available online from Squadron.com
The Savoia-Marchetti SM 81 was an Italian three-engined, fixed gear Bomber/Transport. It
started its career in the 1930s, flying with the Regia Aeronáutica in
Abyssinia campaign and with the Aviazione Legionaria in Spanish Civil
This aircraft was developed from SM 73 civilian airliner before the
Second World War.
With fixed landing gear and low speed, the SM 81became obsolete from the
moment of Ital’s entry to the Second World War. Although its mixed
construction made it so robust that it could absorb remarkable damage in
combat, it was soon replaced in the bomber role by the S.M. 79.
Production of the SM 81 stopped in March of 1938, after 534 exemples had
been delivered. The 304 that remained in service were used for troop
transport (18 men). In this role, S.M. 81 was relegated to operating in
North Africa and AOI (Africa Orientale Italiana) , where she
demonstrated herself useful enough that production resumed in 1943. This
versión was designated S.M. 81/T.
The Italian armistice in September of 1943 meant that only 80 of these
additional aircraft were constructed, of which only four they remained
in south Italy. At least two complete units from transport still came
equipped with this material in the R.S.I. (in Italy of the North called
Reppublica Sociale Italiana).
As a historical curiosity, it is worth remembering that a S.M. 81 was
used as the personal aircraft of il Duce, Benito Mussolini. This versión
received the unsuitable name of "turtle".
Various radial engines were employed, comprising the Alpha Romeo 125 RC
35 or 126 RC 34 respective from 650 HP and 680 HP, or Piaggio P.X RC.35
from 670 HP.
3 Alfa Romeo 125 R.C. 35 of 650 HP
340 Km/h to 1000 m operating
Max to the takeoff
5 Breda-SAFAT machine-guns from 7.7 milimeters and 2000 kg of
(Source: Italian Wings – Nei Cieli di Guerra, Giorgio Apostolo Editori,
Milano, Italia. And others)
This is my Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Bat) from Supermodel in
1:72 scale. It is finished as a Night Bomber of 218 Squadriglia of
Italian Regia Aeronáutica.
The SUPERMODEL kit of SM 81 is molded in soft yellow plastic and is
moderately detailed. I took one year and four months to assemble it.
The cockpit is made up of a base with two pilot seats & figures, control
columns and an instrument panel with decal sheet. Two gunner/bomber is
also provided for the foward and central fuselage post. The model has
nicely detailed engines, machine guns, moveable turrets and separate
There are two versions. A version with Piaggio engines and other with
Alfa Romeo engines. I built the Alfa Romeo version.
I used Humbrol colors to made Italian Continental Camoufage (without
spots): Matt Dark Green 33 for the upper surfaces, Matt Light Grey 65
for the bottom and others for details.
The decals are of the 218 Squadriglia, Night Bomber of Italian Regia Aeronáutica, provided with
the model. (For this version, the decals are too provided by Sky