Classic Airframes 1/48 IMAM Ro.37bis
Reconnaissance Plane
by Jean Barby

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Used by the Regia Aeronautica on virtually every front during WW2, the I.M.A.M.  Ro. 37bis was a radial engine development of the inline version of this aircraft. The Ro.37bis was a reconaissance aircraft  that replaced the inline Fiat engine with a Piaggio P.IX radial engine of 560 hp. Of mixed construction the Ro. 37bis was a very dependable aircraft and much loved by its crews and was even used as a figther and ground attack aircraft. The plane was employed in all the theaters of operation except Russia and the English Channel. The first version of the Ro. 37bis had a different turtleback, the latter development finding the final form common to the two versions.


As usual with CA kits everything needed is provided to get a decent representation OOB, however ... if you would like a more accurate representation, here is what I did:

* there's no floor in the cockpit to allow the pilot and observer to look through the ventral window. In fact I rebuilt the interior using plans and photos. Some resin parts, such as the throttle did not conform and wiring must be added, as well as plastic rods used to make the support for the anti crash V. Streched sprue was used to simulate the control cables passing under the seats and on  the sides of the interior fuselage
* the Breda MG was made from scratch as it is represented without the  cooling grill!! The ring for the MG was made from Dymo tape and an ammo box with the alimentation band and collecting tube for empty shells were also made from scratch
* the shape of the ailerons seems to be out of shape but I noticed  this fact too late to rectify.
* aileron control arms are needed.
* two pitot arms are needed
* the wheels are marvelous but I needed to strengthen the axel to be able to glue them without fear of seeing the plane collapsed under its own weight.

Building bi-planes is always tricky and this one is no exception.  Take your time. Once the underwing is glued, don't forget to pre-drill holes for rigging cables or you're in for a hard time. Model master "yellow camo 3" was used with Gunze H-302 for the Verde Mimetico 2. Grigio mimetico was made of a mixture of Neutral Grey +30% of white.

The plane depicted was based in Mogadiscio in Italian Somaliland 1940 and 2 pics of this camo scheme can be found in the now out of print but excellent Ro. 37 reference by Achille Vigna.  Rigging was done using fishing nylon 12/100, glued in place with super glue then heated lightly to get the proper tension and painted silver.  This was a very interesting and challenging build.

Strongly recommended to all RA bona fides!

Technical Data

Aircraft: Meridionali Ro. 37 bis
Manufacturer: S.A. Industrie Meccaniche & Aerondutiche Meridionali (I.M.A.M.)
Type: Reconnaissance
Year: 1935
Engine: Piaggio P.IX, air-cooled radial, 560hp
Wingspan: 36 ft 4 in (11.08m)
Length: 28 ft 3 in (8.62 m)
Height: 9 ft 9 in (2.95 m)
Weight: 5,269 lb (2,390 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 202 mph (325 km/h)
Ceiling: 22,000 ft (6,700 m)
Range: 726 miles (1,168 km)
Armament: 2-3 machine guns
Crew: 2

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February, 2006
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