Maquette et photos de Gabriele Luciani
In the course of the second world war the Italian industry supplied to the Regia Aeronautica only one good twin-engine fighter, the Fiat CR.25. For the rest, there was a series of prototypes (like Caproni 331, the Savoia Marchetti SM. 89, 91 and 92, the Romeo Ro 58), and ill-famed Breda 88, and others two aircrafts succeeded to arrive to the production, CANSA FC.20 and the Romeo Ro.57, both with two Fiat A 74 RC.38 engines, not just a power champion, and uses in the summer of 1943. But if at least the prototype of the first came nearly employed in combat, the second did not have never this opportunity, also being produced in consistent (an always relatively to the Italian standards of the age...) exemplary number. In May 1939 made its appearance the prototype of the Ro.57, that revealed performances from being able to place it to the height of the single-engine italian fighter like speed but, perhaps in order to have maintained the same armament (two 12,7 mm machine-guns), without to have revealed particular dowries of autonomy did not come thought suitable for one production in series. After two years, the Regia Aeronautica remembered that the company manufacturer had developed the version "bis" of this aircraft, with the adoption of a window of tracking under the fuselage, a ventral attack for a bomb of 500 kg, two attacks for bombs of 50 kg and a two dive brakes under the wings... an increase in weight for the two motors that remained unchanged ! In spite of the consequent decay of the performances they came very orders 200 exemplary of this twin-engine plane thought suitable not more to the employment like hunting but like assault plane. The history of the Ro.57 effectively produced and delivered to the Regia Aeronautica is very good described on issue 74, July-september 2000, of Aerofan the aeronautical history review published from Giorgio Apostolo where we find many photos, also inedite, of this twin-engine plane, profiles in scale and in colors.
During 2004, a company of Czech group MPM, the Special Hobby, has thought opportune to dedicate finally to Ro.57 a good 1/72 plastic kit, cat. Nr. SH 72082. The cover of the box of the model is a design of the prototype in takeoff but the coloration of the same profile seems more that typical one than a C.200 of the first series, just that "poached egg" while the first copy of Ro.57 MM.407 more had one camouflage much vanished. However, the reproduction of the same MM.407, with the kit of the Special Hobby, is not just easy because the fouselage back and of the canopy are different from the series exemplary: behind the cockpit there were two transparent panels and the windshield and the mobile part of the canopy were of shape (and creed also of dimensions) different and it is not easy to reproduce these particular in scale... in the kit there are only pieces to realize the wheel of retraibile tail, its space (both in resin) and the panels of closing, typical of the prototype, to the end a help very little... Better then to go to the realization of a series aircraft also because, in this case, the shapes and the dimensions of the real aircraft are enough very reproduced without refuse that can be thought worthy of consideration. The kits is composed of two plastic trees with 44 pieces, canopy and window of tracking under the fuselage, a group of forty resin parts.
The sheet decals is for two exemplary of series and the prototype, but for these last, the wings insignia are not good because for the Ro.57 MM 407 were with white background. Several the subjects have the contours very defined, the support film is thinnest and during application they will reveal an optimal adhesiveness to the superficial of the kit.
The panellings of the real aircraft are reproduced with enough fine recordings : their design follows the profiles publishes on the cited number of Aerofan. The separation of several pieces in plastic from the sprue must be carried with caution. Moreover some of they need to cleaned up from the residual of the extracting machines, also for closing the wings and the fuselage.
Many of the pieces in resin are dedicates to the reproduction of the pavement of the cockpit and of the engines: it is necessary only a little attention in more in order to freeing the two beautiful hoods motor from the residual one of the stamp. In the complex, also with one adapted coloration of several the particular, they can be thought suitable to the scope which they are assigned, especially if the canopy will left closed... However, for this zone, the dominant color to apply was the usual green of the italian aircrafts of these age (Humbrol n. 23). On the cylinders of the motors there is to saying that even if a few approximates, once inserted in the respective cowlings, the large ogives will mask them and to the end they can be acceptable.
During the construction of the kit, we must use a few of putty to eliminate the signs of the splices of two fuselages between of they and these with the of the wings; while the assemblage of the wings not create problems, the union of the gondolas of the undercarriages to the same se last ones does demands a few of putty. It is also better to open the four small sockets on the inferior wing where they will go inserted the legs of the main undercarriage.
Continuing in the construction of the model, must be opened on the forecastle the sockets for the insertion of the two fine resin pieces that reproduces the canes of the 12,7 mm machine-guns (attention, because the first 41 Ro 57 products had one single machine-gun) and of the pitot tube. For to 12,7 mm machine guns I have proceeded before digging the plastic with a mini drill and then filling up the two holes with putty; before still that this was made solid I have carved with the tip of a small x-acto knife the sockets of the two arms. It goes then evidenced that to the outside of the gondolas of the motors, in the side turned towards the pilot, there were two small panels with four instruments of the motors : in kit these particular they are not and also this makes to understand that the documentation used for its realization has been alone number 74 of Aerofan. In fact on this publication, the design of these panels has been yes brought back but without some indication: to the contrary on number 3/82 of the Notiziario di Plastimodellismo of the Club Modellismo Plastico Ravenna (C.M.P.R.) , an important italian modeller club, this important detail is brought back with much detail particular, that I have therefore reproduced on the kit with two small pieces of brass. The canopy does not create some problem for its lodging while the transparent piece that reproduces the window of tracking under the fuselage is a few more small of its lodging and has therefore need of a few of putty for being inserted.
The phase more problematic of the construction is the reproduction of the legs of aircraft, somewhat complicated and if then the instructions of kit the construction are followed comes still more difficult... Better would be to proceed with the documentation about Ro.57 in order to obviate to every problem ! I have proceeded as following, premised like saying over, the opening of the four small sockets in order to insert the legs of the main undercarriage, so as to to give greater solidity to the structures interested. I have used unchanged two pieces nombers A 22 and A 23, but varying the final position on the same of the pieces nomber A 21, they are the shape of a Y : the single part of these goes inserted more in proximity of the wheel hub of pieces nombers A 22 and A 23; the bifurcate part instead goes always put in the lodgings previewed from the kit.
The finished single parts of pieces A 10 and A 11 are inserted nearly under that single part of the staples A 21 while I have inserted the branchs of pieces A10 and A 11 in such way that inner ended directly in the lodging gained before while those external more go towards the closing doors. To the end the result to obtain is what the wheels turn out like in the truth, placed more in ahead regarding the gondolas of the undercarriages and more perpendicular to the filters of the engines.
I would use the Special Hobby kit to reproduce the prototype but for the difference of the kit with the real M.M 407, I have preferred to realize a Ro.57 bis in verde oliva scuro 2 / grigio azzurro chiaro 1 (Humbrol 92 and 121), in a configuration with complete armament, building all the particulars more peculiar of this version (anticipating therefore the Special Hobby that now produced the kit SH 72045 where it has inserted the same details...). With small pieces of brass I have realised the staple for the bomb from 500 kg under the fuselage (this and underwing bombs come from kit the 1/72 Supermodel of C.R.D.A. Cant Z.1007); with two rectangulars shape of brass of 11 milimeter for 4 milimeter, affecting with three horizontal lines, I have realized the aerobrakes, fixed near the outside of the gondolas of the undercarriages on which, after I have inserted two small striscette in order to reproduce the actuators of the same ones. The attacks of the two underwing bombs, are resorted from the Airform set (produced in years 70 from the roman store Modelmarket/Galleria Tuscolana) where there were these and other particular in order to enrich the first models of Italian aircrafts in scale the 1/72 (two kit Revell dedicates to the CR.42 and the C.200, that Airfix of the G.50).
The construction therefore is completed and before passing to the coloration I have cleaned up the model with a specific detergent for models of the Polly S, realizing therefore the zones that will be then remained in withe (wrap in fuselage and the cross of Savoia in tail) and masking them with the Tamiya tape before passing the colors of the camouflage.
I have painted the vain of undercarriages with the same gray of the superficial inferiors, the legs of the undercarriages in aluminum, the propellers in black with finish in yellow and the three bombs in burnished metal. For the decals it is better to use not some emollient liquid : I have reproduced the Ro. 57 “red six” visible to pag.147 of the more times cited number of Aerofan, using number 9 of decals the Special Hobby turning over it...
At last, I have added the fixed wheel and the supports of the tail rudders. No wheatering, because in the photos, true airplanes appears cleaned up. In conclusion a interesting model like the aircraft that reproduces !
Many thanks to all MPM Group for the review sample, specially to Alfred Riedl, Pavla Harazimowa and Petr Sobisek