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Manic Dragon
Andrea Morris (Manic Dragon)

SM.79 - Spanish Civil War

The Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (Italian for sparrowhawk) was a three-engined Italian medium bomber developed and manufactured by aviation company Savoia-Marchetti. It could be the best-known Italian aeroplane of the Second World War. The SM.79 was easily recognisable due to its fuselage's distinctive dorsal "hump", and was reportedly well liked by its crews, who nicknamed it il gobbo maledetto ("damned hunchback").

The SM.79 was originally developed in the early 1930's as a cantilever low-wing monoplane of combined wood and metal construction. It had been designed with the intention of producing a swift eight-passenger transport aircraft, capable of besting even the fastest of its contemporaries, but had quickly attracted the attention of the Italian government with its potential as an armed combat aircraft. Performing its first flight on 28 September 1934, early examples of the type established 26 separate world records between 1937 and 1939, qualifying it for some time as the fastest medium bomber in the world. As such, the SM.79 quickly came to be regarded as an item of national prestige in Fascist Italy, attracting significant government support and often being deployed as an element of state propaganda. Early on, the aircraft was routinely entered in competitive fly-offs and air races, seeking to capitalise on its advantages, and often emerged victorious in such contests.

The SM.79 first saw combat during the Spanish Civil War. In this theatre it normally operated without fighter escort, relying on its relatively high speed to evade interception. While some issues were identified, and in some cases resolved, the SM.79's performance during the Spanish deployment was encouraging and stimulated demand for the type, including a decision to adopt it as the backbone of Italy's bomber units. Both Yugoslavia and Roumania opted to procure the type for their own air services, while large numbers were also procured for the Regia Aeronautica. Almost 600 SM.79-I and –II aircraft were in service when Italy entered the Second World War in May 1940; thereafter, they were deployed in every theatre of war in which the Italians fought.

The SM.79 was operated in various capacities during the Second World War, initially being used mainly as a transport aircraft and medium bomber. Following pioneering work by the "Special Aerotorpedoes Unit", Italy put the type to work as a torpedo bomber; in this role, the SM.79 achieved notable successes against Allied shipping in the Mediterranean theatre. A specialised drone version of the aircraft flown by remote control was also developed, although the Armistice with Italy was enacted prior to any operational deployment. It was the most numerous Italian bomber of the Second World War, with about 1,300 built. The type would remain in Italian service until 1952.



In progress
1:48 Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-II Sparviero (Trumpeter 02817)1:48 Savoia S.M.79 (early) (Yahu Models YMA4840)1:48 Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 over Spain - Part I (LF Models C48112)3+
Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero
ES Military 10. Squadriglia, XXVII Gruppo BV
8 Stormo BV 1
1937 Spanish Civil War - Palma de Majorca
Sand, Dark Green


1 | 16. August 2020, 12:19
Christoph Kunz
Count me in
16. August 2020, 13:01
Andrea Morris
Welcome Christoph! This kit took quite a bit of getting hold of and I planned to depict it from the battle for Malta. Since then I have grown interested in the Spanish Civil War & so this a/c will depict that.
Bulk of the work is now complete. The wings are on and I'm fitting the tail pieces/rudder right now.
16. August 2020, 13:17
Hm, how big is it?
16. August 2020, 13:27
Andrea Morris
@Treehugger About 35cm long with a 44cm wingspan.
16. August 2020, 13:34
Andrea Morris
Wings, tail-plane & ruder are fitted. Plastic gun barrels have been replaced with metal. After a final sanding she will be ready for primer.
21. August 2020, 11:23
Gary Dahlström
Looking great! Terrific subject, such a unique aircraft. Your seamwork is flawless.
26. August 2020, 13:19
Andrea Morris
I managed to snap the canopy :( But at least now she is in primer.
26. August 2020, 13:30
Christoph Kunz
Pic 28... how did you fix it?
26. August 2020, 19:44
Andrea Morris
@Christoph I was lucky that most of the canopy is not see-through, so I just glued (TET) it back together avoiding the actual transparent bits. After a fine sanding you won't notice it. @Gary compliment accepted :)
27. August 2020, 11:55
Nathan Dempsey
Interesting subject. I'm tuning in.
27. August 2020, 13:06
Andy Ball
I love 'em: built the 72nd Italeri camo schemes!, so tell us how the 48'er goes together?
27. August 2020, 13:36
Andrea Morris

@Andy The kit is fine with no real issues. If you have built a Trumpeter kit before then you know what to expect. I did end up with a 1mm gap in the nose, that turned out to be no fault of the kit, but a result of the Yahu instrument panel. I am also having a tussle with mounting the engines in their cowlings. I have put them to one side for now until I figure it out. The underside is painted, when it's fully cured I can get on with the camo on the upper surface. Should be done over the weekend. NB: Handle the canopy with GREAT CARE, it's fragile and I snapped mine whilst giving it a gentle polish!
28. August 2020, 12:15
Andy Ball
@Andrea: I wrote my comment before looking through your commentary and photos. I'm on the cusp of going 48 from 72, and want to know how certain subjects I like would perform in the larger scale. The Italeri kit wasn't without its issues too, I see you've coped well with your challenges on the Trumpeter (I've just done their Tupolev and it has few fit issues....but accuracy, hmmmm!)
28. August 2020, 13:07

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