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The Sicilian - Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero

built by Christian Jakl (1:48)

Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero
In 1934, Alessandro Marchetti suggested a new aircraft that was to surpass his SM.81. Although his SM.79 P was designed as a passenger aircraft for eight people, the Italian dictatorship planned military use for the aircraft much like the Luftwaffe did with the He 111. The twin-engined SM.79B was not accepted because it was officially assumed that twin-engined passenger aircraft were not reliable.

However Iraq, Brazil and Rumania ordered some of the military version of the B model. Romania decided to use the Savoia on a large scale and bought 48 machines outright and acquired permission to build the aircraft under license. In 1935 the first bomber versions were built as the great potential of the aircraft was realized. During the Spanish Civil War SM.79 units delivered 12000 tons of bombs to their targets and operations were considered a success. At the end of hostilities the Franco regime took over more than 80 Savoia-Marchetti. More variants appeared and the Regia Aeronautica received the SM.79-II's equipped with better radial engines. When Italy entered the Second World War in 1940 the Regia had 570 of this type.

They were primarily used against shipping. They operated against the RAF usually protected by fighter escort since they were never safe over the Mediterranean and North African Theater of Operations. Allied bombing of the Italian aviation industry caused major problems in the production of aircraft and spare parts and as a result three quarters of the remaining SM.79 were grounded. By 1942, units and available spare parts of the Regia Aeronautica had shrunk to the point where one instead of two torpedoes was carried to give at least the impression of a still formidable force. By war's end there were only 36 operational SM.79 scattered over various airfields. A total of 1330 SM.79 had been built. For quite a while they were used as transport aircraft until Italy could build up their commercial aviation industry.
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The model

Great on the outside, lacking on the inside sums it all up. Trumpeter leaves it to the modeler to pass an objective judgment on this kit. If one goes by the structure and the outward appearance of the kit then it is perfect. Landing flaps, rudders, elevator are all separate parts. All doors can be shown in the opened position but this is where the problems arise. The interior detail is sparse at best. Eduard can help here with a bit of photo- etch but this far is from enough. In my model I removed all interior structures from the fuselage walls and replaced them with scratch built Evergreen replacements.

All fuselage structures (length and width) missing in the kit I have scratch built and incorporated with the Eduard bits. The catwalk is also missing but can be seen when the hatch door is open. The cockpit lacks armor and the gunner's seat. The braces to mount the forward firing guns are also missing. On the exterior I noticed only one mistake. The vertical stabilizer braces are wrong; they were only used by the earlier civilian version. . They have to be replaced by wire braces. The cockpit clear parts are too thick and even after polishing do not allow a clear view of the cockpit interior.

The diorama

There is not much to look at in this diorama. The idea with the wooden base has exited many and adds a rustic flavor to the whole thing. Many wartime photographs which showed the aircraft covered with tarps to protect against sand and heat persuaded me to do the same. First I wanted to cover all the engines and the cockpit but then this would have hidden the special character of this Marchetti. I decided to cover only one engine and I posed the cockpit tarp in such a way as if the job of covering it had not been completed. Hence the complete outline of the fuselage is visible.

I had problems with the exact representation of this aircraft since I lacked sources about maintenance and exact appearance of the weapons and equipment of this machine. Whether there was a ventral gondola I cannot say, there are photos where torpedoes and ventral gondolas appear. Two of the figures are from Hecker and Goros and are part of the "Italians". That is about it as far as members of the squadriglias are concerned; another chapter of history ignored by the manufacturers. Three Luftwaffe figures from Verlinden had to fill in .The only one topless with shorts available. The barrels are from - a Czech producer of small parts that others won't touch.
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A good kit if one does not require a lot of detail. The parts fit very well and there is hardly anything to fill and sand. There are only markings for one version. The Italian aircraft had such colorful paint jobs that it is a shame to be tied to only one aircraft. However the SM.79 is and remains a unique aircraft and belongs in a good collection.

The Sicilian - Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero

  Diorama built by Christian Jakl, photos taken by Wolfram Bradac  
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Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II
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  (Evergreen-profiles, accessories)  
  (barrels, accessories)  
  meet the modeler      

Christian Jakl

  I was born in Vienna in 1971 and now I live in the middle of the mountains in the Tyrol district. I am in marketing and my specialty is graphic design and layout. Ships, planes and automobiles is how it started and now I have taken up aircraft models only. I concentrate on the German and Soviet air force. My favorite mode of display are dioramas in 1/48 scale. Here I can let my imagination run wild and can produce many of parts. Experimentation and the use of new techniques are foremost on my mind. I also combine stock kits with other add onís and try out new tools. There is always a lot to learn.

It is not all that important to me if a detail is no exactly in the right spot; the final product has to look right. If somebody stands in front of my model and is enthused then I did my job right. The only problem I have is the time factor and in this I probably not alone. I wish everybody a lot of fun with this page and hope that critiques and comments are forthcoming.
  Christian Jakl  
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This page:  GALLERY: The Sicilian - Savoia Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero (1:48) - built by Christian Jakl
was last modified on: Jun 20, 2005
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