Regia Marina 1/350
Nibbio Class Hydrofoil Patrol Boat

Reviewed by Sean Hert
The Nibbio class of patrol hydrofoils is closed based off the the United States Navy's Tucumcari class. Sometimes referred to as the Sparviero class, the Sparviero was in fact a prototype; from Nibbio forward, the this class had differences in the deck and bridge/cabin areas. There were 6 built for the Regia Marina, all named after birds of prey. The Italian Navy has removed these hydrofoils from service. Three patrol boats were also license built in Japan- and use Japanese subsystems- and are still in use today.

General characteristics (From Wikipedia)

  • Displacement: 62.5 tons full load
  • Length: 21.8 metres (24.6 meters on hydrofoil)
  • Beam: 7 metres (7 meters on hydrofoil)
  • Draught: 1.9 m
  • Propulsion: 
    • Motor: 1 gas turbine, 1 pumpjet, 1 diesel engine 
    • Power: 1 GE/IHI LM 500 gas turbine engine 5000 horsepower sustained (Italy 1 Rolls-Royce Proteus 15M560 gas turbine driving waterjet pump 4500-5000 horsepower) 
    • Propellers: 1 retractable prop (hullborne) 
  • Speed: 40 knots (8 knots diesel) (JMSDF 46 knots max)
  • Range: 400 miles at 40 knots (45 knots JMSDF), 1,200 miles at 8 knots
  • Complement: 10 (2 officers)(JMSDF 11 (3 officers)
  • Sensors and processing systems: 
    • Radar; Surface search; SMA 3 RM 7-250 (SPQ 701); I-band (JMSDF JRC OPS-18-2; G-band) 
    • Electronic warfare and decoys: 
      • Countermeasures: Decoys: 2 Loral Hycor Mk 36 SRBOC chaff launchers (Japan only) 
  • Armament: 
    • Missils: 2 OTO Melara/Matra Otomat Teseo Mk 2; active radar homing to 160 km, 210 kg warhead(JMSDF SSM: 4 Mitsubishi SSM-1B (deritive of land-based system); range 150 km) 
    • Guns: OTO Melara 3" (76mm)/62 compact (JMSDF GE JM-61 20mm/76 Sea Vulcan; 3 barrels on each mounting; 1,500 rounds/minute combined to 4 km) 
Nibbio has a small, single piece full hull, molded in white resin. The hull has a spray strake running the length of each side, with cutouts and bowdoors for the retractable foils. There are also two openings on the bottom which look like shaft openings, but in fact are water pump jet outlets. The three tabs on the stern resin pour stubs to be removed.
The resin parts for Nibbio are molded in the same smooth white resin as the hull. This resin is more brittle than the more classic yellow-tan resins, so exercise a bit more caution than usual when removing these parts from the casting blocks.

The retractable foils are cast in resin; they have some fine finned detail, and will look good on the hull. There are also two Otomat 1 missiles, so you can model one of the missile enclosures open- if you model your Nibbio with the early square enclosures. If you opt to model your craft with the later Otomat 2's, there are some smooth, solid, resin enclosures to emplace on the deck (Condor P426 never received this update).

The OTO Melara 3" (76mm)/62 compact gun, both turret and barrel, are also here in resin, as well as the gas turbine inlet housing and exhaust. There are also resin seats and console to make an interior for your bridge. 

There are two frets of stainless steel photoetch for Nibbio. The frets cover a wide range of subjects; most interestingly, there is a photoetch main deck for the resin hull, and the bridge deckhouse is also made of photoetch. There are also your standard railings and masts, the supports for the SSM's, and the "fins" for the hydrofoils. NOTE: the correct deck and stern piece are not on the same fret; you use the stern peice from the larger fret, yet use the deck from the smaller.
A resin display pedestal is included.
The included decal sheet has various numbers in both red and white, to be able to display the hull numbers of any member of the Nibbio class. There is also a small clear acetate sheet with the bridge windows printed on.
  • Nibbio P421
  • Falcone P422
  • Astore P423
  • Grifone P424
  • Gheppio P425
  • Condor P426
The 4 pages of photocopied instructions are at times difficult to make out and follow. The instructions are printed in two languages, Italian and English- Regia Marina, being an Italian company. The English instructions are not the primary ones, and so English speakers will need to take extra time studing and planning their build. 

There is a labled parts list/breakdown on the first two pages, which is a great aid in following the steps, which are not numbered. There is a color guide, referencing Humbrol colors, but I don't see any steps where the color are actually called out. There are also a few images of the real ship for reference- a nice plus.


A neat little kit of a neat little ship. While the higher cost of this kit and the instructions might be an issue for some, this is a good little model and worth the trouble. 

The Regia Marina 1/350 Nibbio Class R.M.043 sells for €40,00 or about $50.00. RM products are available direct from Regia Marina or from some of our other sponsors. Thanks to Regia Marina for this review sample.