Founded in 1923, the Cantieri Navali di Monfalcone was reformed in 1931 and renamed Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico. Ing. Zappata was its chief designer. The 500 series were all water based aircraft and the 1000 series were land based. One notable feature of the aircraft was their all wood construction because of the shipbuilding origins of the company.
CANT Z.501 Gabbiano. This was the first of the 500 series, being a large single-engined reconnaissance aircraft. First built in 1934, it had a very long range but was slow and vulnerable. Despite that, it served throughout WWII. The 1/72 Italeri kit is a popular model although the Ali d’Italia guidebook does show up various errors to its shape, such as the ailerons, canopy and engine cowling. White Ensign Models produced a very comprehensive etch set for this model and has many structural parts for detailing the rather sparse interior.
CANT Z.504. A 1935 design, this single engined two-seat biplane was pretty much a 'mini-me' version of the Z.501. It had a shortlived career as it was not accepted by the Regia Marina. Choroszy Modelbud produced a decent 1/72 resin kit of this aircraft.
CANT Z.506B Airone. First built in 1935, this was Zappatas most successful seaplane design. Originally used in the commercial role by the Ala Littoria airline, it was redesigned as a bomber and proved to be very popular with its pilots. It had very stable handling in rough seas and was used in a variety of roles including search & rescue, hospital & ambulance duties and for reconnaissance. The elderly and rather basic 1/72 Supermodel kit has since been upgraded by Italeri with improved internal & external details and an enlarged decal sheet. Broplan also produced a vac-form conversion set to enable the modeller to build the original Z.506C commercial airliner. The 1/48 Alphaflight resin kit is a challenging build, should you be lucky enough to track one down, but is well worth the effort.
CANT Z.1007 Alcione. Perhaps the most successful of all Zappata designs. Broplans 1/72 vac-form kit of the early version is generally more accurate than the Supermodel kit of the two bis variants (monoderiva & bideriva) which had shape errors to the forward section of fuselage and canopy as well as oversized engine cowls all of which are impossible to correct. The three 1/48 Alphaflight resin kits, commissioned by Pacific Coast Models, are very accurate by comparison but are not that easy to construct. They are all now OOP. The top image shows the Broplan kit, followed by the Supermodel and Alphaflight kits.
CANT Z.1018 Leone. An elegant twin-engined bomber that, because of its rather protracted development programme, entered Regia Aeronautica service too late to have any impact. Its performance was said to be equal if not better than most equivalent Allied or Axis aircraft. Legato produced a passable 1/72 resin kit but has been OOP for some time now. See the last image on the right.