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KIT REVIEW


Special Hobby SH48185
IMAM (Romeo) Ro.37bis -- 1:48 Scale



Some airplanes seem to cross between genres, eras, and technological milestones.  The IMAM Ro.37 seems to fit into this category, as one of the very last of the 20th century combat biplanes that found its way into the early phases of WWII and beyond.  In this recent release, Special Hobby has re-boxed the Classic Airframes kit (first out in 2004) and made it a rather impressive new offering, with new decals, clear parts, and lots of photoetched and resin details.  Let’s take a look.    

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In the early 1930s, Italy initiated a military buildup that included developing its fledgling Regia Aeronautica (Royal Italian Air Force).  In addition to fighters and bombers, reconnaissance platforms were also needed, and the Industrie Meccaniche Aeronautiche Meridionali (IMAM) developed a two-seat biplane to fulfill this role.  Designated the Ro.37 Lince (or Lynx), it first flew in 1934 and was composed of a mix of wood and metal components.  While it served as Italy’s primary recce platform as intended, it was also pushed into close air support and fighter roles.  The Ro.37 was manufactured until 1939 with a total of 569 airframes produced.  The most numerous of these was the Ro.37bis variant that featured an improved Piaggio P.IX powerplant.    

The Ro.37 saw extensive combat, beginning in 1935 in Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.  In late 1935, Ro.37s were sent to Spain to participate in their civil war.  During WWII, these airplanes could be found operating throughout the ETO, and particularly again on the African front.  The aircraft was produced until 1939 with a total of 569 (237 + 332bis) produced, and despite their vulnerability in combat and general obsolescence, the Ro.37 continued on until Italy’s surrender in August 1943.  The type was also exported to Hungary, Austria, Afghanistan, Ecuador, and Uruguay and many remained flying for several years after the end of the war.

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The 1:48 scale Special Hobby kit of the IMAM Ro.37bis features the Classic Airframes plastic with a range of new parts and decals.  The injection-molded kit itself comes on six sprues, amounting to a total of 64 parts (ten go unused in this kit).  There are also five clear parts on one sprue, 27 cast resin parts, 53 photoetched metal parts on one fret (three go unused), and one sheet of clear film instrument panel details.  The instruction booklet guides assembly over 21 steps (including a rigging diagram), and the decal sheet contains markings for four Lince airframes:

Strengths:  This kit has a good general reputation, but the plastic comes from the molds that produced the limited run Classic Airframes offering more than 14 years ago (and see below).  Surface details are recessed where they should be and raised in the appropriate places.  What really elevates the Special Hobby edition several notches are the outstanding new plastic parts, resin and PE detail parts, and new decals.

The Special Hobby-produced resin parts are absolutely top-notch, from the detail captured on the upholstered pilot and observer seats, to the throttle quadrant, machine gun, flexible mount, exhaust stacks, tail wheel, and lots more.  Likewise, the photoetched metal parts are just exquisitely cool.  Shoulder harness and lap belt details are really awesome, as are the radial spokes on the wheel hubs, instrument panels, and other parts.  I think these are based on the Eduard parts in the original 2004 offering; they were excellent then, and still are now.  And if I am not mistaken, Sprues D, E, and F are produced by Special Hobby to replace parts previously attached to the Classic Airframes Sprues A, B, and C.  These include a great version of the engine, cowling, cockpit framing and floor, and the propeller.

The markings options are also really quite diverse and give the builder a range of options to choose from.  Produced by AviPrint, I cannot see a single technical flaw in the decal sheet.  They look great!

Weaknesses: With the Classic Airframes kit, there are no mounting tabs, alignment pins, or other aids to assist in construction.  Therefore, you’re on your own, and I always suggest making your own tabs out of stock styrene.  Also, the Classic Airframes-produced parts have a rather rough texture, and smoothing it out with 1000+grit sandpaper or Micromesh will be needed to produce a uniform finish and smooth surface for the paint AND decals.   

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The 1:48 scale Special Hobby kit of the Ro.37bis on its own might just be average by today’s standards for injection molding, but the addition of the new plastic parts, resin and PE metal detail parts, acetate instrument faces, and the new decals really elevate the kit and open up opportunities for greater detailing, particularly with the engine and cockpit.  In the hands of most scale modelers who enjoy working with multimedia kits, their final product will no doubt impress. 

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby/CMK for the review sample. You visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


   

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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