Azur 1/72 Ro.37bis
|Three aircraft; see review|
|Short run multimedia kit|
Prior to the end of WWII, Italy was one of those countries thathad a rather large colonial empire. Most of the areas of Italian influence werein northern and eastern Africa. This meant a need to have an air presence inthese countries. It would be wasteful of personnel and materiel to havededicated air units in these countries, so Italy, like many other colonialpowers relied on multi-purpose aircraft. Mostly these would bereconnaissance/light bomber types as that was all that would be needed to quellthe restlessness of the natives.
IMAM was a company that was pretty good at providing these kindsof aircraft. The Ro.37 was a typical aircraft of the type in the mid 1930s. Ithad an inline engine, was a biplane and had fixed landing gear. It was capableof carrying light bombs, had a rear defensive gun and a single forward firingweapon. It was also mostly fabric covered and was easy to maintain andrepair. The Achilles heel of this aircraft was the inline engine. Itreally didn't like the hot, dry areas in which it was usually operated. The keyto success was a switch to an aircooled radial engine. This was the Ro.37bis andit was quite a useful aircraft as long as there wasn't any really dedicated airopposition.
The type served well and was even exported to a few countries.The first combat of any consequence that the type saw was in the Spanish CivilWar of 1936-39. Here it also did yeoman's work, but was a sitting duck againstopposition fighters so needed escort fighters when it went into hotly contestedareas. During Italy's involvement in WWII it was used in the Balkans as ananti-partisan aircraft. There it was assured of no air attack and only lightground fire. As a result, it performed its job well. By the time of the Italiancapitulation in 1943, the Ro.37bis was woefully inadequate for front-lineservice and was only used as a station or squadron hack.
The Ro.37 is quite typical of Czech short run kits. This one has nicelyengraved panel lines, minimal or no flash, a nicely done fabric representation,and large ejection pin stubs on the inside of the fuselage but no where else.The canopy sections are in vacuformed plastic and are well done, though I dowish there was a second one for us fumble fingers, but this is a recurring whinefrom me concerning vac canopies!
The kit has no resin bits, but does have a couple of small frets of etchedmetal. Most of this fret is given to wire wheel bits. I hate to say inserts, asit appears that one sandwiches these etched bits between the injected wheelhalves. Be interesting to see how this turns out. The rest of the fret isdedicated to interior bits. BTW, the smaller fret is a replacement for the sameparts on the larger fret. There are pieces of film with the instruments on themthat one puts in between the etched panel front and plastic backing. Alsoincluded in the kit is the interior sidewall framework. This is because it isquite visible through the side windows.
The instruction sheetis what one has come to expect from these kits, giving13 construction steps, apainting guide and short history. The colors are all given generic names and notkeyed to any brand name. There are three different schemes on the decal sheet.One is for a Spanish Nationalist version from 1938 in normal Italian camouflage.Next is a Uruguayan AF version in overall dark green with an aluminum cowling.Finally there is a Regia Aeronautica aircraft circa 1938. This one iscamouflages in the large segmented scheme and has tricolor rudder stripes, acolorful combination. The decals are printed by Propagteam so you know thequality.
Overall, it looks like a very nice model and one that can easily be built bythose who have some experience with short run multimedia kits. You also need tobe comfortable building and rigging biplanes as other than the boxtop, there isno rigging diagram.
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