Italy first won their Schneider Trophy in 1919 but were subsequently disqualified. They were uncontested in the 1920 and 1921 races, so they could have won the trophy outright had it not been for the 1919 debacle! Throughout the subsequent race series, the Italians proved worthy competitors despite suffering both unreliability and insufficient development time. Their only other victory was in 1926 with the M.39 flown by Mario de Bernardi. After failing to a attend a race in time, the mighty MC.72, with its contra-rotating props, went on to establish the World Speed Record for floatplanes that still stands to this day, reaching 440.68 mph in 1934. Happily, some Schneider machines have been preserved for prosperity at the air museum in Vigna di Valle near Rome, including the impressive MC.72.
Fiat C.29. Three C.29s were built for the 1929 race. The first two were lost in accidents, in which the same pilot survived both times. The third machine did not enter the race but it is preserved at the air museum in Vigna di Valle near Rome. This aircraft was only ever available as a 1/48 resin kit by NOIX Models.
Macchi M.33. This aircraft was to be the last flying boat to compete for the trophy. They were powered by second-hand Curtiss engines and entered the 1925 race without success, finishing in third place with a speed of 168mph compared to Jimmy Doolittles winning speed of 233mph. Brach Models produced a nicely detailed 1/32 resin kit, but it is discontinued. NOIX Models high quality 1/48 resin has been discontinued.
Macchi M.39. This is the first Macchi floatplane ing. Mario Castoldi designed for the Schneider Trophy race series. It featured unequal length wings to enable tighter turns and unequal float buoyancy to counter propellor torque. Five machines were built, two trainers and three racers, and were powered by FIAT AS.2 engines. Mario di Bernardi won the 1926 race, held at Hampton Roads USA, with a top speed of 246mph. An M.39 is preserved at the air museum in Vigna di Valle. NOIX Models had this kit in their 1/48 'Men and Machine' series but it has been discontinued for some time, as is the 1/72 Museum resin kit. Only the Aerotech 1/32 resin kit is current.
Macchi M.52. Following on from the success of his M.39 design, the M.52 was a smaller version with a more powerful FIAT AS.3 engine. Three were built and were entered into the 1927 race, which was held in Venice. All failed to finish, but the 1926 winner di Bernardi did establish a new record of 297.8 mph later that year. NOIX Models had this kit in their 1/48 'Men and Machine' series but it is discontinued, as is the Vintage Models 1/72 resin kit. Only the rather pricey Aerotech 1/32 resin kit is current.
Macchi M.52R. Maj. de Bernardi flew this one-off machine, a modified M.52, to another record in 1928 reaching a top speed of 318mph (512.776kph), making him the first pilot to exceed 500 kph. It was flown in the 1929 race by Dal Molin, gaining 2nd place with a top speed of 284.203mph. NOIX Models had this kit in their 1/48 'Men and Machine' series but it is discontinued, as is the Vintage Models 1/72 resin kit.
Macchi M.67. Another seaplane that Castoldi based on the proven M.39 design but with modifications made to the fuselage to enable the more powerful Isotta Fraschini Asso 1000 engine to be installed. Three M.67's were built for the 1929 race but one was lost during testing on Lake Garda, killing its pilot capt. Motta. The two remaining M.67's were accompanied by the sole M.52R to compete at Calshot Spit in the UK. Both M.67's failed to finish but the M.52R managed to gain second place. A single M.67 is preserved at the air museum in Vigna di Valle near Rome. NOIX Models had this kit in their 1/48 'Men and Machine' series but it has been discontinued. Although will be an expensive model, Marsh Models plan to release a 1/32 resin kit as part of their Aerotech Schneider Trophy series.
Macchi MC.72. 5 of these mighty machines were built, powered by a pair of supercharged FIAT AS.6 fitted end to end to make a V24-cylinder unit that developed between 2,500 and 3,100 hp. They were built for the 1931 race but were not completed in time. Over the next few years two pilots were to lose their lives in record attempts (Monti and Bellini) but in 1934, Agello achieved a top speed of 440.7 mph (709.2 km/h), a record that still stands. One surviving machine is currently preserved at the air museum in Vigna di Valle near Rome. Numerous MC.72 models have been released over the years. Essdale, Aerotech and Brach Models all released 1/32 resin kits but have all been discontinued. Click on the model image to see more about the Brach kit. Both Vintage Models and NOIX Models released good quality 1/48 resin kits but they are discontinued as well. The 1/72 Delta2 and 1/48 SMER kit are not worth a look, but the two SBS Models 1/72 resin kits definitely are! Mikro Mir, under their AMP label, are preparing all new 1/72 & 1/48 injection moulded kits and these should prove popular.
Piaggio P.7. This extraordinary 1929 Schneider Trophy design was ahead of its time. It explored the hydrofoil concept to save weight and therefore gain extra speed which was predicted to be anywhere up to 700 km/h. It had a watertight fuselage with the wings acting additionally as floats. Powered by an Isotta Fraschini engine, it had two driveshafts with a small motorboat screw at the rear of the fuselage to power the aircraft out of the water before the main airscrew was engaged. Its pilot Dal Molin encountered both clutch and spray issues when testing the machine on Lake Garda and the project was quickly abandoned without having ever getting airborne. Italiankits released a 1/48 resin kit, which was previously available from NOIX Models. Marsh Models produced a nicely cast 1/32 resin kit in its Aerotech range but only in very limited numbers. AMP's 1/48 injection moulded kit scales has finely moulded parts, including extremely thin trailing edges but it scales out at 1/50. Click on the kit image to see more about this kit. They plan to release a 1/72 kit but SBS Models have just released an exquisitely cast 1/72 resin kit. The only previous kit known in this scale was the Vintage Models kit but that had been discontinued for a while now.
Savoia S.21. Built for the 1921 race, this flying boat biplane design had a shorter upper span wing and was powered by an Ansaldo San Giorgio 4E-14 engine, driving a 4 bladed pusher propellor. It proved to be a difficult aircraft to fly, with only the pilot Guido Jannello being able to control it. Unfortunately he fell ill before the race so it was withdrawn. Fine Models produced both 1/72 and 1/48th scale injection moulded kits of the aircraft that starred in Miyazaki’s 'Porco Rosso' anime. Although named 'Savoia S.21' it looks more like a hybrid of the Macchi M.33. The quality of the model cannot be faulted though and it has a terrific level of detail. They released 2 versions in each scale to cover the upgrades made to the aircraft during the movie. HpH Models are rumoured to be releasing a 1/32 kit of the Porco Rosso machine. There are no known kits of the real S.21.
Savoia S.65. This one-off prototype was another machine built for the 1929 race. It had a tandem engine layout with the cockpit nestled in between. Only Dal Molin was small enough to fit in it. The stabiliser was supported by twin booms, with a single rudder in the middle. It did not compete in the race due to mechanical problems. Tragically, dal Molin was killed in this aircraft during a speed attempt on Lake Garda in 1930. Karaya released a resin 1/72 resin kit of this extraordinary looking aircraft but the fuselage requires a lot of modifications. The fragile resin struts should also be replaced with stronger brass strut material. Marsh Models have released a very limited run (and very expensive) 1/32 scale resin kit as part of their ongoing 'Schneider Trophy' series.
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