1⁄48Il Gobo Maldetto
HistoryThe Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (Italian for sparrowhawk) was a three-engined Italian medium bomber with a wood-and-metal structure. Originally designed as a fast passenger aircraft, this low-wing monoplane, between 1937 and 1939, set 26 world records that qualified it for some time as the fastest medium bomber in the world. It first saw action during the Spanish Civil War and flew on all fronts in which Italy was involved during World War II. It became famous and achieved many successes as a torpedo bomber in the Mediterranean theater. The SM.79 was an outstanding aircraft and was certainly the best-known Italian aeroplane of World War II. It was easily recognizable due to its distinctive fuselage dorsal "hump", and was well liked by its crews who nicknamed it il Gobbo Maledetto ("damned hunchback"). It was the most widely produced Italian bomber of World War II, with some 1,300 built, remaining in Italian service until 1952.
The ModelI have long regarded the Savoia Marchetti SM.79 as one of the most beautiful multi-engine aircraft ever built and I have wanted to add one to my collection for some time. I had the Classic Airframes version in my stash so I decided to build it. The kit comes with nice resin and photo-etch accents. The cockpit is cast in resin and fit together well. Although the instructions called for an Interior Green interior color, I found a very detailed internet article by Stormo Magazine which indicated many Italian multi-engines, the SM.79 included, had grey interiors. I went with Medium Sea Grey which was lightened with FS36307. A wash was added which consisted of Pledge Floor Wax tinted with black paint. The fuselage was then closed up and the fit was reasonably good for a limited run kit. The wings were then added but there was a slight gap at the wing roots which had to be filled with plastic shims. All the seams and gaps were then filled and sanded. The engines were painted with Model Master Aircraft Black and dry-brushed with Metalizer Steel. There were no locater pins for the power plants so it was very difficult to get the engines and cowlings lined up on the wings but eventually I got them on.
The plane was then primed with Testors Enamel Primer so it would have a good base finish. I painted the engine cowling faces first since that would be the easiest to mask off. I used Tamiya Copper and Floquil Old Silver for the second ring. I decided to depict a ship-killer in the mottled Regia Aeronautica scheme. I actually had Polly S paint jars from the 80ís from their Italian Air Force Line which featured the correct grey and olive drab shades for this scheme. The paint was still like new and went on without any problems. I added the olive drab first and post-shaded it with a lightened shaded of that color. I then added the grey to the undersides and post-shaded that as well. The grey mottling was then added to the camo scheme. At this point panel lines were drawn with a .005 ink pen. The panel lines were then shaded with Tamiya Smoke which was diluted with Tamiya Thinner, applied via airbrush.
I added some chipped metal areas on the cowlings and on the forward fuselage using Floquil Old Silver. I then added worn areas on the wings where the paint had worn down to the wood. Vallejo Old Wood was used for that chipping. The model was given a gloss coat of Pledge Floor Wax. I decided to depict an SM.79 from 253 Squadriglia of the Regia Aeronautica and I used decals from Sky Models which I had bought at a show many years ago. The decals went on without any issues. Lastly, E-Z Line was used for the rigging on the wings and on the tail assembly. The model was then flat coated with Testors Dull Cote which was thinned with Metalizer thinner. Finally, some dust was added to the wheels using Tamiya weathering powders.
Although a difficult build, the Classic Airframes kit builds up into an impressive representation of the beautiful SM.79 and I can finally add this one to my collection.
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