|Alitaliane is a great "home cottage industry" manufacturer of resin kits and the "Italian", like Alphaflight are doing justice to their aviation history which is something we should all applaude. I've read allot about the twisted rear fuselage of this kit, however I must say that mine was correct. The resin is very good quality with "bubbles" kept to a minimum. The main white
metal parts are OK but if you want a more appropriate representation of
some of the parts, you will have to scratch-build them yourself - I'll describe this in a little more detail later. The MG and the rear retraction arms of the undercarriage are the main troubles with this kit.
Before starting, I'd like to thank Dan Salomone who sent me some very useful documentation on this particular bird. Now on with the job!
Aircraft: SIAI-Marchetti SM.84
Engine: Three Piaggio P.XI RC 40, 14 cylinder radial, air-cooled, 1,000 hp each
Wingspan: 69 ft 7 in (21.20 m)
Length: 58 ft 10 in (17.93 m)
Height: 15 ft 1 in (4.59 m)
Weight: 29,330 lb (13,288 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 268 mph (432 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
Ceiling: 25,900 ft (7,900 m)
Range: 1,137 miles (1,830 km)
Armament: 4 machine guns; 4,400 lb (2,000 kg) of bombs
|Alitaliane 1/48 Savoia Marchetti SM.84
Late Development Hawk
by Jean Barby
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|This airplane was designed to replace the SM.79, but it was not quite able to match the earlier aircraft. Although the SM.84 was modern and generally a better airplane it was not an ideal combat aircraft like its predecessor. Its chief weakness was that it was not highly maneuverable. This became evident when it was used as a torpedo bomber. Nevertheless the 309 aircraft manufactured put in a good showing in the Mediterranean until the 1943 armistice. Some SM.84s were used in transport units after the war and remained in service until 1948.
The SM.84 was designed by Alessandro Marchetti who had designed SIAIís earlier tri-motor aircraft. The new plane kept the main plane of the SM.79 however the fuselage was more modern, the tailpane had twin-rudders for improved directional stability and a wider scope of fire for the rear gunner and engines that were more powerful. The SM.84 was a low wing monoplane with a frame of wood and steel tubing and skin of fabric, plywood and aluminum. The undercarriage was retractable and partially enclosed in the engine nacelles. Power was provided by three 1,000 hp Piaggio P.XI radial engines which drove three blade metal propellers with variable pitch. Defensive armament consisted of 4 x 12.7 mm MGs. Bombs could be carried inside the fuselage or under the wings. A maximum of 1 ton of bombs could be carried internally. Outside, the airplane could carry four rockets, various accommodations of bombs up to a maximum of 3,500 pounds or two torpedoes.
Take a deep breath, now the wings.
The kit provides individual slats. Great! But the dimension of
the landing light in the wings is greatly oversized. I used
plasticard to reduce the surface and glued the slats into the
closed position. Why? Because their dimension is short and this is also
a mistake from copying the S-79 wings! The slats are very close to the
engines, so glue, putty, rescribe and breathe again; Have a little fun with rescribing the structure lines, feel your chakras exulting (take yoga), youíre set for the next step
|The right side of the fuselage with internal details added from evergreen stripes and rods. The window store is made of thin plasticard stripped with the blade of an X-acto. The other panel is a windshield.|
|Detail view of the right waist window|
Using the acquired docs I first noticed some inconsistencies between the conception of the kit and how it would have appeared. I am still
wondering how such a thing might have happened when you are provided with the proper line drawings and documentation! The cockpit floor provided with the kit is the same as in the S-79 with a sloping end whereas its flat on the SM.84; a bulkhead is provided to be placed behind the pilots seats when the docs clearly show that between the turret and the seats there is no bulkhead; the docs also show
the control columns passing through the instrument panels like on a
Cessna, the kit provides the same kind of columns as in the S-79! This
is a bit boring but with a little work it can be set properly.
|Now my first step was to attach the two fuselage halves after I had glued the rear parts which are separate and cry out loud for a putty fix. Then as the pics show I used plastic strips to complete the fuselage structure, and using the docs I built the waist gunners positions with their folds and shields. Once again the docs were a great help to catch the shapes and sizes of these items, and it makes a drastic difference. As I mentioned above, the instrument panel must be drilled to accept the control columns to pass through and the control wheels which must also be scratch built to capture the right appearance; Donít go too far however with correcting the cockpit interior since itíll be hidden after all this work is done|
|Floor and bulkheads under construction|
|Left side of the fuselage with the side panel of the pilot made more
to reality than the parts provided in to the kit.
The radio sets were added as well as a compressed air reservoir, a new floor was made for the ventral gondola using stripped plastic sheet from
evergreen. A new bulkhead was placed after the turret and a door
scribed in it. If you want, you can pass on all this work since nothing can be seen from the outside, however this is the way I prefer to work, ie., exactness.
As suggested by Guilio Gobbi I painted all the interior parts a shade of light
grey, FS 16340, "light gull grey", and it worked just fine.
Now we have the two fuselages to glue together. I used cyano glue with an accelerator: it gives resin kits the best joins and when everything is sanded and smoothed, I use steel wool to remove any scratches that might remain. Its now time to glue the stabilizers, check the angles and donít rush. Some plastic card might be needed to fix it correctly; Then its cyano time again + accelerator + putty.
|Waist window viewed from outside|
|Corrections need to be made to the instrument panel. In fact the control columns are passing through the instrument panel and are not the ones provided in the kit. Throttles have been made from plastic rods and the handles are just a drop of maskol.|
The front gondola of the SM.84 was removable during flight for some obvious reasons, but was in the down position for torpedoing or bombing. The docs show you what it looks like and the kit part got it all wrong. Look at the pics and put your little fingers to work. New transparencies were made from clear plasticard and the targeting equipment is scratchbuilt. Future is used to glue those in place.
|The holding structure of the Scotti MG in the belly was made from
various plastic rods and plastic tubes.
|The front gondola was equipped and the shape of the glass cut to be more realistic. Details of the aiming device were added and glued with some Future to the transparencies.|
|Equipped with push-rods, the Piaggio engines look great.|
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