This article was originally written for the stormomagazine website.
The Ambrosini S.A.I. 207 was developed in the last dramatic phases of the war. It was a light interceptor built entirely of wood and was an extremely good aeroplane for the engine power it had. The S.A.I. Ambrosini 207 was based on the 107, which in turn was developed from the S7 light weight tourer and was powered by a Isotta Fraschini Delta RC40 engine fitted with two synchronised Breda Safat 12.7mm machine gun's. First flown in October 1940, this small light-weight all-wood aircraft was fast and even reached 560mph in a dive, proving that it's designer, ing. Stefanutti, had crafted a carefully worked out, clean and aerodynamic aircraft. However, with its increased weight compared to the 107, the loading on its 5-spar wing led to various handling problems. This and its restricted armament, lead to the decision to halt further development in favour of the bigger and better armed 403... but that's another story. Only 12 pre-production 207's were built and were constantly plagued by problems associated with its all wood construction. Although a few (6) did get put into service, they were always being sent returned for essential repairs and were actually awaiting further repairs at the time of the Armistice. It is assumed that they ever saw action.
This is LF Models first ever 1/48 resin kit and is the only 207 ever produced in this scale. A clue to the standard of the kit is the box illustration, which depicts a 207 with a P-40. With more research, they would have known that this would have have been rather unlikely! It includes a photo-etch sheet, white metal undercarriage and propellor parts, a small decal sheet and vacform canopy. The engraved panel lines for the control surfaces are indistinct, the cockpit and wheel wells are poorly defined, but the most disappointing aspect of this kit are the fuselage halves themselves. Although in profile it appears to be quite accurate, apart from the shape of the fin, its cross section is certainly not. To correct this involved a fair amount of work. First off, I removed the sidewall detail in the cockpit, removed some resin from the inside of the nose area, added some Milliput on the inside around the cockpit rear view cutouts and even more around the base of the fin. After joining the two fuselage halves together, the base of the nose was widened by adding plasticard strips along the base of the sides, using Milliput to fair it all in. The radius of the wing fillets were increased with more Milliput, the cutouts behind the cockpit made larger & deeper. A waist was also sanded along the base of the fin into the rear fuselage to create a vestigial spine. A new rudder was made from scratch and the fin altered in shape. The dihedral of the wing was increased and the roof of the wheel well removed and the sides cleaned up. The cockpit detail was added before attaching the wing, which has had a new roof added to the wheel well. The panel lines for the control surfaces were scribed deeper to get better definition. The stabilisers were butt joined onto the fuselage and faired in with Milliput. More Milliput was used to fair the nose of the aircraft into the spinner and the shape of the large vent in the nose improved. The smaller vents and scoops on the top of the fuselage were added, after the top seam was filled and evened up. The canopy was binned and a replacement found. The nearest proved to be a spare CA RE.2000 canopy, the front windscreen trimmed to fit the fuselage contours. The tailwheel parts were modified, the main units cleaned up and installed.
The scheme is the late war VOS2 and GAC combination. All decals were sourced from spares, apart from the SAI Ambrosini lettering on the fin, the only one used from LF Models sheet.
In summary, a poor kit that with effort can be made to look 'almost' right. Although built without much in the way of three view drawings, the Aerofan articles contained enough good quality photos to help you along. It is also possible to convert LF's 207 into a 403 and involves not quite as much work!
Now on to the 403 project...
After several test flights, it was decided that the 207 was just too fragile to be a useable fighter. It was decided to halt further development and concentrate on a larger version that was to become the 403. Only 2 were built before the Armistice brought the whole programme to a juddering halt.
After making some attempt at correcting the LF Models 207, I thought I'd try converting another LF 207 into a 403. As it was a larger aircraft, it will have to be a reduced scale kit, somewhere around 1/50th. The fuselage side profile is more or less correct, only the nose contours and wing fillet detail needs modifying just like on the 207. The rear fuselage contours are more or less correct (for a change), with the tailfin reshaped and the tailwheel wheel opened up. The biggest changes are to the wings. The span needs to be extended, despite being in a reduced scale, new cannon fairings scratchbuilt and aileron actuator detail added. Once again, the canopy was salvaged from a Reggaine kit.
No Italian markings were applied to these aircraft, although the Luftwaffe hastily added a set of their own markings to at least one of them when they attempted to take over the project.