Special Hobby J-20/Reggiane Re-2000 “Swedish Service”

Kit: SH72226 Special Hobby 1/72 scale J-20/Reggiane Re-2000 “Swedish Service”

Price: £9.67 (Special Offer) available from Hannants UK.

Decals: 4 options.

Reviewer: Richard Reynolds

Notes: Multimedia kit with resin and photo etched parts.

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History

The Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I, first flew in 1939 and was an all metal, low-wing monoplane fighter design, developed towards the end of the 1930s. The aircraft had good endurance, superior to contemporary Macchi and Fiat fighters. The Re.2000 was powered by a single Piaggio P.XI RC 40 14-cylinder twin-row air-cooled radial engine, 986 hp (736 kW) (1000 CV) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft), however, this power-plant was considered unreliable and despite good performance and flight characteristics the Re.2000 was considered unsatisfactory by the Italian authorities.

A limited number of aircraft were ordered by the Regia Aeronautica, despite this, the type found export success with Hungary (70 machines) and Sweden (60 machines). Due to a shortage of fighter aircraft at the outbreak of the war (It was US policy to favour the UK in arms supply in order to combat the Nazi Regime); neutral nations such as Sweden had to resort to ingenious methods to acquire combat aircraft.

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The Swedish Air Force obtained 60 Re.2000 Serie I aircraft, which received the Swedish designation J 20 and were delivered during 1941-43. All of the J 20s were stationed at the F10 wing near Malmö. Maintenance was a problem but nevertheless it was satisfactory. At the end of the war, the 37 J 20s that remained in service were so badly worn out that they were decommissioned in July 1945.

They were equipped with two 12.7 mm automatic guns made by Breda in Milano. The aircraft were used in the neutrality guard and had the important mission to intercept Axis and Allied fighters bombers that violated Swedish airspace from the south. One J 20 was shot down while intercepting a German Dornier Do 24 near Sölvesborg in April 1945.

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The Swedish J-20 was based on the Re.2000 Serie I, but differed in a number ofways. Empty weight was 4,828 lb (2.190 kg), typical weight was 6,393 lb (2.900 kg), max take-off weight was 6,724 lb (3.050 kg). Max level speed was 311 mph (450 km/h) at optimum altitude, and range was 808 miles (1.300 km). Climb rate was 19,685 ft (6.000 m) in 8 minutes 0 seconds, and a height of 31,170 ft (9.500 m) could be reached.

The Swedish pilots liked the aircraft for its speed, climb rate and manoeuvrability, but the ground crew had another opinion of the aircraft mainly because of the unreliability of the engine and the problems in cold weather circumstances with the propeller and gun equipment.

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The Kit

The kit comprises 2 sprues in grey injection moulded plastic, one clear bag of 13 resin casting blocks, two vacu-formed canopies, one photo-etched fret, a clear instrument film, decal sheet with options for four Swedish Air Force machines and a ten page instruction booklet.

The kit is supplied in an end-opening box with full-colour box art. The injection moulding is crisp with fine recessed panel lines. No sink marks or blemishes were apparent and the fit of the fuselage halves was good.

The instructions come in an ‘exploded-view’ format in 13 steps. These are clear and easy to follow, with each stage presented in a logical style.

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Construction

The parts were washed using a warm-soapy solution to remove the mould release from the kit and then dabbed dry. All of the parts were then sprayed with auto-primer from a rattle can. The interior was airbrushed with Humbrol 226 interior green. The cockpit is well furnished including; a 6 piece instrument panel and bulkhead; a 9 piece cockpit seat and a beautifully moulded floor and side walls. All are contained in a ‘tub’ which fits neatly into the fuselage halves. The Piaggio engine comprises a polyurethane central cylinder to which 14 cylinders are attached.

The fuselage halves and wing components fit easily and do not require filler. After the tail planes had been fitted, the airframe was left overnight to dry. Next, the vacu-formed canopy (two are supplied in case of mistakes), was softened for 30 seconds in warm water to make the unit more malleable for trimming. Nail scissors were used to carefully trim around the base of the canopy which was dried before Eduard’s Reggiane Re.2000 canopy mask was applied. Finally, the canopy was fitted using white glue and the airframe was sprayed using grey auto-primer from a rattle-can.

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Camouflage and markings

Four options are available in this kit. All are examples from F 10 Air Wing of the Flygvapnet. I chose J-20 (Re 2000) FV-nr 2353, F10-53, 2. Divisionen (squadron), F 10 Air Wing. F 10 Ängelholm, also known as Skånska Flygflottiljen, Scania Air Force Wing, or simply F 10, is a former Swedish Air Force wing with the main base located in southernmost Sweden. The undersides were airbrushed using Humbrol 166 pale grey, which were then masked using tamiya tape before the top-sides received several coats of Humbrol 84 sand. This formed the base-coat for the colour scheme. Next Humbrol matt 186 tan was airbrushed in a ‘honeycomb’ pattern before Humbrol matt 105 green was applied in a mottle effect allowing the edges of the sand and tan to show at the edges.

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Final Construction

The last stage of construction included the addition of the exhaust stubs, pitot tube, main undercarriage and doors. Finally, the decals were applied using micro-sol and micro-set decal setting solutions. The decals were of good quality, opaque, thin and in register. This kit was a pleasure to build; I can recommend it to all modellers interested in Swedish, Italian or more esoteric subjects.

Highly recommended.

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References

Richard Reynolds

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