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Creating a Savoia-Marchetti S. 73

n by Björn Bäcklund

Last year I had been building some pre-war airliner models to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Bromma Airport. One plane I decided to build was a Savoia-Marchetti S.73. I wanted to build this particular plane because I have a soft spot for trimotors and also because a Belgian Sabena S.73 attended the opening of Bromma Airport in 1936.

My tiny problem was that there weren't any injection moulded kits of this aircraft. However,  the bomber Savoia-Marchetti SM. 81 was a military development of the S. 73 with generally similar airframe but many different features. A 1/72 kit of the latter aircraft is available from Supermodel and has been acquired for the project. There used to be a conversion set to do exactly the kind of conversion I was approaching, but was long out of production. Since I'm not very fond of resin this was no big deal.

The operations involved to convert a bomb plane to a airliner was in short:

Not much to it really! The main job was done with plasticard and filler.

To produce rows of windows along the passenger cabin, I decided to open up a large piece of the fuselage rather than trying to form and fill every single window. I was afraid that the filler would break when cutting out the new windows. I filled all the opening with plastic card and blended it into the fuselage sides using an automotive acrylic filler that I bought at a gas station. It reminds me a lot of the Tamiya putty but it dries fast and doesn’t shrink so I like it when I have to do large areas to putty.

With this job done I traced the windows and drilled a small hole in each corner before I cut out the windows with an ordinary hobby knife with a new sharp blade.

Lengths of thin plastic rod were added to the sides of the fuselage to simulate the steel tube/fabric frame. While still in the detailing mood,  I added ribs to the tail as well.

The Sabena Finish

I picked a shade of tan that pleased me from the Gunze Sangyo acrylic colours and added homemade decals.

Now I have a model of the plane that was here on the opening day of the Airport. The model might not be 100% accurate but at least it looks like a Savoia S. 73 at a quick glance and that is good enough for me. I build models for fun and sometimes I can let big issues pass and some times I have to get small details right.

This model served as a warm-up for the series of Junkers Ju 52's I'm converting to Swedish airliners right now.



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