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Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 Early Italian Reconnaissance Fighter 1:72 Fly The Ansaldo S.V.A.(S.V.A. acronym being formed from the initials of Umberto Savoia, Rodolfo Verduzio and Giovanni Ansaldo) was a family of Italian biplanes of WWI. Despite being one of the fastest combat aircraft of the era, it was found to be unsuitable for its intended role as a fighter. It was therefore adapted for armed reconnaissance, a role in which it enjoyed considerable success. Production of this aircraft contiuned after WWI and the S.V.A 5 was the definitive production version. The aircraft was a conventionally laid-out unequal-span biplane, this features Warren Truss-style struts, and therefore having no transverse (spanwise) bracing wires (good for those who dont like rigging!). The fuselage was plywood-skinned and had the typical Ansaldo triangular rear cross-section behind the cockpit, this transitioning to a rectangular cross section going forwards through the rear cockpit area, with a full rectangular cross section forward of the cockpit. Powered by a 200hp six-cylinder, water-cooled engine, the S.V.A. 5 was capable of 140mph and could climb to almost 20,000 feet. The aircrafts place in history was secured when it was used by the Italian poet and nationalist Gabriele DAnnunzio to drop propaganda leaflets over Vienna on 9 August 1918, a feat that involved a 1,200km round trip. Even more impressive was the fact this was done with 11 aircraft. The aircraft was also a successful export, being used by no less than 12 air forces; Argentina, Boliva, Brasil, Ecuador, Italy, Latvia, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, the US and Yugoslavia. At least one of the Italian aircraft survies today in the Historical Museum at Vigna di Valle. The Kit On opening the box you are presented with one sprue containing all the plastic parts except the fuselage. This is provided as a separate small sprue. Also included is the resin cockpit, and a vac form canopy. The main sprue does contain some flash which is event on the smaller parts and the wheels. This will require some clean up, buts its only minor. The vac form canopy is a bit of a let down in this small scale. There seems to be one than one moulded here, and its not exactly clear which is to be used; also in this scale it is very indistinct with no spare being provided in case you mess up. Surely a small injected canopy would not be too expensive in this scale? Thanks to the clever use of a single-piece resin cockpit, construction of the interior is relatively straightforward. The cockpit is comprised of just three parts, including the aforementioned resin tub/seat, a control column and an instrument panel. The level of moulded detail is pretty good and some structural details are moulded on the inside of the fuselage halves. Raised details have been used to depict the instruments on the instrument panel. The seat is cast in cream coloured resin with harnesses sculpted in place. It looks very nice indeed and should look great once painted. Once the cockpit is finished, you can join the fuselage halves together. The instructions require you to add the stubby exhaust pipes at this point. These are presented as six individual pipes, which may be tricky to align properly. I think I would have preferred a set of pipes joined by a common rail at the back, seeing as they have to be fixed in place from the inside anyway, but with care and attention the versions provided should look ok. Be sure to use the smaller radiator as the larger type used on the later S.V.A. 5 is also provided. The wings have locating points for the struts, and the main struts themselves are provided as V-shaped parts. Correct alignment will still require a degree of patience, however. A series of excellent diagrams are provided to help you do this, and well as rig the whole thing once construction is complete. The rudder and elevators are provided as separate parts, but the control surfaces are moulded in place. Finishing touches such as the undercarriage and tail skid are all nicely reproduced. Decals Decals are provided for three Italian machines, all feature wooden unpainted fuselages with some nice side graphics. The decals look to be in register. They are printed by a company called BOAAGENCY who I have no knowledge of. Instructions The instructions for the kit are great in some respects. The construction steps are easy to follow and there is a decent rigging diagram for those unused to such things. However the instructions for overall painting are lacking. These are printed on the rear of the box and are not complete. You are shown the top of the upper wing, and the underside of the lower wing. It seems there are no instructions for the underside of the top wing, or the top of the lower wing. Conclusion It is nice to see something different than the normal WWI types being made, FLY have to be congratulated for this. If you have some experience of building biplanes, then you shouldnt have too much trouble with this. Recommended. For those who like the look of this aircraft then Fly also make the Late Version, and for the 1.48 scale modeller they are both available in that scale also.Available in the UK from Hannants Review sample courtesy of