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Savoia S.21F, following Fio's overhaul (from "Porco Rosso")
Ghibli Universe, Adriatic Sea, 1929

Why this plane?

This one was built upon request from daughter Isabella. Some of the best cinematic moments I had with my children were thanks to Hayao Myazaki's Studio Ghibli movies. Among these, Porco Rosso is a strong candidate to being our favourite. 

What was added

  • I added secondary struts to the inner side of the wing floats, which were made from fine hobby wire. This was the only thing missing from the model, based on my comparison with the movie.

  • I added a decal with the word "GHIBLI" to the engine case, as seen in the movie (see below).

Notes and lessons learned

This is as close as I got to a perfect kit, thus far. Everything clicks together really well, and it is obvious that a lot of thought was put into leaving no room for mistakes. For example, when there are two very similar parts, one has a square peg and another a circular, peg, with corresponding holes where they are supposed to go. This resulted in a very enjoyable build wit no dramas. I strongly recommend this as a first kit.

  • The model comes with decals for the green and white national flag stripes on the vertical stabiliser and under the wing. I tried to use them, but the fit was not perfect, and the white stripe not opaque enough. Thus, I ended up scrapping them off and painting the stripes with Tamiya XF-2 (white) and Mr. Hobby aqueous H26 (bright green). These were airbrushed over a base coat (Vallejo 70.615) and the main colour (Mr. Hobby aqueous H86 Red Madder)

  • The only bit of flash I detected was in the main struts holding the wing above the fuselage, and that was so little that it escaped my detection first time (thus requiring a little bit of work with the hobby knife and paintbrush).​​

  • The plane represents the fictional Savoia S.21F soon after the major overhaul under the direction of Fio Piccolo, from Piccolo SPA, which included a new engine and swept wings. A fresh coat of paint was part of the service; thus, weathering was kept to a minimum.

Problems circumvented

  • None; this was entirely trouble-free.

1/48 Savoia S.21F "Porco Rosso": About Me

Interior detail and characters

This kit comes with a great deal internal details including the cockpit, fuel tank and the front compartment where Fio sits (sitting on her travel bag, and sharing the room with a machine gun).

It also includes detailed representations of Porco Rosso (aka Marco Pagot), Fio (the young aeronautical engineer, and future CEO of Piccolo SPA) and Gina (the owner of the Hotel Adriano, and Marco' unresolved romantic interest). For some reason I don't understand, Gina's figure is a bit larger than 1/48, so she seems to tower over Fio and Porco.

The pilot figure can be removed through the opening, allowing a relatively good view of the cockpit detail. The cover of Fio's compartment can also be left unglued to help removing her. Removing the cover of the fuel tank compartment is a bit more problematic, as it is attached to the wing's main struts, and this involves pulling the aiming lunette through a tight opening in the pilot's windscreen. Still, to avoid permanently losing the possibility of seeing the interior detail, I just affixed it in place with blu-tac.

1/48 Savoia S.21F "Porco Rosso": Welcome
engine reference.jpg

engine reference.jpg

engine being built.jpg

engine being built.jpg

Engine in cowling with no exhaust pipes

engine detail 1.jpeg

engine detail 1.jpeg

complet engine in place


In the movie Porco's Savoia S.21F gets a new engine, salvaged from a plane that had won the legendary Schneider trophy in a previous year. The kit comes with detailed representation. In the movie the engine has the word "GHIBLI" written on it, and I added a decal made from Expert's choice clear decal film to represent this.

1/48 Savoia S.21F "Porco Rosso": Welcome
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