by: HG Barnes [ ]
Originally published on:
The past has come to life.
I've built literally hundreds of WWII airplanes, yet have always had a soft-spot for any on floats. Recently I discovered a local person who buys-up stashes from estate sales and offers them at a very reasonable price. When this one came into view, well my eyes just lit up! I recalled a time, many decades ago, when I really wanted one, but never got around to buying it. But enough of my "blah, blah, blah" waxing about the past and let us have a look inside the box.
The C.R.D.A CANT 506 made its first flight in 1935 as the 506A. From this the 506B military version was derived. The main external differences were the long belly fairing, a raised cockpit, and a machine gun armed dorsal turret. In various versions The CANT 506 set many world records including 11 speed records with payload, 3 closed-circuit distance, and 2 altitude with payload records.
The aircraft was first war tested during the 1936-39 conflict in Spain where it was used primarily for reconnaissance and search and rescue missions. When WWII broke out it was used again as a sea reconnaissance plane, but also as a sea bomber for several Italian squadrons. In the war against Greece it was especially effective during the invasion of Corinthus Canal and the three key islands in that area.
The "Aeromedical" version 506S were used by the Luftwaffe with German markings.
In post-war years the "AIRONE's" were used by the Italian Air Force until 1960 with all its armaments removed and fitted with berths for wounded and sick persons.
Inside of SUPERMODEL Squadron Product's kit you'll find 3 sprue trees of medium grey plastic, one clear with a "beaching trolley", a large orange decal sheet, and a humble instruction guide. Included are all the parts for you to build 3 different variants which match up to those displayed on the bottom of the box.
The parts have very few raised and recessed panel lines so you'll have to get out your riveting tool and be prepared to scribe some lines as well. None of the parts are numbered, but this shouldn't pose an issue since their total is pretty anorexic.
I found the plastic a little brittle and even my GodHand side-cutters had a chore to stay clear of the parts. Just go very slow and be careful in separating them. Typical for model kits from the early 80's, the details are a little soft and ALL the test fitting I did was indicating some work was needed. Slight ejection marks were on every edge, yet surprisingly there was very little flash and burring. The Clear parts will definitely have to be polished (if this will work even), but to be honest I think this a lost cause. However, the canopy can be posed open to show off the nicely molded figures and the few controls plus the potential for some scratch building. This can also be said for the bomb-bay and engine cowlings. The floats have slight panel lines, but enough for you to go-on with your riveter. Be prepared to test fit the fuselage halves with tape as I found the bomb-bay and instrument panel needed close inspection. I suspect one thing that will come in handy for lining things up is the "beaching trolley" which, honestly, looks like a stand. I had to chuckle because the description on the box quotes "Beach trolley complete with all details." Trust me... it's a stand.
We're all modelers who know every kit has it's challenges and rewards. This kit is a splendid example of where a decent amount of effort turns into a very cool looking seaplane bomber. And one, I feel, that will look terrific on the shelf as a badge of honor for sticking it out. After all, how many three engine armed float planes with Italian markings do you see every day?