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Italeri 1/72 scale SM. 79 Sparviero

Kit: No. 1225
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Italeri, imported by Testor, 440 Blackhawk Park Ave., Rockford, IL 61104-5158, 815-962-6654,
Price: $21
Comments: Injection-molded, 120 parts, decals
Pros: Cleanly molded, good fit, good decals, separate control surfaces
Cons: Torpedo bomber version only

Wow! A new 1/72 scale SM. 79 kit! Airfix has had the only game in town since 1967, but Italeri recently produced a neatly molded kit in flash-free neutral gray and clear plastic. It features an open dorsal gun position, bomb-bay detail, a separate crew access door, a detailed flight deck, a full set of gun armament, and a torpedo.

Italeri's SM. 79 is configured as a torpedo bomber only ("Aerosilurante") in this kit. Perhaps later editions will have bombs and other alternate parts.

I started construction with the cockpit and flight deck. Detail parts are given for the main interior structures: floors, bulkheads, control columns, the instrument panel, and seats. The insides of the fuselage halves have basic details molded in for the complex internal bracing.

The lower fuselage windows were installed neatly and precisely from the insides, which means they had to be masked on the outside before the fuselage was painted. The dorsal gunner's scanning windows are installed from the outside but don't fit tightly.

The aft section of the dorsal "hump" is molded only in its open position. The piece that represents the collapsed fairing (No. 32A) is tricky to fit if you install it after closing the fuselage halves. The ventral gun position can be posed in either the open or closed configuration.

Separate bomb-bay doors are provided along with a separate part for the upper fuselage access hatch. The crew door comes with a multi-piece access ladder as well.

The wing has a full-span bottom, establishing the correct dihedral. The upper surfaces and separate ailerons fit without trouble. The fit of the wing to the fuselage was good but required several dry runs and a little sanding to achieve joints without gaps. I put a little filler in the gaps where the engine mounts met the wing. The landing-gear bays are boxed in, and the fit of the multi-piece landing gear is positive and solid. Italeri has also molded the rudder and elevators as separate parts.

The kit features the type of engine exhaust pipes used on the torpedo-bomber. There were several exhaust setups, so consult references if you attempt a conversion. The pipes are installed after the cowls are attached and painted, so it will be easy to make substitutions or modifications.

I painted my model with Polly Scale Italian air force colors. Italeri provides Cartograf decal markings for four aircraft. They went down with no problems.

My primary reference was Ali D'Italia No. 11, SIAI S.79 Part 2. The finished model matches the plans and photos in that book.

I completed my SM. 79 in 19 hours. It was fun to build, and I'm happy to finally have an up-to-date 1/72 scale kit of this famous Italian aircraft.

- Jim Zeske


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