Xotic-72 1/72 FIAT C.M.A.S.A. RS.14
by Richard Mendes

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The FIAT CMASA (Costruzioni Meccaniche Aeronautiche Società Anonima) RS.14 all-metal long range maritime strategic reconnaissance floatplane designed by Manlio Stiavelli (1889-1958) to fulfill a 1937 Regia Marina specification replacing the obsolescent CANT Z.501 floatplane first flew in May 1939 powered by two 858hp Fiat A.74 R.C.38 fourteen-cylinder engines. The observer/bombardier sat within an extensively glazed fuselage nose, pilot and copilot sitting side by side behind him, wireless operator and beam gunner occupying an aft compartment behind them.

The RS.14 prototypes M.M. 380 and 383 exhibited excellent handling and speed performance though structurally fixing several water landing float pylon failures delayed series production till May 1941 one hundred eighty-four aircraft subsequently being built up to the September 1943 Italian Armistice.

In late 1941 the RS.14 entered service with a number of Regia Aeronautica maritime strategic reconnaissance squadrons based around the Italian, Sicilian and Sardinian coasts for convoy escort duties and anti-submarine patrols, in the bombing role some aircraft were fitted with a ventral gondola carrying up to 882lbs of anti-submarine bombs. Following the 1943 Armistice surviving RS.14s were operated by the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and Aeronautica Cobelligerante Italiana those surviving WWII with the Aeronautica Militare Italiana for liaison duties around the Mediterranean carrying up to four passengers.



The RS.14 Model
The 1996-vintage Czech-produced Aviation USK AV1020 followed by the early 2000s re-boxed Xotic-72 AU1020 with injected-molded, vacuformed and brass etched parts are the only 1/72 scale kits of the FIAT CMASA RS.14. Derided as crude and inaccurate by some modelers the kits nevertheless remain sought after by Regia Aeronautica aficionados myself having taken over two years to obtain just one, many times resold Xotic-72 specimen!

The Build
Construction of the Xotic-72 kit commenced on June 30, 2019 during uncomfortable summertime heat conditions, fearing the worst after reading Internet reviews about how bad the kit was I proceeded with building it extra cautiously. Much to my surprise all went well though not without tense moments getting the clear vacuform canopy and glazed nosed parts to properly seat on the assembled injected molded fuselage, floats on the mainwings, "weathering" everything in a largely assembled state rather than in sections so as to harmoniously align mainwings, floats and fuselage. The white fuselage identification band and tail Cross of Savoy latter over a Humbrol 91 Matt Black Green enamel base replicating Verde Oliva Scuro 2 had to be spray painted on after the weathering - much tape masking necessary to prevent over spraying on a largely assembled model!

The Xotic-72 kit had three assembly options for the forward fuselage cockpit and glazed nose portions:
• Sawing off the injected-molded fuselage wireless cabin and cockpit portions, replacing them with a clear supposedly more accurately detailed vacuformed part
• Cutting out the molded on wireless operator cabin windows, replacing them with a separate set of clear vacuform parts
• Cutting off the clear vacuform cockpit portion, glue it on the injected-molded fuselage, painting over the molded wireless operator cabin windows

I chose the last option spray painting the molded wireless operator cabin windows with Testors enamels giving the illusion of them being transparent, didn't relish the thought spending endless hours getting the vacuform parts to fit correctly!

Base painting model component parts with was done in sections; Testors White enamel scale-shaded Humbrol 78 Matt Cockpit Green and 125 Satin U.S. Dark Grey enamel paints replicating Verde Anticorruzione and Giorgio Azzurro Chiaro 3, Testors Model Master 1726 Flat Gull Grey replicating Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1 as well as other Testors enamel colors for parts detailing, model kit and SKY Models 72-019 decals for a 287a Squadriglia Serie III RS.14 were applied.

Technical Data

Aircraft: C.M.A.S.A. RS.14
Manufacturer: Costruzioni Meccaniche Aeronautiche S.A. (Fiat)
Type: Reconnaissance
Year: 1942
Engine: Two Fiat A.74 RC 38. 14-cylinder radial, air-cooled, 840 hp each
Wingspan: 64 ft 1 in (19.54 m)
Length: 46 ft 3 in (14.10 m)
Height: 18 ft 6 in (5.63 m)
Weight: 18,700 lb (8,470 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 242 mph (390 km/h) at 15,400 ft (4,693 m)
Ceiling: 16,400 ft (5,000 m)
Range: 1,550 miles (2,500 km)
Armament: 3 machine guns; 880 lb (400 kg) of bombs
Crew: 4-5

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October, 2019
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