DeAgostini DS009 Italian Cant Z.1007 Bis Alcione Medium Bomber (1:144 Scale)
"Neutrals never dominate events. They always sink. Blood alone moves the wheels of history."
- Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini
The Cant Z.1007 Alcione (Italian: "Kingfisher") was a three-engine medium bomber used by the Italian Regia Aeronautica, Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and Luftwaffe during World War II.
The Cant Z.1007 was developed from the Cant Z.506 seaplane, an aircraft that had established many world records in the late 1930s. In fact, it was a land-based version, but it had many improvements, especially the engines. Filippo Zapata, the father of many aerodynamically streamlined aircraft created a very potent aircraft with the Z.506. As a land-based bomber, it could have been better than the machines already in service, and therefore, a first series of 32 were ordered, and designated Z.1007 Asso, after its 830 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso inline engines. The Asso engines had annular radiators so their profile was similar to radial engines that would be fitted later. The first prototype flew in March 1937. The model was quite interesting, but lacked superior performances compared to the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero, even with 430km/h. It had few bombs in a bomb bay and wing racks, with a weak defensive armament of one 12.7 mm and one 7.7 mm machine gun. The improving was made with Piaggio P.IX engines, capable of 1,000 hp and the Cant Z.1007bis went into production in 1939 displaying more capable of all previous Italian bombers. A total of 660 Alcione were built.
The Z.1007 had a standard configuration: monoplane, with a low-set wing, single tail, later a doubled, retractable undercarriage, and a crew of five-six. It had a totally wooden structure, and a very clean shape, that was much more aerodynamic than the competing SM.79. The Z.1007 had three Piaggio P.XI engines (a derivative of the French Gnome-Rhone 14K) of 1,000hp each. With one engine in the nose and two in the wings. The three-engined design was a common feature of Italian aircraft of World War II. The aircraft had a slim fuselage mainly because the two pilots sat in tandem rather than side by side like most bombers of the period. Like most three-engined Italian aircraft of the period the Z.1007 suffered from poor defensive armament, poor engine reliability, and a poor power to weight ratio due to weak engines. The Z.1007 also suffered from directional stability problems that were only partly rectified later by the twin tail arrangement. The problems with directional stability made it only a marginal bombing platform. The Z.1007's wooden structure suffered cracks, separations, and surface delamination due to the difficult climatic conditions in North Africa and Russia. The surface delamination and deformation greatly added to the aircraft drag.
The Z.1007 had a defensive armament of four machine-guns: two 12.7mm and two 7.7 mm. The main defensive weapon was an Isotta-Fraschini Scotti or 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun in a Caproni-Lanciani Delta manually powered, or a Breda electrically powered dorsal turret. The turret had a 360 Field of fire and 0-70 of elevation, with 350 rounds. The 12.7 mm Breda was a standard weapon for Italian bombers which was helped by the double-tail configuration on later models, which allowed a better field of fire. Another 12.7mm was in the ventral position behind the bomb bay, with a field of fire restricted to the lower rear quadrant of the aircraft. There were also two waist position 7.7 mm Breda machine guns, with 500 rounds of ammunition each. Only one of the waist guns could be used at a time since the gunner for this position manned both guns. Armour, looking at the Allied reports (arguably referring to the latest versions, more armored) was better than the usual for a Italian bomber, with a large (2 ft. 6 in. by 3 ft. 6 in. plus a small head protection one of 14 in. by 8 in ) 8 mm curved plate for rear protection of dorsal gunner (rotating with his turret), 5 mm plates for side gunners with other 6 mm all around the machine-guns, and 6 mm for ventral machine-gun position, and all around this means that all the defensive positions were reasonably protected against enemy fire. Pilot was protected, even if an armored windscreen was not available, with 5 mm roof and lateral, 6 mm around the seat, 5 mm over his head, and 6 mm armored bulkhead behind him.
Pilots sat in a tandem position. Visibility was good and the aircraft was, thanks to this solution, almost a 'three-engine fighter' with a very narrow fuselage. This reduced the drag, but also worsened the task of the two pilots, unable to control one the other. The aft pilots had reduced instruments and visibility, and so, had difficult to fly and land the machine if needed. It was almost an 'emergency' pilot.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of an Italian Cant Z.1007 Bis Alcione Medium Bomber. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6-3/4 inches
Length: 6 inches
Release Date: December 2012
Historical Account: "The Other Rising Sun" - At the beginning of the twentieth century, Italy was at the forefront of aerial warfare. During the colonization of Libya in 1911, it made the first reconnaissance flight in history on October 23rd, and the first ever bombing raid on November 1st.
During World War I the Italian Corpo Aeronautico Militare, then still part of the army, operated a mix of French fighters and locally-built bombers, notably the gigantic Caproni aircraft. The Regia Marina (the navy) had its own air arm, operating locally-built flying boats.
The Italian air force became an independent service - the Regia Aeronautica - on March 28th, 1923. The Fascist regime of Mussolini turned it into an impressive propaganda machine, with its aircraft, featuring red-and-buff "rising sun" livery on the wings, making numerous record-breaking flights. It reached its zenith when two fleets of flying boats, led by General Italo Balbo, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1931 and 1933 respectively. During the latter half of the 1930s, the Regia Aeronautica participated in the Spanish Civil War, as well as the invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).
When World War II began in 1939, Italy had the smallest air force among the three major Axis powers. With a paper strength of 3,296 machines, only 2,000 were fit for operations, of which just 166 were modern fighters, the Macchi MC.200 and Fiat G.50, although still slower than their potential Allied opponents. While numerically still a force to be reckoned with, it was hampered by an inadequate local aircraft industry; technical assistance by its German ally did little to improve the situation.
The last mission of the Italian Regia Aeronautica was the defence of USAF bombing on Frascati - Rome in September 8th 1943. The Regia Aeronautica officially ceased to exist when Italy became a republic on June 2nd, 1946, succeeded by the Aeronautica Militare.