AMP 1/72, Ref.72015
This very unusual flying machine was designed to take part to and represent Italy at the 1929 Schneider Trophy race. The main idea behind the design was to get rid of drag-inducing floats. At rest, the aircraft floated up to its wings on its long and thin watertight fuselage. With the main propeller in a feathered mode, the engine first engaged a marine propeller that quickly led the machine to rise onto its hydrofoils; this allowed the pilot to dis-engage the marine propeller and engage and de-feather the main propeller, permitting take off. A few tests were carried on a lake in Northern Italy but clutch problems and the spray generated by the hydrofoils were issues that were never resolved and not a single take off was ever recorded.
AMP, part of the MikroMir ‘concern’, initially released a 1/48 kit of this audacious design in 2019 and a smaller kit in 1/72 during 2020. Although not totally ‘brand new’, it was felt the release may have gone unnoticed during the Covid crisis and that it did warrant a bit more ‘advertising’.
The kit comes in a small but attractive side-opening box containing a couple of medium-grey plastic sprues and a tiny clear plastic one; a small decal sheet and an 8-page A5 instructions booklet. The later is clear and precise, split into 11 stages plus painting/decaling. Colour references are given for the Hobby Color and Mr. Hobby ranges. Text is in Ukrainian and English. The decal sheet is well printed and offers two options, the second one being, presumably, that of the actual racer had it taken part in the 1929 Schneider Trophy race.
The kit is made up of 32 parts (one being the clear windshield); if a little flash is visible here and there, it’s nothing delibitating and all in all, the quality of the detail and moulding appears excellent. The cockpit is well furnished considering that the space is very small and little will be seen. The propeller is given as ‘feathered’ and those wanting to represent the aircraft on its hydrofoils or aloft will need to modify it. It’s a bit of a pity because representing the machine ‘at rest’ would mean hiding most of it under the water.. Of course, the aircraft can still be represented outside the water element, on the shore for instance, but if supports are shown on the box art, they are not included in the kit.
Interesting subject for sure, with bright colours on top, the kit (and its larger sibling) needs to be put forward, it will certainly turn heads and raise eyebrows at shows. AMP must be congratulated for the making of this kit; at least one other Schneider Trophy racer, the far more successful Supermarine S.5, is also available in 1/48 and 1/72 from this manufacturer, let’s hope AMP continues to add to the range, not just with the ‘usual suspects’, but like this Piaggo-Pegna P.C.7, with the slightly more crazied designs that the Schneider Trophy race led to create!
Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul