 Sandgelb, which matches the original plastic color pretty well. The wing and rudder stripes were painted instead of using the decals. The green is from the little Testors bottles. The wings and fuselage were primed in white to make the red pop a little better, while the floats and engine nacelle were left in the original red plastic to give a little contrast. The engine nacelle and panel lines were given a dark wash to simulate grime and break up the red a bit. Cockpit interior was painted using screen shots from the movie as reference, but adding a few touches of my own, compliments of the airplane mechanic in me.
This has to be the best model I've ever built, having had absolutely no assembly problems other than those I induced myself. Take that as you will, coming as it does from someone who normally builds relics from late last century! The upper fuselage is molded as one piece, being removable if you so desire to see the cockpit, fuel tank and gun bay detail. The gun bay and engine nacelle have removable hatches. The wings attach to the hatch over the fuel tank. I elected to glue that hatch and the fuselage into place.
All in all a fun and relaxing build.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.