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1/72 Fine Molds Savoia S-21F 

Porco Rosso

by Gabriel Stern


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As many of you probably know, this is not strictly the subject that most of us modelers usually deal with. This is the manga/anime character "Porco Rosso" (red pork) mount, a supposedly modified Savoia flying boat. Although in a way a fiction plane, the approach of Fine Molds from Japan oozes quality. The model comes with a plethora of accessories, like a four-part base that holds the plane in a sort of flying position, a nine-part beach trolley, the two crew members of the plane and another, enlarged figure (quoted as 1/48) of the main character, the above-mentioned Porco Rosso. Instructions are crystal clear, very well printed Japanese.

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Instead of explaining the intricacies of the Porco Rosso "cartoon"  here, I would suggest to those so inclined to do a little research that will soon yield a lot of info.
How did I get involved with this one, instead of grabbing one of the waiting (and ever-growing, if a may say) pile?. Well, my youngest son, Mateo, is totally into the Japanese thing, and my oldest son, Jeremias,  is a very accomplished modeler himself, who makes wonderful figures. He accepted (after a little bit of insistence, and the generous donation of modeling supplies, of course) to paint the various figures of the kit for his brother and in doing so completing our present to him.

Besides the already mentioned accessories and figures, the interior is very good, sporting fuselage side detail, two bulkheads -one includes the instrument panel, for which there is also a decal-, seat, control column and rudder pedals. The transparencies honor their name. The decal sheet is very comprehensive (three options, apparently) and even includes the bottoms of the fuselage and pontoons in the due color, to avoid masking if so you wish. The fit and detail of the parts is very good for the scale, condemning to public shame a lot of "serious" models from various manufacturers. Recessed panel lines, logical part break-down and a very beautiful subject with "racy" lines complete the adjectives list. I was very pleased with the way the propeller can be attached later in construction -and still rotate freely- via a poly cap that is encapsulated previously during the engine module building, a nice touch. The model comes molded in a plastic which is the same color as the "plane". facilitating painting, even more so because other parts ("wood" trolley, main figure) come also molded in the correspondent basic colors. The parts account is not large, and the good engineering keep the pace of the building as fast as you may like it. The way used to connect the wing to fuselage, and the engine to the wing, facilitates building, painting and decaling. Oh, how much would I like this amount of thinking in some other kits!
Various brands acrylic color were used, being Testor's Acryl Red Gloss the choice for the fuselage, a perfect match.
Some modelers may find useful using "Simple Green" cleaner - a non toxic, bio-degradable product- to clean the airbrush and as a paint remover for acrylics. It works like a dream.
Given that the price of this kit is not high (I got mine from HLJ, in Japan) and that it comes from an "expensive" country, I wondered a lot about the quality/price equation to which we are usually exposed, reasoning that wouldn't be that difficult for other manufacturers to achieve a better balance in that regard with their products.
I used the movie DVD as "reference" with this one, enjoying also a good ole airplane story.


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Photos and text by Gabriel Stern 

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