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Savoia-Marchetti S.55
the Savoia-Marchetti S.55 seaplane
About this creation
You know a flying boat had a successful history when hundreds were produced. Introduced in 1926, the Italian-made Savoia Marchetti S.55 saw nearly 250 models put into civilian and military service over the next two decades. After its introduction it rapidly set 14 world records for altitude, payload, range and speed. Most of its flights were between Europe and the Americas. A fleet of 24 S.55 aircraft visited the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress International Exposition under the command of Italo Balbo, the Italian Air Marshall.







The S.55 is unusual in that it is a twin-hull, twin-boom design, with strut-mounted twin engines in the ‘push-pull’ arrangement placed atop its main wing. Another famous seaplane of the same era – the Dornier DO X – also uses ‘push-pull’ by strut-mounted engines (12 of them!) atop its massive main wing. By comparison the DO X dwarfs the S.55 because it has twice the wingspan and length. My MOCS of both these aircraft are 1:39 scale (roughly mini-fig scale); the S.55 wingspan is 79 feet, length is 54 feet (the DOX wingspan was 157 feet, length of 131 feet). While the DO X could handle well over 60 passengers, the S.55 took only a handful in each of its two hulls. One curiosity of the S.55 is the fact that the pilot cockpit was embedded in the front wing between the hulls.







The S.55 had no wheels for runway landings; so, water landings only. Entry into the hulls for crew and passengers was via ladders under each hull’s front and rear hatches. In the cutaway view below, the ladders are yellow and the few passenger seats are shown in green. In my MOC I have working front hatches. In the Italian military version of the S.55 during WWII, there were front and rear gunners at the hatches and a torpedo was suspended under the main wing between the hulls, right below where the pilots sat.


Only one survivor of the S.55 – the ‘Jahu’ – remains, today on display in a museum in San Paulo, Brazil. This restored S.55 was the one used by Commander Joao Ribeiro de Barros to cross the South Atlantic Ocean in 1927. The livery of my MOC is based on that one surviving aircraft.



The biggest challenge with this MOC was/is shaping the main wing, which smoothly rises from the hulls towards the tips and curves downward front to back. Feeling unsatisfied, I may redo them. I was pleasantly surprised that designing supports for the engines and rear stabilizers was less tricky than I imagined, even though they must rely upon Technic axles and connectors to attach to the hulls and wings.














My MOCs of other unusual twin-boom aircraft:
Sikorsky S-38 Amphibion
Focke-Wulf FW-189 Uhu
Lockheed P-38 Lightning
North American Rockwell OV-10A Bronco
Kamov KA-26 Hoodlum

Thanks for looking! Comments are welcome!






Comments

 I made it 
  November 26, 2018
Quoting Oliver Becker Just wonderful! I love the plane and also your inspired build, Tom! I also started "digital" here and I know a little bit 'bout this job... ;)
Thanks so much! I plan to set time aside to study your work! I also plan to do a 2nd version of the S.55 here to smooth out the lines of the wings here which are too block-y.
 I like it 
  November 26, 2018
Just wonderful! I love the plane and also your inspired build, Tom! I also started "digital" here and I know a little bit 'bout this job... ;)
 I made it 
  July 16, 2018
Quoting Henrik Jensen A great subject for you digital builds, but I would have preferred it in real bricks! The SM S.55 is such a cool plane from that flying boat era, and a trailblazer regarding both speed, altitude and distance. I`m working on another S-M plane, but I can`t reveal which one! In my opinion you could improve the wings for a cleaner leading edge by interchanging the left and right wingpanels, attach them with hinges and add a wedge piece between the wingpanels and the center wing piece. Hope you understand what I mean.
Real bricks? I would love to, but since moving out of a house into my apartment, very limited work & storage space now. Thanks for the re-modeling tip! As my skills grow, I realize how I could improve past designs. Ideas shared here help! (What I learned of HTML so far has made my pages better.)
 I like it 
  July 16, 2018
A great subject for you digital builds, but I would have preferred it in real bricks! The SM S.55 is such a cool plane from that flying boat era, and a trailblazer regarding both speed, altitude and distance. I`m working on another S-M plane, but I can`t reveal which one! In my opinion you could improve the wings for a cleaner leading edge by interchanging the left and right wingpanels, attach them with hinges and add a wedge piece between the wingpanels and the center wing piece. Hope you understand what I mean.
 I made it 
  July 15, 2018
Quoting BATOH rossi wowow, fantastically modeled! perhaps to write is the nostalgia for that era of great technical innovations and poetic aeronautical adventures, but for me it is your best MOC! I recommend the vision of "Porco Rosso" by Hayao Miyazaki to find another inspiration. now you have to complete the work by building the Macchi MC 72 ...
Thank you! Yes, it has a 'Porco Rosso' appearance, and I appreciate your advice on the Macchi MC 72 which I had not seen before. What a sleek, beautiful airplane - Wow! Its thin, graceful lines remind me of the Lockheed P-38. The Italians certainly know how to design gorgeous aircraft! The MC 72 goes on my 'to-do' list.
 I made it 
  July 15, 2018
Quoting Gabor Pauler Nice shaping of such a difficult airframe in minifig scale, excellent attention to details. My feeling is that you should switch building in bigger scale (eg. Technic figures), because I saw that sometimes you struggled with lack of space for creating more fine details. Worth to try.
Thank you, that is worthy advice, I will try it (even though below I just joked with Seaman that I ought to try doing models in micro-scale). Seeing your designs has certainly inspired me to try using more Technic elements in my models, and I recently bought a simple old Lego set (#8444) to get a feel for putting Technic to work. Cheers!
 I like it 
  July 14, 2018
wowow, fantastically modeled! perhaps to write is the nostalgia for that era of great technical innovations and poetic aeronautical adventures, but for me it is your best MOC! I recommend the vision of "Porco Rosso" by Hayao Miyazaki to find another inspiration. now you have to complete the work by building the Macchi MC 72 ...
 I like it 
  July 14, 2018
Nice shaping of such a difficult airframe in minifig scale, excellent attention to details. My feeling is that you should switch building in bigger scale (eg. Technic figures), because I saw that sometimes you struggled with lack of space for creating more fine details. Worth to try.
 I made it 
  July 14, 2018
Quoting Seaman SPb Wow! Fantastic work! Very beautiful, realistic and playable! You're as partial to twin-hull aircraft as I am to helicopter cruisers. )
HA! Yes, very partial, so it seems, and I don't know what draws me to them! I have a lot of helicopter MOCs and I would lend them to you for your excellent cruisers, but alas, I work in the wrong scale. Maybe I should take up micro-scale, eh? Thanks!
 I like it 
  July 14, 2018
Wow! Fantastic work! Very beautiful, realistic and playable! You're as partial to twin-hull aircraft as I am to helicopter cruisers. )
 
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The background images used on this page are © Todd Lehman,
available at http://www.lugnet.com/fibblesnork/lego/backgrounds/


LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Savoia-Marchetti S.55


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