|KIT:||Special Hobby 1/72 IMAM Ro.57|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin bits included|
Cribbing from the instructions; "Early in 1939, the prototype Ro.57 took to the air. It was first displayed in May of that year to international aviation journalists. The twin-engine interceptor was powered by a pair of Fiat A.74 R.C. 38 engine and was of a mixed construction of a metal skinned fuselage and plywood covered wings. After additional testing, it was determined that the aircraft would be vulnerable to standard single-engine fighters so was redesignated as a fighter-bomber. This was the Ro.57bis. Though 200 aircraft were ordered, only 60 were actually produced and it entered squadron service with the 97 Gruppo in February 1943. By all regards, it was not a very successful aircraft.
This is every bit a modern MPM family kit. Well molded, finely engraved panel lines, clear injected canopy, and very well done resin parts. Gone are the photo etched bits and thick, clunky plastic of their formative years. What they need to do now is to concentrate on reducing the resin even more until they can field a full injected kit. This will probably mean a greater expenditure on high pressure molding machines to give the sort of detail needed on small parts.
Regardless, the kit looks to be quite well done, and those who are used to doing upper level short run kits won't find this one to be much of a problem at all. Resin is used for quite a bit on this kit and that includes all the cockpit parts and both engine/nacelles. One has to build up the engines and thought I'd rather have that already done, the project doesn't look too difficult. The engines themselves look a tad generic but much is hidden in the nacelles. This kit has the plastic prop/resin hub deal and one has to be careful when building up the props as they turn in opposite directions.
There are some differences in building the kit depending on if you are doing the prototype as shown on the box art, or an early production aircraft. In the latter case, the holes for the guns will have to be drilled out. Apparently an Ro.57 bis is in the works as the tail wheel doors have to be removed for either of the options provided.
Instructions are well done though MPM has started down the road of only giving paint numbers (in this case Gunze) and no actual paint name. This is a step in the wrong direction and MPM needs to amend this trend. The rest of the instructions are well done with well drawn construction steps. Two options are provided. One is the box art prototype in a rather complicated brown and green mottled scheme. The other is a much easier to paint dark green over light grey scheme that most modelers will undoubtedly pick. This is an early production aircraft. The MPM camo instructions don't show the upper color bending around the leading edges of the flight surfaces. Not sure if it did on this plane, but that was pretty much standard on Italian aircraft of the period. Decals are very well printed and should provide no problems. I also note that these same decals will be used for the Ro.57 bis when it hits the streets.
I have to say that it is very refreshing to see that MPM and a few others are doing these interesting Italian subjects. The R.A. is an area that has been pretty well ignored by many companies over the last few decades and these kits should do well.
Review kit courtesy of your editor.
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