By Steve Backer

The Italian model maker, Regia Marina, produces one of the best 1:700 resin warships kits available, the Italian BB Vittorio Veneto (Click here for Rob Mackie's review of the 1:700 Regia Marina Vittorio Veneto). Now Regia Marina has produced an equally superb photo-etch set to superdetail this beautiful warship.

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The set is comprised of two finely milled stainless steel frets. Many of the parts feature delicate three-dimensional relief etching. To truly appreciate the detail, I had to use 3 power hobby glasses. The superstructure platforms, landing platforms, catapult, radars, winch heads and even the SPQR on the coats of arms, are relief etched. There are a great variety of other parts on the frets. Among these are; platforms and supports, stack gratings, starfish with girder supports, catapult crane, two types of aircraft cradles and propellers (One type for a RO-43 and one type for a Re 2000), two types of two bar railing (closer spaced type for the superstructure and the wider spaced type for the main decks), inclined and vertical ladders, ropes, pulleys, and other parts not readily recognizeable.

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The set also comes with a comprehensive set on the instructions, printed front and back. Parts are numbered and the instructions comprise detailed drawings with the part numbers indicating placement location. The instructions appear to be logically presented and quite clear.

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Regia Marina has also produced two other smaller 1:700 frets, that feature anti-aircraft weapons used by the Italian Navy. The more intriguing of the sets is of the 1935 Model Breda 20mm/65 cal twin mounts. The fret consists of twenty mounts plus two directors. The fret comes with a data sheet listing ships that carried the mounts, how many and dates carried. Ships are listed by class with individual variances being shown. Ship classes included are; Conte di Cavour; Caio Duilio, Vittorio Veneto; Di Giussano; Cadorna; Luigi Di Savoia, Capitani Romani; Freccia/Folgore; Maestrale; Oriani; Soldati; Spica; La Masa; Ciclone; Ariete; and Gabbiano.

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The Oerlikon 20mm/70 cal fret also comprises twenty gun mounts and two directors. The data sheet indicates that Oerlikons were used on the following classes; Montecuccoli; Duca D’Aosta; Navigatori; Freccia; Ariete; La Masa; Ciclone; Orsa; Audace; Gabbiano; Acciaio 600 series subs; Flutto class subs; and on cargo ships and auxiliary cruisers. Variances by individual ship and time period are indicated, as with the Breda guns.

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The new Regia Marina photo-etch frets should be found with all the vendors that carry the Regia Marina resin kits. Also, the Regia Marina Vittorio Veneto kit can now be purchased with or without the photoetch.