This review was first published on www.hyperscale.com.
Francis Lombardi AVIA FL 3
S u m m a r y
|Catalogue Number:||AIK 48004 - Francis Lombardi AVIA FL 3|
|Contents and Media:||28 pieces in gray colored resin, four etched brass and two different style clear vac-form canopies with resin forms. Instructions, painting guide and decal sheet for 3 aircraft (2 additional decals for non-referenced aircraft).|
|Price:||60 Euros. Available from MISTERKIT.|
|Review Type:||FirstLook - In Box|
|Advantages:||A nicely done model of a somewhat obscure aircraft. Good marking selection.|
|Disadvantages:||Need for clean up on the fuselage. Inkjet printed decals. Requires use of cyanoacrylic (super / crazy) glue and /or two-part epoxy.|
|Recommendation:||Highly recommended for modelers who have experience with resin kits and parts.|
Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
One can usually count on Hyperscalers to remember important dates in aviation history. But I am surprised that no one has acknowledged the anniversary for which this kit was issued. Did no one remember the 70th anniversary of the development of the A.V.I.A. (Francis Lombardi) FL 3? I would have even thought it would have been on someone’s wish list!
Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, the FL 3 must be one of the least known aircraft of the Second World War and post-war period. It barely rates footnote status in John Thompson’s Italian Civil & Military Aircraft 1930-1945, and from which I quote:
The Azionaria Vercellese Industrie Aeronautiche of Vercelli was a small firm, which produced a number of designs by the well known aviator Francis Lombardi. The FL 3 two-seat lightplane, first produced before the war and widely used in postwar flying, was a low wing monoplane powered by an 80 h.p. C.N.A. D.4 four-cylinder horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine. In 1948 A.V.I.A. was absorbed by Francis Lombardi & c., which continued to build the FL 3. During the war a few FL 3’s, with airscrews removed, were used as training gliders. In 1941-42, when the Regia Aeronautica was showing interest in military cargo gliders, it was necessary to acquaint pilots with sinking speeds higher than those of sport gliders.
This is a very basic resin kit. Detail is just adequate for a kit of this type. But the fabric surfaces are quite nicely done. Some clean up will be required on the bottom of the fuselage and on the lower-sides of the fuselage top.
The gear legs are finely molded and will require great care in removing from the mold block. There is also an issue of the solid piece between the gear legs. It appears that some FL 3’s had an open framework for the gear legs, while others had sheet metal within the legs. The marking guide shows that aircraft I-VENK had closed gear legs. But it is not clear as to aircraft FAL, as the box art shows them closed, while the marking guide shows them open.
The kit comes with two delicate vac-formed windshields for two different styles (actually 3) of windshields. What is most unusual is that the clear parts were mounted on what appears to be the resin mold for the clear parts. If nothing else, the resin pieces provide plenty of protection against crushing of the clear parts. As only one of each type of windshield is provided, those forms may come in handy for making a replacement.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
As to the type of windshield that is to be used, the smaller of the two clear parts is for aircraft Black 55 and FAL. This is merely a windshield with small side window. The other clear part, the larger of the two, is for aircraft I-VENK. Use of this part will require that the top be removed from the clear part leaving only the full-length side windows.
It is interesting to note that the larger clear part can be used for a fully enclosed cockpit. This appears to be the subject of Alitaliane’s other FL 3 kit, 48004. However, a fully enclosed cockpit aircraft may be able to be made from Kit 48003, as my sample also came with the deeper fuselage top.
Interestingly, the kit has attachment points for the main wing to fuselage join. A test fit shows that it may be better to remove the stubs on the wings, so as to get a better alignment of the parts. On my sample, when using the attachment points, the wings are a bit low and to the rear, with regard to the wing root on the fuselage. The kit comes with separate ailerons. Remember, one up and one down, if not level.
Being a trainer, and a small resin kit, the cockpit is a little sparse to say the least. There is merely the seat, instrument panels and control sticks.
I do not have much to go on in determining the accuracy of this kit. But according to the Thompson book, the wingspan of the FL. 3 is 32 feet 3 ¾ inches. The kit’s wings measure about four scale inches short of that.
When working with resin kits I like to use slow cure CA glue. This allows for a bit of time to position the part, as will be required for the fuselage top and main wings.
The decals that come with the kit are of the inkjet waterslide type printed on a continuous piece of film. My sample also came with the markings for kit number 48004, which is for a Luftwaffe and an ANR aircraft. There are a couple of sheets that look as if nothing is printed on them. Be careful, these two pieces of paper have the white backgrounds for the national markings and the white outline for aircraft FAL.
The painting guide is also not very informative as to the color call-outs.
Black 55: Scuola Volo Senza Motore Cameri 1942. The aircraft appears to be overall Ivory ( Cachi Avorio Chiaro / Bianco Avorio FS approx. 33613). But the notes also indicate “Snow”. Snow is a bright white. I’d go with Ivory. It has a tri-color fin and rudder, for which red and green decals are provided. The white will have to be painted. It is not clear, but the cowling cover could be Ivory, Snow or natural metal.
I-VENK: Militare “Arlecchino”. The aircraft is in overall light gray. But which light gray is not indicated. My guess would be pre-table 10 Grigio Mimetico (FS approx. 36231). The aircraft has wide white bands around the fuselage and wings. The fin and rudder are in the tri-color. The engine cowl is either white or natural metal.
FAL: Scuola Volo Falconara. Based on the cover art, this aircraft appears to be a dark gray top with light gray underside. It is possible that the wing tops were green. Once again, I would guess the dark grey is possibly Grigio Azzuro Scuro 3 (FS Approx. 36118). The underside would be Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1. If the wing tops were in green, then Verde Mimetico 3 (FS approx. 34102) or Verde Oliva Scuro (FS approx. 34052). There is a wide white band on the fuselage and narrower white bands around the wings. The fin and rudder are in the tri-color. The cowling may be either white or natural metal.
If all 48003 kits come with the Luftwaffe and ANR markings, the Luftwaffe aircraft would be in dark green top (Verde Oliva Scuro) with light gray underside (Grigio Azzurro Chiaro). The ANR aircraft might be similar to the Luftwaffe aircraft, but with sand colored blotches all over the upper surface. A profile of an ANR FL 3 can be seen on page 203 of Camouflage and Markings of the Aeronautical Nazionale Repubblicana 1943-1945 by D’Amico and Valentini.
I am sure many modelers will be put off by the price of this little kit. It will also probably have limited appeal – those interested in Italian liaison and training aircraft. But don’t forget that this aircraft was also used in the post-war period, so a number of other schemes could be done.
All things considered, this is a nice addition to the world of 1/48 (obscure) aircraft.
A simple Google search for “Avia FL 3” will turn up some interesting images.
Thanks to Maurizio Di Terlizzi for the review sample.