KPL 1/72 IMAM Ro.58 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||January 2009||Manufacturer||KPL|
|Kit Number||-||Primary Media||Vac, Resin|
|Pros||Neat Italian aircraft||Cons||Crude molding. No decals provided. Some parts have to be fabicated|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the Italian aircraft industry was turning out some very advanced aircraft designs. However, the manufacturing sector was not scaled up to produce large volumes and the engine industry was not able to produce power plants with sufficient horsepower to deliver the required performance levels. In an attempt to provide the Regia Aeronautica with a heavy fighter, suitable to replace the old and slow Fiat fighters of the day, Giovanni Galasso designed the twin engine Ro. 57, which was introduced to the world in May of 1939 at the First International Aeronautical Journalist’s Congress held in Rome.
The Ro. 57 was a single seat monoplane that consisted of all metal, semi-monocoque fuselage with steel skeleton and duralumin structure. The wings were surfaced with duralumin also. Two Fiat A-74 twin-bank radial engines, producing 840 horsepower each gave the aircraft a top speed of 311 mph at 5000 meters. The operational service ceiling was only 25,000 ft. Initial aircraft were armed with two Breda 12.7 mm machine-guns in the nose. While a good orientation, it had insufficient firepower and design change added twin 20 mm cannons to the nose and hard points were added to carry two 500 kg bombs.
Unfortunately, this resulted in production delays and weight increases that reduced performance. By the time all modifications had been incorporated and production begun in earnest, it was 1943 and the type was already becoming obsolete.
Only about ten or fifteen of the original fighter type were made and about sixty of the ground support version before production ceased. A further development of the type was attempted with the installation of two Daimler-Benz DB601 engines and the addition of a second crew position. This was designated as the Ro. 58 (subject of this kit). It did display improved speed and performance, but for Italy the war was just about over and it was too late for the type to be of any practical use.
The kit came in a large cello bag. Inside was a single white sheet of vacu-formed parts and a clear vacuformed canopy part that was taped inside of one of the engine nacelle halves. There were no instructions in the kit, just a sheet with a 3-view black and white drawing on one side of it.
The white sheet holds: the fuselage halves, wing halves (which are full span), horizontal tail surface halves, twin rudder halves and exhaust shrouds (16 parts)
The single cockpit transparency (also vacuformed) completes the kit’s contents.
There are no decals provided.
The 3-view drawing shows the aircraft in an overall dark color above a light bottom color. It has the fascist symbol on the side of the nose, a fuselage band in front of the tail. The white cross with house of Savoy insignia on the rudders. Some illegible white lettering is just in front of the tail on the side of the fuselage. Black outline type national markings are above and below the wings.
The white vacuformed kit parts are rather crude and will take some cleanup and perhaps rescribing to bring them up to snuff. I only recommend this kit to modelers that have had past experience with vacuformed kits and have some scratchbuilding skills. As far as I know, this kit is the only show in town for this aircraft.