Schneider Trophy

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. Although not as successful as they had hoped, 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 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, and the third machine did not enter the race. It is preserved at the air museum in Vigna di Valle near Rome. This aircraft was available as a 1/48 resin kit by NOIX Models.

Macchi M.33. This clean design 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 did a nicely detailed 1/32 resin kit, but it is OOP. NOIX Models did a high quality 1/48 resin kit as well but it too is OOP.

Macchi M.39. This is the first floatplane ing. Mario Castoldi designed for Macchi, featuring 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 OOP for a while now, 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 smaller and had 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's been OOP, 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 to do so. It was also flown in the 1929 race by Dal Molin, finishing in 2nd place with a top speed of 284.203mph. NOIX Models had this kit in their 1/48 Men and Machine series but it has been OOP for a while, as is the Vintage Models 1/72 resin kit.

Macchi M.67. Castoldi based this aircraft on the M.39, with modifications carried out to the fuselage to enable the more powerful Isotta Fraschini Asso 1000 engine to be installed. To guarantee reliability, 27 engines were supplied! 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 came second. An 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 OOP for a while now. Although will be an expensive model, Marsh Models plan to release a 1/32 resin kit from 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 Belllini) 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 were released over the years. Both Essdale, Aerotech and Brach Models released 1/32 resin kits but they have been OOP for a while. Both Vintage Models and NOIX Models released good quality 1/48 resin kits but they have been OOP for a while too. The 1/72 Delta2 and 1/48 SMER kit are not worth a look, but the current 1/72 SBS Models resin kits definitely are! Mikro Mir, under their AMP label, are preparing all new 1/72 & 1/48 injection moulded kits.

Piaggio P.7. This extraordinary 1929 Schneider Trophy design was ahead of its time. It explored the hydrofoil concept to help save weight and gain extra speed, predicted to be anywhere up to 700 km/h. It had a watertight fuselage with the wings acting as floats. Powered by an Isotta Fraschini engine, it had two driveshafts. A small motorboat type screw towards the tail was to power the aircraft out of the water before the main airscrew was engaged. The Schneider pilot Dal Molin encountered both clutch and spray issues when testing the machine on Lake Garda and the project was abandoned, having never actually flown. Italiankits released a 1/48 resin kit which was previously available from NOIX Models. Marsh Models produced a very well cast 1/32 resin kit in its Aerotech range but in very limited numbers. AMP's 1/48 injection moulded kit actually scales out at 1/50 but has finely moulded parts, including extremely thin trailing edges. It does have quite crude mould lines though, so some time will need to be spent cleaning and prearing parts before construction can begin. The kits seat part is far too small being nearer to 1/72 scale! SBS Models have just released a nice looking 1/72 resin kit. The only previous kit known in this scale was the Vintage Models kit but that had been OOP 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 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 cross between it and 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 as well so, in effect, there are no known kits of the real S.21 at all!

Savoia S.65. This one-off prototype was another machine built for the 1929 race. It had a tandem engine layout with the tiny cockpit nestled in between. The stabiliser was supported by twin booms, with a single rudder in the middle. It did not compete in the 1929 race due to mechanical problems. The pilot dal Molin was killed in this aircraft during a speed attempt on Lake Garda in 1930. Karaya released resin 1/72 resin kit of this extraordinary looking aircraft and Marsh Models have released a 1/32 scale resin kit as part of their ongoing Schneider Trophy aircraft series.

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