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  1. A model from 5 years ago that I had the chance to recently photograph again. When Supermodel released the 1/72 CRDA Cant. Z506B Airone in 1986 little perhaps they knew that in 2012 (36 years after) it will still be around thanks to the re-release by Italeri. I bought the model during a modeling outing with one of my sons with the intention, as usual, of giving it a life in a more pleasant role, as a civil record aircraft. I was hesitant to convert the kit to the “C” (civil) series, which involved a number of challenges, a new fuselage to start with. So I was very happy to say the least when I found among my references that a “B” series machine (same as the kit) was taken off the production line at an early stage and converted to a long distance record machine with the I-LAMA registration. It flew from Cadiz, Spain to Caravelas, Brazil, establishing a record, but unfortunately when attempting to reach Africa in the return flight it crashed and only one crew member, Stoppani, survived and was eventually rescued. Some modifications are necessary in order to represent such machine. The most obvious being the elimination of all military parts, the removal of windows on the fuselage sides and the deletion of the glazing on the front and back of the gondola under the fuselage, plus new decals of course. Given the time the molds were created the Supermodel kit is not bad, but it surely benefits from some attention. Some surface details can be erased and redone, the interior improved and there is even an aftermarket photoetched set by RCR Models available if you wish to use it. The photoetched parts are good and extensive, although not all of them can be used for this specific modification. Its instructions are comprehensive and have a detailed parts’ map, but leave a lot of areas totally unclear. Folding diagrams are present, and detailed list of names and –in the real plane- uses for the parts, but not group assemblies; the photos are of bad quality. Although one complete seat supporting structure assembly is present, the other one is missing the pedals and its associated supports. No instrument panel photofilm is included, so I scanned the etched parts, pasted some instrument images on the corresponding places, made decals of them and placed the etched parts on top of the decals. Strange mix of good parts and disappointing instructions. Nevertheless, the set is useful and will do well in an otherwise crude kit interior. Just be prepared for a lot of head-scratching. I think that with the re-release of this kit by Italeri, RCR could at least include in future sets the missing parts and better images. I found only one color profile on the Net, with a few discrepancies with the few photos I got. Bear in mind that at least three liveries can be seen in photos, one has the tricolore on the rudder and not fuselage lines, other has no tricolore and has the fuselage lines, and the third has no tricolore and no lines, but only the registrations and the “I” on the rudder. None have the aft fuselage little round windows present in the kit. At the time the Z506 was built (as a civil plane prototype originally) it was a remarkable aircraft that conquered a notorious number of records. Its lines are not what you will call racy, but its clunkiness is of course what made me chose it. For those with a steady hand and strong heart, there is always the possibility of making a new fuselage and model the plethora of machines of the “C” series or the only land version which used the landing gear of the SIAI S81. They wore splendorous liveries. Fellow modeler Alex Bigey created a beauty (using partially a Broplan kit of the Z506C). You can not simply practice “surgery” on the kit’s fuselage to obtain the “C” version, since in the “C” the fuselage was wider –not to mention different viewed from the side too-. As soon as work started on the kit its understandable lack of detail became apparent, and a few refinements were practiced. There are ejector pin marks, some blobs here and there, ragged edges, not happily located sprue attachments and so forth. In my cleaning zealous I mistakenly erased some excrescences from the engine gondolas thinking that they were excess plastic when in fact they resulted to be locators for the engines and cowls; nothing terrible, though. The fuselage shells, following references, were given internal structure in the form of stringers, formers, seats, shelves and the like. The above-mentioned photoetched set completed the interior, although part of it is hardly visible once the model is finished. The kit compasses were replaced by scratch-made ones from clear rod. The glazing on the lower front fuselage has two options in the kit, for this plane you must use the “curved” one, which has to be smoothed out and painted with rest of the fuselage. The aft lower transparency comes faceted, so you have to scratch there a curved part as replacement or glue to the existing transparency some styrene or apply putty and round it out since in the 1/1 plane again this was curved metal fairing. I grouped the sub-assemblies as follows: the fuselage with wings and tail, the floats and associated struts and the cowls and associated parts. This facilitates the messy procedures of filing, puttying, sanding, scribing, priming, etc. and leads to a better handling during painting and decaling. The struts that connect the floats to the wing were adjusted and given metal pins. Gloss black enamel was airbrushed on everything and then different types of metal paint. A die was created to punch out inspection hatches from metal-sprayed decal stock. Application of Future followed to protect the metal finish and to provide a gloss surface for the home-made decals. The diagonal struts braces that connect the floats to the fuselage did not quite match the actual length of the gap, so new ones were measured and cut from Contrail styrene airfoiled stock. The clear display stand that comes with the kit was used to help position the parts and check their alignment, a clever addition to the kit. Miscellaneous detail was added (control cables, antenna loop, etc) and the model was finished. Many kits that sit around or are easily found can be converted to represent these remarkable civil planes without too much effort, giving the shelves and club/contest tables a necessary breath of fresh air. Thanks go to Fabrizio D’Isanto for his always enlightening help. Bibliography: AeroFan 1978-02 Ali d'Italia 5 - C.R.D.A. Cant Z506 Dimensione Cielo 5 - Bombardieri 2 The Pasta Should be Al Dente, by Giovanni Schubertini, Pugettoni Editore, 2011
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