Nardi F.N. 305 by Azur

1/72 scale
Kit No. A042
Cost: $22.00
Decals: Three versions — one French and two Italian (one for cream-colored personal mount of Major Tito Falconi, Squadron Leader of 23 Gruppo; one for a machine bearing sand and dark green camouflage, and assigned to a Regia Aeronautica flying school (Scuola Caccia di Castiglione del Lago), 1940-41)
Comments: Engraved panel lines, resin seats and cowling, photo-etch instrument panels with acetate film inserts for dials

History

Designed in 1933 and first flown in 1935, the Nardi F.N. 305 was a single-engine, tandem two-seat monoplane intended to meet the need for a trainer, and doubling and a touring and sports aircraft. The first F.N. 305’s used by the Regia Aeronautica in the training role were powered by the Alfa Romeo 115-I six-cylinder inline engine of 190 horsepower (although the first prototype models were powered by a Fiat A.70S). At the time of its introduction, the F.N. 305 was unjustifiably considered by traditionalists to be “dangerous” because it was one of the first Italian light aircraft with a retractable undercarriage and such novel features as flaps, flaperons and a fully enclosed cockpit. But it eventually gained acceptance and its attractive lines became a common sight at Regia Aeronautica flying training stations.

There was a plan to produce both single-seat and two-seat variants and the next prototype was a single-seat fighter trainer followed by a two-seat basic trainer prototype. Both had open cockpits. Two long-range FN.305D variants were then produced, powered by a 200hp (149kW) Walter Bora radial engine. The first FN.305D was a two-seater which was used on a record-breaking flight between Rome and Addis Ababa in March 1939 gaining a class record for covering the 4463.8km (2,773,68 miles) at an average speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). The second FN.305D was a single-seater bought by Yugoslavia for an aborted attempt at a non-stop North Atlantic flight.

A short while before Italy’s entry into World War II, 36 F.N. 305’s were supplied to the French Armee de l’Air, where they were employed in the fighter training role. After the German offensive in the west and the rise to power of the Vichy government, the few remaining French examples were taken over by the Luftwaffe. A small number of F.N. 305’s were built by Piaggio.

Specifications

Crew: 2
Length: 6.98 m (22 ft 10.75 in)
Wingspan: 8.47 m (27 ft 9.5 in)
Height: 2.10 m (6 ft 10.75 in)
Wing area: 12 square meters (129.17 square ft.)
Empty weight: 704 kg (1552 lb)
Gross weight: 984 kg (2169 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Alfa Romeo 115 inline piston engine, producing 138 kW (185 hp)

Performance

Maximum speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
Range: 620 km (385 miles)
Service ceiling: 6000 m (19,685 ft)

The Kit

Azur’s Nardi F.N. 305 is molded in grey and consists of 27 injection molded parts on a single sprue, 3 resin parts (the two seats for the instructor and student pilot, plus the engine cowling) and a small fret of photo-etch parts for the instrument panels, tail skid, and main landing gear. In addition, there is an acetate film for the two instrument panels. All these parts come sealed in a single clear plastic bag. The resin seats are well-detailed and come with seat straps molded onto them, although the upper straps are a bit faint. There is a cockpit floor, control yokes, and instrument panels with PE and acetate film details.

Surprisingly, there are both raised and engraved details on the fuselage interior for the cockpit sidewalls. There are boxed in wheel wells and photo-etch parts for detailing the landing gear and representing the aileron actuators, which must be cemented onto the under surface of each wing. There is a single vacuform canopy, so no mistakes allowed. The decals are thin and appear to be of very good quality, but there is no hint as to their make, so they may have been produced in-house by Azur. The only slight criticism is that the red in the roundels for the French version, and in the tri-color marking for the tail for both the French and Italian versions, appears to have just a slight amount of bleed on them, but it appears on the outer edges only and does not affect the white portion of any of the markings, so it is not terribly noticeable without close scrutiny.

Conclusion

This is a neat and surprisingly well-detailed little short run kit with very crisp engraved panel lines. Highly recommended if you would like to add one of the lesser known WWII trainers to your collection.

References

  • Azur instructions
  • wikipedia.org
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