Octopus 1/72 I.M.A.M. Ro-44

KIT #: 72054
PRICE: $33.98 MSRP when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Short run multimedia kit.


 The IMAM Ro44 was a single seat floatplane version of its predecessor Ro-43 Reconnaissance aircraft both of which carry a single central float, aided by two smaller outrigger floats to keep the aircraft buoyant once it lands on the sea. Unlike the Ro-43, the Ro-44 was a single seater with the back cockpit and aft gun position being faired over and a twin Breda Sefat 12.7 Cal Machine guns mounted in the nose cowling. A 9-cylinder Piaggio 700HP P-XR radial engine provided the Ro-44 with a speed close to 200 mph at 8200 Ft, and a range of 746 miles which was quite substantial for a patrol plane in those days prior to the 2nd world war. Regia Marina ordered 35 of these floatplanes back in 1937. These were attached to the 88 GruppoAutonomo da Caccia Marina. This group was assigned to protect the entire Italian Navy and for patrol duties over the Aegean Islands. As time went on the performance of the Ro-44 was proved near obsolete and by far inadequate against modern fighter by the time Italy went into war.


This is a good modelling subject for those like-minded scale modellers who consider floatplanes a thrill or would enjoy expanding the Italian models section. The kit is injection moulded medium grey plastic with the addition of resin parts and a vacform canopy. A nice quality decal sheet with items for a prewar or a wartime example can be produced. The surface detailing of parts is very good especially the fabric skin portion which is well represented in fine texture and includes wings with sharp trailing edges. Other smaller injection moulded parts have a small amount of fuzzy flash and require some cleaning up. The main parts have beautiful fine detail and well to scale.

Being a limited run kit it lacks locating pins on parts and therefore care is required upon joining the halves together. A ten-page instruction sheet that is quite comprehensive simplifies the sequence of construction and is easy to follow. The upper wing which is a pure gull and the lower one an inverted gull allow a normal wing gap to be achieved when these are attached to the fuselage and simplifies the construction of the biplane. The lower wing comes in one piece and care should be taken when fixing the integral fuselage centre section to produce perfect alignment. 

For a look at the sprues, please visit the preview.


  A reasonable amount of interior detail including upper back plate, rudder pedals, control column, floor and seat all come in grey plastic with fine detail, other intricate items as the side trottle, instrument panel, radial engine and oil coolant are in resin. Fitting the cockpit floor in its place attached to the starboard half one will notice that it will not be centrally positioned when the two fuselage halves are mated together. This was corrected by first fitting a 6x15x1mm plastic strip to the inner side of each half fuselage section and then fixes the cockpit floor, part 37. I also added interior ribbing to the sides. I made reference to an Italian booklet “Notizzario Di Plastimodellismo" CMPR issue 4/82 which I got during a visit to IPMS Sicily at Catania.

Other items that needed some trimming were the resin cast radial engine. and it was gently cleaned with a modeling knife around the periphery to remove the finning. The instruction sheet also mentions that one should drill a central hole to take the propeller shaft. As I was doing so I also drilled the outlet of the "U" shaped resin exhaust pipe to a depth of 3 mm from each exit. I also noticed that the float to fuselage forward struts carry a step fitting. These are at different place on different struts and are well indicated on the instruction sheet. I had to add these from two stretch sprue pieces of plastic as in my example these were missing.

The kit also provides parts for an accurate trolley. Fortunately this was easy to copy and scratch built another one for my vacform and resins ‘Airmodel kit’ of the Ro-43 that came without it. Supplying a beaching trolley is a very wise idea for Pavla/Octopus as it is difficult to display a single floatplane without one. Finally there are the propeller blades which are individually moulded and can be tricky when fitting these to the shaft assembly. The acetate windscreen only one of which was supplied in my example was carefully trimmed to fitting size and set in place with PVA glue.

 One comment concerning the instructions is that it could have catered for more detail to the rigging emplacement. Referring to the borax side views did not quite provide sufficient detail to the type as for instance the rigging at the leading edge was double rigging type and fairly thick.



Decals provide for three aircraft and all are finished in aluminium, which I presume is an anodized type as it operated over the Mediterranean waters. The paint mix could be obtained by adding a few drops of white paint and drops of semi matt varnish to the silver paint and mix together prior to airbrushing. One decal option represents an R0-44 from 161 Squadriglia circa 1940, which also carry a large bright red sunburst on the upper wing that needs to be carefully drawn, as there is no decal issued for it. There is a choice of either an early or later rudder markings for which detail is shown on the box-art view. Another choice is for an aircraft from 162 Squadriglia in 1941 that was attached to the Pola seaplane school and is also depicted on the box-art.. This latter aircraft can be altered with one from 161 Squadriglia with only a different number.


 The finished model turned into an attractive and slightly unusual subject. Pavla/Octopus seem to be taking good care of Italian subjects, with subjects like the Ro-44 could have been picked by other more familiar brands from long ago.

Certainly a must kit for the Reggie Aeronautica aircraft modelers

 Carmel J. Attard

June 2008

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