Fly 1/48 Ansaldo SVA.5 'early'

KIT #: 48006
PRICE: $25.00 or so
DECALS: Three options
NOTES: 2014 release


The Ansaldo S.V.A.5 was an Italian WWI reconnaissance/bomber biplane. Originally designed as a fighter, its perceived lack of maneuverability led to it being considered inadequate for that role. However, its impressive speed, range, and service ceiling were exactly the qualities needed for a successful reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber. The S.V.A.5 was the fastest Allied aircraft to see service in WWI.

The aircraft that would evolve into the S.V.A.5 made its first flight on March 3, 1917. Test pilots were enthusiastic about its handling characteristics and high speed. After an intense testing program, the S.V.A.5 was ordered into volume production. In early 1918, S.V.A.5s were issued to 2nd line units for point defense of Northern Italian cities and reconnaissance flights along the Italian front. Strategic reconnaissance and light bombing missions commenced on February 29th. For typical bombing missions the S.V.A.5s would have to fly 200-350 miles and cross the Alps twice. Reconnaissance runs provided Italian commanders with near constant representations of the fighting on the ground along with monitoring the Austro-Hungarian supply situation and the movements of reinforcements. S.V.A.5s also flew many leaflet dropping missions over enemy lines.


The Fly S.V.A.5 kit has 32 injected molded parts, 16 polyurethane resin parts, and one vacu-formed part. One of the injection molded parts and the only vacu-formed part are for windshields. The parts duplicate each other and I assume they are provided to give the builder a choice between user friendliness and fidelity to scale. What few panel lines represented are recessed. Most of the resin parts are used in the cockpit, but they also provide the exhaust pipes, control horns, machine guns, bombs, and radiator header tank. Interior framing for the cockpit is molded on the insides of the fuselage halves. All of the trailing edges of the flying surfaces are very thin and the scalloping is well defined. The fabric surfaces of the flying surfaces are represented by “hills and valleys” that appears to be close to scale. However, the undersides of the wings have this effect reversed in what appears to be an effort to represent sagging fabric between the ribs. Real fabric covered aircraft do not have sagging fabric on their wings and builders may want to address this. All of the parts are well molded and cast with no flash evident and minimal mold parting lines. The four page instruction sheet illustrates 17 assembly steps and a rigging diagram. The kit includes duplicate underside nose panels and radiators that I assume are for the “Late” version boxing. The instructions do not indicate that they are “not for use” and the parts are not numbered on the sprues so the builder will need to be cautious in selecting the correct parts for assembly. The decal placement guide and the painting instructions are printed in color on the bottom of the end opening box. Three decal options are provided. All three have unpainted plywood fuselages, clear doped linen flying surfaces, and aluminum upper forward fuselages. Two of the options have green mottling on the tops of their upper wings and the tops of their horizontal tail surfaces. One subject has a green fin. All three aircraft have large and colorful “pennant” markings on their fuselage sides that run from the cockpit to the end of the fuselage, roundels on the tops of the upper wings and fuselage sides, vertical stripes on the rudders in Italian national colors, and large red and green panels on the undersides of the upper and lower wing's tips.


This appears to be a nicely detailed and crisply molded kit. It is also the only injected molded 1/48 scale kit of the Ansaldo S.V.A5 (the SMER kit is 1/50). Of course the true measure of any kit is in the building and I hope to start mine in the near future. Recommended to anyone with some experience building biplane models.

Rob Hart

February 2024 

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