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IMAM Ro.44 Kit

Octopus (Pavla Models) 1/72 IMAM Ro.44 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2005 Manufacturer Octopus (Pavla Models)
Subject IMAM Ro.44 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72054 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $33.98

First Look

IMAM Ro.44 Kit
IMAM Ro.44 Kit
IMAM Ro.44 Kit

In the mid-1930s, the Italian aircraft company IMAM (Romeo) designed a biplane trainer that was designated as the Ro.37. This successful design led to a modified version that the Italian Navy could use as an observation aircraft. The resulting Ro.43 was essentially a strengthened Ro.37 with floats that could be catapult-launched off of cruisers and battleships, then hoist-recovered back onto the ship for servicing.

The Ro.44 was a further development of the Ro.43, turning the two-seat observation aircraft into a single-seat fighter armed with a pair of machine guns. Like the Ro.43, the Ro.44 was able to be catapult-launched and hoist recovered. Despite being obsolete at the outbreak of WW2, the aircraft were able to provide fighter cover for the fleet in the absence of opposition in the early days. A total of 35 examples were built.

The Octopus (Pavla Models) kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a number of resin detail parts that are nicely cast.

The first tree contains upper and lower wings, tail surfaces, center and outboard floats, and propeller. The second tree has the fuselage, wing struts, cockpit floor and pilot's seat. The Piaggio engine, exhaust header, and other detail parts are resin. Additional parts in styrene and resin assemble into a beaching trolley to display the aircraft out of the water and off the ship.

Despite the intermediate rating shown for skill level, the assembly of this kit is very straightforward, especially since the upper and lower wings attach directly to the fuselage. This allows for a much easier time aligning and installing the wing struts. Likewise the resin parts will require use of cyano adhesives, but these parts are not used in critical assembly areas that would allow for a little 'experience building'.

Markings are provided for three examples:

  • Ro.44, 161a Sqn, sergente Antonio Marinone, April 1940
  • Ro.44, 161a Sqn, eve of the war at G.Rossatti airfield, Lero Island
  • Ro.44, Pola-Puntisella Seaplane School

This is a nice-looking multimedia kit that is reasonably not going to be a difficult build. The colorful schemes of 161a Sqn will look good on your scale flightline.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!