The Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali of Naples entered the aircraft industry in 1923 and obtained a license from Fokker to build the C.V and F.VII/3m in 1925. In 1934 the Societa Anonima Industrie Aeronautiche Romeo was set up to take over its aeronautical division and in 1936 it was re-named Industrie Meccaniche Aeronautiche Meridionali and absorbed into the Breda group. Ing. Giovanni Galasso was their chief designer. The ‘Ro’ suffix was applied to all IMAM aircraft in honour of its founder Nicola Romeo. Renamed Aerfer after the war and eventually merged with the Finmeccanica group.

IMAM Ro.1. The first aircraft built by IMAM was a license built version of the Fokker C.V. It was the workhorse of the Regia Aeronautica during the early years and had further use as a trainer in the run up to 1939. Now OOP, ItalianKits produced a 1/72 resin model of this aircraft with nice decals and a mixture of white metal parts and photo etch. LF Models released a range of Fokker C.V. kits in 1/72 which included a Ro.1 version.

IMAM Ro.10. Another licensed built Fokker (F.VIIb/3m) flown by Ala Littoria. It was powered by Alfa Romeo Lynx radials. AZ Models produced a nicely moulded 1/144th scale kit and Valom’s 1/72 F.VIIb/3m could make an easy conversion.

IMAM Ro.30. This was a variant of the IMAM Ro.1 with a heavily revised fuselage featuring an enclosed cockpit just ahead of the wing leading edge. It saw only limited use and was eventually replaced by the Ro.37. Croco Models released a 1/72 resin kit but its OOP.

IMAM Ro.37. First flown in 1933, this was IMAM Ro's first major design for the Regia Aeronautica. Powered by a Fiat A.30 V12 engine, it was a biplane reconnaissance aircraft that was well liked by its crew and saw widespread use in most theatres. Classic Airframe released a decent 1/48 kit of the Ro.37 which Special Hobby have since re-issued with new detail parts. The 1/72 Aviation USK and Azur kits are discontinued but the Airmodel vacuform is still around.

IMAM Ro.37bis. A Piaggio Stella radial engined version of the aircraft described above. It was built in more numbers (332) and was the mainstay of the Regia Aeronautica. It soldiered on until 1943, mainly in the reconnaissance role. Special Hobby have re-released the 1/48 Classic Airframe kit and builds into a good looking model. In 1/72, only the Airmodel vacuform kit is available as the Azur kit is OOP.

IMAM Ro.41. A neat compact biplane was originally designed as a light fighter, a role for which it was deemed unsuitable due in most part for being underpowered. It had more success as a trainer, being easy to fly and highly aerobatic. Over 740 were built including a few post war and was not retired until as late as 1950. Planet Models resin 1/72 kit has some shape issues but can be resolved with a bit of modification. Kora produced a 1/72 injection moulded kit and comes in a series of 8 boxings that covers a wide range of schemes and types. It is a typical short run it, but can be made into a decent looking model.

IMAM Ro.43. This is a floatplane version of the IMAM Ro.37bis with a revised folding-wing arrangement. Designed to be catapulted from the deck of Italy's principal Navy ships nearly all were aluminium dope overall often with bold red recognition stripes on the upper surfaces of the wings. About 125 were built. They saw limited use during wartime as they were too fragile for rough sea handling. The Ilium 1/48 resin kit is OOP, so Special Hobby 1/48 kit is the only choice in this scale. The interior has a fair amount of detail but purists might want to add even more as it is highly visible. The 1/72 Pavla Ro.43, from their ‘Octopus’ range, was the best in that scale but it is OOP. Both kits are a close match to the plans found in the Ali d'Italia guide book.

IMAM Ro.44. This is the single-seat fighter version of the Ro.43. Only about 50 were built. The Special Hobby 1/48 kit is an easier build compared to their Ro.43 as there is far less interior detail to deal with. Pavla, under its nautical 'Octopus' label, released an accurate limited-run injection kit in 1/72 scale but it is OOP, as is the Massimodels limited run 1/48th scale resin kit. It was quite expensive and shared many parts with the Lilium 1/48 resin Ro.43 kit.

IMAM Ro.51. A 1937 fighter prototype fitted with a FIAT A.74 radial engine and a fixed undercarriage. It had an usually small tailplane and proved to be a poor design. A floatplane version was built but did not see further development. Omega Models have released three 1/72 resin kits (fixed wheel, retractable undercarriage & floatplane).

IMAM Ro.57. A fine twin-engined 1939 fighter design whose production was hampered by misguided development as a dive bomber. Italy struggled to develop such an aircraft and the Ro.57 was not suited for this role. Only about 50 to 60 were delivered by 1943 so saw very little action. The best reference source can be found in Aerofan #74. All known kits are now discontinued. This includes the 1/72 KPL vacuform, CMR & Musevm resin kits and Special Hobby's 1/72 & 1/48 injection-moulded kits.

IMAM Ro.58. Built in 1942, this two-seat heavy fighter prototype was derived from the Ro.57 with power supplied by a pair of DB.601 engines. During testing it was found to have excellent flight characteristics so a large order was placed but the Armistice halted any further development. Both the 1/72 KPL vacuform and 1/72 SEM Models resin kits are OOP.

IMAM Ro.63. Inspired no doubt by the Fi 156 Storch, a request was made to build an Italian STOL. The Ro.63 was selected but due to the lack of a suitable engine only 6 were built. It was said to be a very capable machine with good STOL performance and range. More information about this aircraft can be found in Aerofan #84. All known Ro.63 kits are OOP. These being the Dujin, Italian Wings & SEM Models 1/72 resin models.

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Ro.57 prototype




Model images are links to a build article