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Blue Lightning

Bugatti 100 “Racer”

Special Hobby, Ref. SH72457

The same way the Bugatti racing cars had been winning races after races througout the 1930s, the Bugatti 100 racer, at least according to the original plan, was designed to compete and win the 1939 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe competition. The overall concept of the low wing monoplane with butterfly tail unit and retractable undercarriage was the brainchild of Louis de Monge, while Ettore Bugatti’s responsibility was the power plant, an eight-cylinder 450HP Bugatti 50P engine located behind the pilot driving the propeller via a long shaft. During the construction in 1938-39 the project had to be reworked as the new requirements called for a plane capable of also breaking the world speed record. A second engine was thus added to an enlarged airframe. Both engines drove two bladed counter-rotating propellers through a common gear box unit. Missing the September 1939 deadline for the race, work on the aircraft stopped and the airframe and engines were hidden away for thirty years, and following a number of purchases and sales, the aircraft was eventually displayed at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. A proposed (and ordered by the French air force) fighter version was never completed.

Special Hobby recently released a 1/72 multi-media kit of the twin-engined Bugatti 100. It is made up of 52 parts, of which 44 are molded in a light grey plastic, seven in resin and one in transparent plastic.

The parts are flash-free and finely detailled. The fuselage is a two-part affair while the wings are made up of a single part for the underside and two upper sides. The kit includes numerous small parts, including enough to amply furnish the cockpit. The resin parts include exhaust pipes, air intakes and the undercarriage wells. The canopy is, maybe unfortunately, a single piece, but it is commendably thin and transparent.

The instructions are well designed, very clear and easy to follow. Two painting options are offered, the real all-blue aircraft and a more colourful ‘what if’ scheme in 1940.

There are no decals in this kit. The original wore no markings. Special Hobby offers, separately, a very useful set of masks for the canopy (Ref. M72035).

Review by Daniel Clamot ; pictures by Special Hobby.

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