AZ Model Breda Ba-65 A-80
Kit No. AZ 7254
Decals: Two versions, both for the Regia Aeronautica in Africa, 1940
Comments: Beautifully detailed engraved panel lines; photo-etch parts for engine and cockpit; resin cowl, radial engine, and wheels
The Breda Ba-65 was a single seat, single-engine all-metal ground-attack aircraft used by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria during the Spanish Civil War, and by the Regia Aeronautica in the first part of World War II. The prototype aircraft flew for the first time in September 1935.
An evolution of Ba.64, the Ba.65 was designed by Antonio Parano and Giuseppe Panzeri. The Ba.65 was a low-wing cantilever monoplane with aft-retracting main undercarriage. Like its predecessor, it was intended to undertake multiple roles as a fighter, attack and reconnaissance aircraft. The Ba.65 carried wing-mounted armament of two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) and two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns, with an internal bomb bay capable of carrying a 200 kg (440 lb) bombload in addition to external ordnance that could total 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).
During the Spanish Civil War, 13 aircraft, powered by the Gnôme-Rhône engine, equipped the 65a Squadriglia of the Aviazione Legionaria (Legionary Air Force). The unit took part in operations at Santander in August 1937, then at Teruel and in the battles for the river Ebro. It proved effective and was compared favorably with the German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka. In a unique engagement, on 24 July 1936, a Ba-65 pilot scored an air-to-air victory when he encountered a lone twin-engine Tupolev SB-2 bomber over Soria and shot it down. Of the 23 Ba.65s sent to Spain, 12 were lost in the course of the civil war. The Ba.65s flew 1,921 sorties, including 368 ground-strafing and 59 dive bombing attacks. When the Aviazione Legionaria returned to Italy in May 1938, they bequeathed their 11 surviving Ba.65s to the Spanish Air Force.
From 2–31 May 1941, the Royal Iraqi Air Force of the Kingdom of Iraq flew the Ba.65 during the Anglo-Iraqi War, which broke out after an Iraqi coup d'état installed a new government while maintaing the existing monarchy. The Ba.65 was used against armed forces of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations which were invading the Kingdom to oust the new government.
During World War II, the Ba.65 was employed against the British in North Africa. When Italy entered the war in June 1940 about 150 aircraft were reported to be still in service, albeit suffering heavy losses facing the British fighters. Most were either out of service or shot down by February 1941, when German air and ground forces under the respective commands of Generals Kesselring and Rommel effectively took the war in North Africa over from the Italians. The Ba-65, which had been forcibly kept in service after the failure of the Ba.88 and the poor performances shown by the Caproni Ca.310, was replaced by modified Savoia-Marchetti S.79s or fighters in the dive bomber role.
A total of 25 Fiat-powered Ba.65s two-seaters were sold to Iraq in 1938. Twenty-two were equipped with Breda L turrets and two dual control trainers. They saw action against the British when the latter intervened in response to a 1941 coup d'etat. Chile bought 20 Ba.65 (17 single-seaters and three dual control trainers) powered by the Piaggio P.XI C.40 (also a 14K derivative), late in the same year. Portugal purchased 10 Breda equipped with Fiat engines and Breda L Turrets, in November 1939. The Soviet Union received 10 aircraft.
A total of 55 machines were exported and flown by the air forces of Iraq, Chile and Portugal. Production ceased in July 1939 after 218 aircraft were built by Breda and Caproni.
Resin parts provide sharp detail for the cowling, radial engine and wheels.
Length: 9.30 m (30 ft 6.1 in)
Wingspan: 12.10 m (39 ft 8.4 in)
Height: 3.20 m (10 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 23.5 m² (253 ft²)
Empty weight: 2,400 kg (5,300 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 2,950 kg (6,500 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Fiat A.80 RC.41 radial engine, 746 kW (1,000 hp)
Armament: Two 12.7mm and two 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, one of each in each wing
Maximum speed: 430 km/h (230 kn, 270 mph)
Range: 550 km (342 mi)
Service ceiling: 6,300 m (20,670 ft)
The Breda Ba-65 is molded in dark beige and consists of 27 injection molded plastic parts with engraved panel lines; photo etch parts for the engine, cockpit (instrument panel) and landing gear; and a resin radial engine, engine cowl, and wheels. There are two vacuform canopies as well. The quality is excellent; the engraved panel lines throughout the kit are so crisp that it looks as if it could be resin; but it is actually injection molded plastic. There is an injection molded internal cage for the cockpit, and a photo-etched bulkhead for the rear cockpit.
An excellent kit of an early war Italian attack aircraft. Highly recommended.