I.M.A.M.

The Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali of Naples started up in 1923. In 1934 the Societa Anonima Industrie Aeronautiche Romeo took over their aeronautical division and was re-named Industrie Meccaniche Aeronautiche Meridionali in 1936 and, at the same time, absorbed into the Breda group. The ‘Ro’ suffix was applied to all IMAM aircraft designations.

IMAM Ro.1. The first aircraft built by IMAM was a license built version of the Fokker CV. It was the workhorse of the Regia Aeronautica during the early years and was eventually replaced by the Ro.37. ItalianKits produced a 1/72 resin model of this aircraft, with nice decals and a mixture of white metal parts (of varying quality) and photo etch. They have also had a 1/48 Ro.1 in the works for some time. LF Models released 2 identical kits in 1/72, based on their Fokker CV kit. I believe this is their first foray into injection moulded production. Unfortunately there are issues, such as absurdly thick trailing edges, crude detail and mismatched parts. The separately moulded front fuselage section is 1mm wider than the rest. A real shame as this interesting aircraft deserves a much better kit.

IMAM Ro.10. Another licensed built Fokker (F.VIIb/3m) that was used by the Ala Littoria airline. AZ Models nicely moulded 1/144th scale kit is definitely an interesting subject and Valom’s 1/72 F.VIIb/3m could be used as well.

IMAM Ro.37. A biplane observation aircraft that saw widespread use throughout WWII. Classic Airframe released a decent 1/48 kit of the Ro.37 even though the cockpit framing behind the pilots seat looks a bit off. The top image on the right shows this kit. Special Hobby have since re-issued this model. Has also appeared in 1/72 scale under three different brands: Airmodel, Aviation USK & Azur.

IMAM Ro.37bis. A radial engined version of the aircraft described above. 1/72 kits are available via Airmodel and Azur and, if you can find one, the 1/48 scale model from Classic Airframe although Special Hobby have since re-released it under their own label.

IMAM Ro.41. A neat compact biplane originally intended as a light weight fighter for which it was deemed unsuitable. It had more success as a trainer fhr the Regia Aeronautica, being easy to fly and highly aerobatic. It was a long lived too as it carried on in this role even after WWII had ended. Planet Models resin 1/72 kit is a little gem with fine trailing edges. Only a lack of good internal detail and a generic engine disappoints. Decals are for one aircraft, a camouflaged example from the Sienna flying school. See the second image on the right.

IMAM Ro.43. This is a floatplane version of the IMAM Ro.37bis, with a revised wing arrangement. Designed to be catapulted from the deck of Italy's principal Navy ships, nearly all were aluminium dope overall often with bold red recognition stripes on the upper surfaces of the wings. Available from Special Hobby in 1/48, the only one to go for in this scale. The interior has a fair amount of detail but purists might want to add even more. The central float support struts will definitely need to pinned to the fuselage though. Pavlas Ro.43, from their ‘Octopus’ range, was the best in 1/72. Both kits are a close match to the plans found in the Ali d'Italia guide book. The third image on the right is the Pavla model.

IMAM Ro.44. This is the single-seat fighter version of the Ro.43. Special Hobby produce a nicely done 1/48 kit to accompany their Ro.43 kit. It is an easier build as there is far less interior detail to work with! Pavla, from its nautical "Octopus" label, released an accurate limited-run injection kit in 1/72 scale. With care, both kits build into very nice models. Massimodels produced a 1/48th scale resin kit which was quite expensive and only in very limited numbers. Most parts are essentially the same as those found in a resin Ro.43 kit made by Lilium possibly? The fourth image on the right shows the Pavla kit.

IMAM Ro.51. A 1937 fighter prototype fitted with a FIAT A.74 radial engine and a fixed undercarriage. It had an usually small tailplane and proved to be a poor design. Converted to a floatplane plane but, again, did not see much further development. Omega Models have three 1/72 resin variants of this aircraft (fixed wheel, retractable undercarriage & floatplane).

IMAM Ro.57. This shared a similar fate to the Westland ‘Whirlwind’. A fine twin-engined fighter aircraft bogged down by lengthy development into a dive bomber. Special Hobby have released good injection moulded kits in both 1/72 and 1/48. One note of caution though... the prototype looked quite different so ignore Special Hobbys interpretation! CMR produced a 1/72 resin kit, as did Museum but are both OOP. The best reference source can be found in Aerofan #74. The fifth image on the right is the 1/72 Special Hobby kit. The one below is the Museum kit.

IMAM Ro.58. WIth just one prototype built this two seat heavy fighter design, powered by a pair of DB601 engines, had excellent flight charateristics but the Armistice halted further development. It was available from SEM Models as a 1/72 resin kit but production has been suspended. It was not a very accurate kit however.

IMAM Ro.63. A rare foray into STOL, this aircraft was built in too few numbers. One reason was the lack of suitable engines which delayed its entery into service. Those that did make it showed it was a very capable machine with good STOL performance. More information about this aircraft can be found in Aerofan #84. Sem Models produced a difficult to assemble 1/72 resin kit of this aircraft. See the image on the right, which was built for a SAMI review.