Eduard's 1:48 scale MC.200 detail set comes in the manufacturer's standard packaging consisting of a small plastic bag in which the PE frets are protected by thin cardboard sheets. Instructions are included as well.
Italeri's MC.200 kit released in 2010 was an nice effort from the Italian manufacturer to reproduce this emblematic Regia Aeronautica fighter. However, in some places, the model was simplified, especially in the landing gear bay area, so this photo etched set is very welcome if one wants to add most of the missing details.
Two frets are present in this set of which one is pre painted. The cockpit interior receives many parts, mostly pre painted. It's not that the Italeri kit is devoid of any detail here, but the arrangement of the sidewalls is not 100 % accurate and the Eduard set will make it look more busy and more "serious". A pre painted three pieces instrument panel replaces the one of the kit (PE and decals). The original PE seat belts are replaced by pre painted ones. The sidewalls receive many additional details such as instrument boxes and levers which are missing on the plastic parts. A very nice gun-sight is included as well (small acetate sheet included). Other interesting details parts which weren't present in the Italeri kit haven't been omitted such as the canopy side doors release lever and some useful hinges if you want to display them in the opened position.
The engine receives some cables, though most of them won't be visible because they are located behind the cylinders on Italian machines. More interesting are the missing latches for the typical engine cowling of the MC.200 especially if the maintenance panel remains in the closed position.
Some small access doors all over the airframe (bottom of the fuselage and fuselage sides) will replace the molded on ones which are not very well defined. Too bad Eduard have forgotten the semi circular foot access hatches below the cockpit.
Surprising in the Eduard PE set is the presence of some parts destined to the undercarriage. These were already present as PE parts in the original kit so one can wonder why the designers have bothered to include them. The metal used by Eduard is finer though so they may be easier to work with than the Italeri ones but I think this wasn't really necessary in the end. Eduard have also included break lines but their fork like design doesn't match the Aero Detail n°15 walk-around photos of a preserved machine. This problem will be easy to fix though.
The last area which will receive a complete restoration is the landing gear bay. The design of the original aircraft was particular in that there was no cover to hide the entrails of the machine. Eduard add some missing frames and gear covers but you will have to add the spaghetti like cabling by yourself.
The quality of the PE parts is excellent as always with Eduard. If you look very closely you can see small lines on the pre painted ones. This is because of the printing process. But to be honest you have to be in macro mode to notice them. Eduard have replaced their old PE printing machines last summer and the new pre painted parts look better and more precise than before.
If you only want to detail the cockpit, you should know that the pre painted fret is available separately as a "Zoom" set (ref.FE531) for almost half the price of this complete set.
Italeri's 1:48 scale MC.200 is a nice kit but has it's shortcomings. This Eduard set will allow you to correct most of them. The finished model will sure look more impressive with the added details so I can only recommend this reference if you like Regia Aeronautica subjects.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale.
Highs: Addresses most of the shortcomings of the kit and adds the missing details.Lows: Not cheap sadly.Verdict: Very nice PE set which will raise the Italeri kit to higher standards.