Special Hobby Regianne Re. 2000 Serie I — 1:48 Scale

Just before the outbreak of World War II, the Reggiane Re. 2000 lost the competition for the Italian air force’s frontline fighter.  Still, it was a viable design, and was produced mostly for the air forces of foreign nations.  The aircraft is also relatively neglected by scale model manufactures.  As is often the case, Special Hobby stepped up in the production of unique and rare subjects that most manufacturers avoid.  In this review, we sit down at the review bench with Special Hobby’s 1:48 scale Re. 2000 Serie I.

The Re. 2000 was developed with the vision of a light and highly maneuverable interceptor and fighter aircraft for Mussolini’s Italian Air Force, or the Regia Aeronautica.  Just one look at the aircraft shows that it drew upon many design elements the American Seversky P-35.  It also had fully retractable landing gear and its armament consisted of a pair of 12.7 mm nose-mounted machine guns. On 24 May 1939, the prototype took to the air, and soon, it proved itself to be not only a sound aircraft, but superior to the Macchi C 200 and the Bf 109E in several respects, including top speed and maneuverability.  For mostly arcane political reasons within the Italian defense establishment, the Re 2000 was rejected.  So, Regianne turned to export, and about 80% of the entire production run went to Hungary and Sweden, though the Regia Aeronautica operated a mere five Re. 2000s.  The type was also the basis for several derivatives from the Reggiane Re. 2001 to the Re. 2007 fighters.

During the war, Sweden’s Re. 2000s, re-designated as the J 20, mostly patrolled their country’s airspace, maintaining their sovereignty from both from Axis and Allied aircraft into 1945.  In Hungarian service, Re. 2000s were sent to the Eastern Front against the Soviet air force, and they began to accumulate kills in what was regarded as a satisfactory combat record into 1943.  However, as losses mounted and more capable Russian fighters emerged, the remaining Hungarian Re. 2000s were recalled for home defense duties.  In Italian service, the few Re. 2000s saw combat in the Mediterranean theater in escort and attack roles, and a single kill against a Bristol Blenheim was recorded.  Latent issues involving maintenance, unpredictable engine reliability, and performance in the air took a combined toll, and by 1942, the remaining aircraft were withdrawn from active duty.

Special Hobby’s 1:48 scale Reggiane Re. 2000 Serie 1 kit consists of 90 injection molded medium grey polystyrene parts on four sprues, and six clear parts on one sprue.  The full color instruction booklet guides assembly over 32 steps.  Decals provide markings for three aircraft:

  • Re 2000 Serie 1, MM.5069, Experimental Section, 74a Sqn, 23 Gruppo Autonomio, Sicily, 1941
  • Re 2000 Serie 1, MM.5068, Experimental Center, Guidonia, Italy, Autumn 1941
  • Re 2000 Serie 1,MM unknown, Experimental section, 74a Sqn, 23 Gruppo, Sicily, Spring 1941

Strengths:  This is a 2020 new tool kit from Special Hobby, and has already has been accompanied by the release of SH4808 (Re. 2000 Export Birds) along with a few additional cast resin detail sets.  This appears to be a very nicely designed kit.  Panel lines and are nicely represented as relatively delicate recessed features.  The parts breakdown is very straightforward and the low parts count will help insure a relatively simple build.  The cockpit parts, wheel wells, landing gear, and other elements are quite decent for injection molded parts.  A quick fit-check indicated that the fuselage halves and wing halves aligned nicely, but as a relatively limited run kit, there are no alignment pins.  The clear parts possess excellent optical quality.

The choices of paint schemes are good, as they cover three of the five Re. 2000s in Italian service.  They are mostly similar, though markings option B diverges from the two others the most (your reviewer likes unusual subject matter).  Special Hobby printed the decals in-house and they look excellent, possessing solid colors, great print quality, and thin/restrained carrier film.   

Weaknesses:  This kit has a few weak spots to consider.  The kit has few construction options.  Some might regard the recessed panel lines to be a little overdone, but a few coats of primer and/or paint will help fill in and lessen this effect.  There are no rivet or fastener details.  Harnesses for the pilot’s seat are absent.  It’s also too bad the control surfaces were not separate parts, as it would have made for greater visual interest in the finished model (at least for me). 

Special Hobby’s 1:48 scale Re. 2000 Serie I is an interesting kit of a fairly obscure aircraft.  It has a lot of potential.  It receives good marks in overall quality, design and parts breakdown, detail, and decals/paint schemes.  CMK/Quickboost also offers a few resin upgrade parts for this kit that would elevate one’s completed model yet further.  While it will take maybe a little experience building limited run kits, fans of Regia Aeronautica and WWII subject matter more broadly will likely enjoy this unique kit of a relatively rare aircraft.        

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby for the review sample.  You visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale