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. The ‘Ro’ suffix, in honour of its founder Nicola Romeo, was applied to all IMAM aircraft, with ing. Giovanni Galasso as their chief designer. Post war it was renamed Aerfer and 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 saw further use as a trainer in the run up to 1939. ItalianKits produced a 1/72 resin model of this aircraft, with nice decals and a mixture of white metal parts of varying quality and photo etch. They also had a 1/48 Ro.1 in the works for some time now. LF Models released 2 identical kits in 1/72, based on their Fokker CV kit but it is not a very well produced kit. A real shame as this interesting aircraft deserves a much better kit.

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

IMAM Ro.30. This was a much modified IMAM Ro.1, sharing the same wing platform but 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 it is discontinued.

IMAM Ro.37. First flown in 1933, this was IMAMs first major design for the Regia Aeronautica, a biplane reconnaissance aircraft that was well liked by its crew and saw widespread use in most theatres. By 1940, out of the 237 built, only 100 aircraft were still serviceable. 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 recently re-released the 1/48 Classic Airframe kit which had been discontinued. In 1/72, only the Airmodel vacuform kit is available. The Azur kit is discontinued.

IMAM Ro.41. A neat compact biplane, this 1935 design was originally intended to be used 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. It was not retired until 1950. Only the rather pricey Planet Models resin 1/72 kit is available and it is a fine little model. Only a lack of good internal detail and a generic engine disappoints. Decals are for one aircraft, a camouflaged example from the Sienna flying school as seen in the image on the right.

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 but saw limited use during wartime as they were too fragile for rough sea handling. The Special Hobby 1/48 kit is the only one to go for in this scale. The interior has a fair amount of detail but purists might want to add even more. The central float support struts will need to pinned to the fuselage. The 1/72 Pavla Ro.43, from their ‘Octopus’ range, was the best in that scale but it is discontinued. 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 work with. Pavla, under its nautical 'Octopus' label, released an accurate limited-run injection kit in 1/72 scale but its discontinued, as is the Massimodels limited run 1/48th scale resin kit which was quite expensive and shares 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 aircraft design. A floatplane version was built but, again, did not see further development. Omega Models have released three 1/72 resin kits (fixed wheel, retractable undercarriage & floatplane).

IMAM Ro.57. This was a fine twin-engined 1939 fighter design, whose production was severely delayed for conversion into a dive bomber. Italy  struggled to develop an aircraft suitable for this role and as a result about 50-60 were delivered by 1943. The best reference source can be found in Aerofan #74. All kits are now discontinued: 1/72 KPL vacuform, CMR & Musevm resin kits and Special Hobby 1/72 & 1/48 injection moulded kits.

IMAM Ro.58.  Built in 1942, this two seat heavy fighter prototype design was evolved from the Ro.57 with power supplied by a pair of DB601 engines. During testing it was found to have excellent flight characteristics so a large order was placed but the Armistice however halted any further development. Both the 1/72 KPL vacuform and 1/72 SEM Models resin kits are discontinued.

IMAM Ro.63. Having been inspired 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 suitable engines, only 6 aircraft were built. It was a very capable machine with good STOL performance and range. More information about this aircraft can be found in Aerofan #84. The SEM Models 1/72 resin kit is now discontinued but Italiankits plan to release a 1/72 resin kit in the future.

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Ro.57 prototype




Model images are links to a build article