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Paul A H

Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 Late Italian Reconnaissance Fighter - 1:72 Fly

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Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 Late Italian Reconnaissance Fighter

1:72 Fly


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The Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 was a single-seat biplane designed for the Regia Aeronautica during the First World War. It was named after the designers of the aircraft and the founder of the Ansaldo company - the S.V.A. acronym being formed from the initials of Umberto Savoia, Rodolfo Verduzio and Giovanni Ansaldo. 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.

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 aircraft’s place in history was secured when it was used by the Italian poet and nationalist Gabriele D’Annunzio to drop propaganda leaflets over Vienna on 9 August 1918, a feat that involved a 1,200km round trip. The aircraft was used by the air forces of a number of different nations, including Poland, Latvia, the Soviet Union and a number of South American countries.

Fly’s Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 follows hot on the heels of their rather excellent Avia BH 22 kit, so my expectations are really rather high. Fly also released this kit in 1:48 scale some time ago, so it should be a subject about which they know a thing or two. Inside the robust, end-opening box are two sprues of caramel coloured plastic, a one-piece resin seat/cockpit, a vacuum formed windscreen and a sheet of decals. As with the Avia we reviewed last month, the quality of the injection moulded parts looks very good. There is little or no flash and fine details and features such as the fabric effect on wings have been captured very well.


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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.


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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 larger radiator as the smaller type used on the early 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.


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The decals look good, particularly the eagle motif for the second Italian Air Force aircraft, although it is completely different in design from that depicted on the back of the box! The following schemes are incuded:
• Ansaldo S.V.A. 5, Postwar Reconnaissance School, Italian Air Force;
• Ansaldo S.V.A. 5, Rome-Pisa-Genoa Airmail Transport, 1919; and
• Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 , Breda Flying School, 1925.
The fuselages of all three aircraft are varnished plywood, while the wings are either doped linen or mottled camouflage. The underside of the wings for the Italian Air Force versions are painted in the colours of il Tricolore, which adds a splash of colour.


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Conclusion
Whilst the Ansaldo S.V.A. 5 may not be the most elegant of Great War aircraft, this is an interesting kit nonetheless. It makes a nice change from the usual British or German types which seem to be relatively well served by kit manufacturers. If you have some experience of building biplanes, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble with this. Recommended.

Available in the UK from Hannants
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Review sample courtesy of
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