1/72 scale Brazilian Savoia Marchetti
by Mark Davies
Savoia Marchetti S.79 Transatlantico
1/72 scale S.79 III is available online from
The Savoia Marchetti S.79 is one of my favourite 1930ís aircraft, and
I have always liked the S.79C (for Corsa meaning race) and the very
similar S.79 T (for Transatlantico) which were modified s.79Cís.
I had some Superscale decals for one of the three aircraft I-BRUN,
the others being I-BISE and I-MONI. Having recently built a modified
Airfix S.79 bomber I decided to convert my Italeri S.79 bomber to an
S.79T. Some of the images here include my modified Airfix S.79 bomber to
contrast the airframe changes applied to the S.79T.
The major part of conversion required me to remove the ventral
gunnerís hump, and mould a new windscreen. The new windscreen was made
by fitting the kit one in place and cutting off the top associated with
the gunnerís hump, and re-profiling the upper fuselage in thick plastic
card. Once satisfied I removed the canopy area and sanded it undersize
and polished it to form a male mould for plunge moulding a new acetate
I then closed all openings associated with the side-gunnerís and
bomb-aimerís positions. The Italeri kit features exaggerated fabric
sagging on the fuselage and tail surfaces, so I chose to fill these with
Milliput and smooth them away along with the closed openings already
Lesser jobs included making some streamlined tail braces as the racers
used these in place of the bomberís bracing wires. I also filled in the
bomb doors. New more slender prop spinners were needed, and these came
from a smashed up Hasegawa Kawanishi Mavis flying boat which were
Dremeled out to accept the kit prop bosses. A crew entrance hatch was
scribed in, and port-hole style windows added to the fuselage. I built a
fuel tank venting system from scrap, and this along with a DF loop was
added behind the cabin.
Having done all this work I realised to my horror that the I-BRUN
serial of the Superscale decals were far too small compared to photos.
This led me to search for more information and fortunately I stumbled
across a website, since moved, that gave some history regarding three
S.79Tís that flew non-stop from Rome to Rio de Janeiro in January 1938
as part of a commercial route-proving exercise. They covered the 10,000
km at an average speed of 400 kmh and were given to Brazilian Government
afterwards and incorporated into the Brazilian Armyís Military Aviation.
The aircraft were used for long-range reconnaissance, instrument flying
and bombing training mission. They were transferred to the ForÁa Aťrea
Brasileira upon its creation in 1941, but usage was suffering from a
lack of spares by this time and the aircraft were taken off active duty
The website provided a profile drawing of the Brazilian aircraft. It
said no photo existed, but gave a description of the colours and codes
used. The profile showed the aircraft to have an extended centre engine
cowl. I was aware that some Italian tri-motors like the Savoia Marchetti
S.81 had this feature, so it seemed plausible enough. I incorporated it
into my model by cutting the rear part of a spare Academy B-17C cowl and
adding it the S.79ís cowl. I have since had my doubts about the accuracy
of this, and may change it back to the original length cowl. Finally
exhausts were made using a combination of Italeri and Airfix S.79 parts.
The aircraft was painted in a green to match the website profile, and
code letters were courtesy of Martin Short and his ALPs printer. I
covered the cowls in Baremetal foil, and then created the machine-turned
aluminium look using some folded 800 grit wet & dry paper, scuffing the
surface with eth folded corner of the paper in a tight swirling motion.
The collector rings were then sprayed on and various small details
picked out as required and the undercarriage added.
Iím happy enough with my unusual S.79, although I rushed to finish it
after it had sat around for a year or so after I lost interest in it.
Perversely, Pavla have issued an S.79C conversion set for the Italeri
kit with everything you need, including the correct decals. I now own
this and will at some stage build the very attractive red, green and
white Italian racer I originally planned.
An example of this aircraft, built by an Australian email pal of
mine, Graham Carter, using the Airfix kit and Pavla conversion is shown
in the image above.
Images and Text Copyright ©
2005 by Mark Davies
Page Created 14 September, 2005
14 September, 2005
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