1/32 Pacific Coast Models Reggiane Re.2005

Gallery Article by Mike Regan on May 7 2009





The last fighter built in any numbers by Reggiane (the very last was a prototype Re.2006) the Saggitario (“Archer”) was the last of three Italian designs powered by a licensed copy of the Daimler-Benz DB605 engine to go into production.


Work began in 1941 on the prototype (M.M.494) with the aircraft being completed by the end of the year. The prototype was to be powered by a DB605 ordered from Germany to be delivered to the Reggiane factory at Emilia. The engine went AWOL en route and was found some months later at a railway station near Milan. Once found, said engine was very quickly mated with the new airframe and the first flight took place on the 7th of May 1942.


The production Re.2005 was to be powered by the licensed copy of the DB605, the Fiat RA 1050 RC Tifone and to be armed with three Mauser MG151/20 cannon, one in each wing and one firing through the engine block and propeller spinner. Additionally two 12.7mm Breda SAFAT machine guns were mounted in the upper nose decking to fire though the propeller disc. A ventral rack was fitted near the fuselage centerline to allow for either a drop tank or 1000kg bomb to be carried.


After official evaluation, Reggiane received a contract for only three aircraft – and one of those was for static testing – apparently the Italian air ministry was quite happy with the Saggitario’s competition, the Macchi C205 and Fiat G.55! Eventually an order for another 16 aircraft was received and after the successful conclusion of flight trials more orders arrived, first for 18 and then 750 Re.2005s.


The Germans had taken interest in the Saggitario from the outset and had the second prototype fitted with a DB605 engine turning a VDM propeller – this was flown by a German test pilot and showed a marked improvement in performance over the other prototypes. By the time of the Armistice in September 1943, Reggiane had completed 16 “0 Serie” and 18 pre-production aircraft. The first series production aircraft from the main order of 750 were nearly complete by the time of the surrender. The Germans seized two of the prototypes and flew them out of Italy – one ended up in Romania where it was used in combat. A further 11 pre-production aircraft were fitted with DB605s and VDM props and flown to Germany – what became of these aircraft is not known.


 The type only ever equipped one Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) unit the 362ª Squadriglia, 22° Gruppo at Naples-Capodichino, under the command of Maggiore Vittorio Minguzzi. Having equipped with a number of “0 Serie” Re.2005s the squadron deployed to Metafo and Guidonia airfields where they formed part of the air defence of Rome and Naples . In early July, the squadron transferred to Sigonella airfield on Sicily in anticipation of the imminent Allied invasion of the Island . After four days of combat operations the two surviving aircraft were withdrawn and transferred to the 371ª Squadriglia at Reggio di Calabria where they were wrecked in an Allied bombing raid.


At the end of July 1943 362ª Sq received 10 replacement Re.2005s and took them into action intercepting Allied bombing raids. At the time of the armistice, the squadron was down to two grounded Re.2005s, both of which were destroyed by their ground crews to prevent them falling into German hands.  A small number of Re.2005s subsequently saw service with the Fascist ANR, operating alongside German forces against Allied forces advancing up through Italy .


Today, only a rear fuselage section remains of this elegant aircraft.

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The model

Pacific Coast Model’s 1/32nd scale Re.2005 is one of a number of Italian subjects released in recent years by this company. Although PCM is a U.S. based company, the models are made in the Czech Republic, with the first three models (Macchi C.200, C.202 and C.205) being made by MPM – after parting company with MPM over apparent design issues with the C.202 and C.205 kits, the plastic parts are now made by Sword and features that company’s distinctive glossy-surfaced plastic. Decals are made by Cartograph and Eduard supplies the photo-etch.


This is definitely the easiest of the 1/32nd scale PCM kit to build, there are only a couple of really tricky areas to deal with – firstly opening up the slots for the gun tubes on the upper nose decking and cutting away the casting blocks from the large resin wheel well inserts. The rest is pretty much of a doddle – allowing for the fact that this is a so-called limited run kit, with extra care and time being needed to check to fit etc.


The cockpit is made from mostly resin castings and has excellent detail – one has the choice of using either a resin instrument panel or a pre-painted photo-etch one. I used both – sanding off the detail from the resin panel to use it to support the (slightly larger) P/E panel – the best of both worlds!! The cockpit was painted with Humbrol #120, a pale green which looks pretty darn close to the anti-corrosion green used in Italian cockpits. Detail painting was done with Tamiya XF-1 Black, X-18 Semi Gloss Black, X-11 Chrome Silver and XF-16 Aluminium. XF-10 Brown was used for the pilot seat cushion.


Prior to mating the two fuselage halves, the very nice resin exhaust stacks were fitted – this entailed opening up the slot on each side of the nose and adding lengths of Evergreen square-section strip to support the exhaust stacks. Whilst doing this, I was a bit mystified by the four long flat strips of resin included in the kit. After staring at enough photos of Re.2005s, the penny dropped – these were the exhaust shields, one above and one below each exhaust, as per a Bf109 – no mention of these is made in the instructions! After sussing out the exhausts, the resin tail-wheel well insert was popped into place and the fuselage closed up.


Like a lot of kits of low-wing monoplanes, it was great to be able to close up the fuselage and tidy up the seams before fitting the cockpit up through the opening for the wing – saves getting sanding dust inside the cockpit. The windscreen was also fitted and blended into the fuselage, with the framing then being masked off for painting later on.


The wheel well inserts were super-glued into place – test fitting showed that a fair amount of sanding back of each insert would be needed to get the top wing halves to sit over those suckers – so out came the 180 grit “Terminator” wet & dry (sands with an Austrian accent) – sorted! With that lot taken care of the, the large ventral radiator assembly was added – the kit does not have the ventral bomb rack – a strange omission. Another odd omission is any mention of the pitot tube – this is included with the kit (there should actually be two – one for each wing) but nowhere in the instructions is it noted! With a bit of trimming and fiddling, the completed wing was mated with the fuselage and then the horizontal tail planes were attached. I also binned the two puny resin 20mm cannons and replaced them with a couple of lengths of K&S aluminium tubing – much better!


When it comes to painting a Saggitario – it’s dead easy – regardless of operator, R.A. A.N.R. or Luftwaffe – the scheme is the same glossy dark green over light grey. The Regia Aeronautica Re.2005s had the typical broad white band painted around the rear fuselage, and some aircraft had a third of the prop spinner painted white, but that’s about it really in terms of variation.


I was always going to finish this model in the markings of 362ª Sq, with the unit’s distinctive scarecrow insignia in the middle of the white band. Tamiya XF-61 Dark Green was sprayed over XF-19 Sky Grey, with the green extending underneath the leading edge of the wings and tail planes – and almost completely under the nose and rear fuselage. 


After a coat of Testors Glosscote lacquer, the decals were applied and  another coat of gloss was applied the following day.


I’m really pleased with this model – it’s easily one of the most elegant of WW2 aircraft – and for anyone contemplating building a “limited run” aircraft in 1/32nd scale, it’s a great starting point.

Mike Regan

Photos and text © by Mike Regan