fortunate be able to find a good livery for a plane that you like but don’t
want to model as it is conventionally represented.
The Cant Z.501 is one of such planes, in the form of the
record-braking prototype, I-AGIL. "Cant" stands for Cantieri Rinuiti
dell’ Adriatico, "Z" stands for Zappata, its designer, “500
series” because it was a seaplane, opposite to the “1000 series” which
were land planes.
With help from Fabrizio D’Isanto (a very knowledgeable fellow
enthusiast) I was able to round-up some missing data and be able to begin the
Paolo Miana, the author of a book on the Savoia S.64 I reviewed in
To get the Italeri Cant Z.501 old kit wasn’t as easy as I thought
it would be; the few I found were running for pretty stiff prices. Finally
fellow modeler Christos P. from Alabama, helped me to get a kit at a fair
price. My thanks go to all these friends.
images below to see larger images
powered by an Isotta Fraschini ASSO 750 with an almost circular radiator
front. It established two straight distance non-stop records, once flying
from Monfalcone to Massawa and later from Monfalcone to Berbera. Some
differences in appearance can be spotted along its life in the available
photos. The Italeri kit would need some adaptations; the most conspicuous
differences being the canopy and front engine areas. The fore and aft
openings on the hull and engine gondola were apparently faired over for
the first record flight but the aft fuselage position can be seen open and
with a windscreen for the second flight.
Italeri’s model has fine raised panel lines, few of
them because the plane was made of wood. They were sanded and replaced by
engraved lines. The “fabric” detail in the control surfaces definitely
needs to be toned down. The general feeling, being this a very old mold,
is on the slightly chunky side, but is a nice base upon which the modeler
can exercise some...well....modeling.
Some struts were supplemented or replaced by Contrail
and Strutz streamlined stock. The front of the engine gondola was replaced
by scratched parts. The record version had a different instrument panel
and control wheel arrangement which I made and substituted for the kit
parts. Regarding the canopy, Italeri offers a transparency that bridges a
large gap of the fuselage and gives support to some of the wing struts. I-AGIL
had two side-by-side independent canopies. That area therefore was
re-constructed with styrene sheet and a master was created to vacuform the
separate canopies. The interior was kept simple since almost nothing can
be seen –as it is often the case- through the exiguous canopy openings.
Parts 50/51 are depicted in the instructions without a pair of knobs that
are supposedly used to hold parts 52/53. The latter will only mess the
assembly, since they are bigger than they should and will open the
struts’ angle too much, preventing them to rest in their marked position
on the fuselage. Radio masts should go, not needed for I-AGIL.
are not a good fit, so be warned. Struts 38 and 39 need their
“handles” removed, but there was a probe on the original on the left
side strut (as the pilot seats). There was a navigation light at the tip
of the fin. The ailerons in the kit have a line that divides them in two
surfaces. Those dividing lines were filled and control horns were glued
there and to the rudder. A wind-driven generator was fashioned and glued
to the fuselage spine. Painting ensued and the subassemblies were kept
separate to facilitate this stage and later decaling.
the main components were ready the wing struts were glued to the fuselage.
Beware that those struts are sided, and that there is one (slightly shorter)
that goes forward. Floats were then added to provide rigidity and the right
geometry. After decaling the vertical stabilizer the horizontal stabilizer
halves were glued, and then their supports. I opted to glue real short tubes to
the upper exhaust rows and to drill the ones one the sides of the engine
gondola. Parts (2) 32 are diagonal strut cross members -kind of hidden in the
instructions- and they are absent in most of the models I have seen.
The wing was then glued to the fuselage and struts, and I
have to say that it was a good fit.
Minor details, about thirty lengths of rigging wire and decals were added and
the record-braking plane was ready to cruise on the skies.
With a little work you can convert your
“all-look-the-same-to-me” model into something different and more
Give it a try.
images below to see larger images