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Macchi M.C.72 - world's fastest piston-power seaplane
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UPDATED! NEW IMAGES ADDED!
About this creation
About the Plane
With all the technological advances in gas-engine, propeller aviation over the past 100 years, it is amazing to learn that the Macchi M.C.72 has held the world speed record for piston-engine-powered seaplanes since October 23, 1934. The M.C.72 set the world record speed of 709.202 km/h (440.678 mph). The designer of the M.C.72 – Mario Castoldi – was also an earlier 1926 winner of the Schneider Trophy races with a Macchi M.39.


Powered by two Fiat AS-6 engines (2500/3000 hp) mounted in-line but operating independently of each other, the aircraft used two fixed propellers that were counter-rotating. This trick was pulled off in part by having two coaxial crankshafts passing through the forward engine. Additional contributions came from having a special fuel mix, custom carburetor, and custom air compressor feeding the engines.


The engineering achievement of the M.C.72 was not without significant sacrifices during experimentation. Five M.C.72 aircraft were built, with two flights ending in detonations, flameouts, and explosions, ending in crashes, killing the test pilots, Ariosto Neri and Stanislao Bellini. A sub-officer of the Italian air force, Francesco Agello, was the only remaining pilot qualified to fly the M.C.72 after his two colleagues died. He succeeded where they had failed. There would be no faster seaplane in the world until the late 1940's when Britain developed a jet-powered seaplane (the Saunders-Roe SR.A/1) that could exceed 500 mph. The sole surviving M.C.72, the record-holder, is on display at the Italian Air Force Museum near Rome.


The front of the airframe is a basically a steel tube surrounding the engines, and the wings are also metal while the cockpit and tail was a monocoque wooden structure. The gold surfaces seen across the airplane are heat radiators. Gas tanks are embedded within the floats.

About My Design Work

After designing a few other classic seaplanes (including the Dornier DO X, Martin PBM-5S Mariner, Savoia-Marchetti S.55, and Sikorsky S-38 Amphibion), I received the suggestion from a talented LEGO contributor whose work I follow here on MOCPAGES – BATOH Rossi - to consider this amazing Italian seaplane. I had never seen the MC 72 before. There is no question the MC 72 is the fastest seaplane in the world, and arguably it is also the most beautiful seaplane in the world. And, I appreciate fellow designers like BATOH who offer me challenges to render slender aircraft like this one via Lego pieces. (In this regard, I recently modeled this sleek military training jet, the Northrop T-38 Talon.

The model is in 1:20 scale and is comprised of over 700 elements. I have created a mini-land-sized Lego pilot in tribute to Francesco Agello but also as a clear visual clue as to its scale. In keeping with the actual plane, bright red and metallic gold are the predominant colors in the digital renderings (it is likely hard to find metallic gold color in the necessary Lego elements for a real-life Lego build).

Cables reinforce the wings and pylons on the real plane, but alas, in LDD-Extended I do not find suitable string or flexible elements. Thus, the cables are modeled in the manner of struts, using Lego bar elements, whose over-sized scale tends to distract eyes from other features of the plane’s profile. I am considering exporting the model into STUD.IO to see if I have more options. I welcome tips on techniques if viewers here have any to offer.

To understand my modeling goals and past projects, visit my homepage! Thanks for looking, comments welcomed.








Comments

 I made it 
  March 15, 2019
Quoting BATOH rossi wowow !!! as soon as the MOC page opened, my eyes lit up. I thought, "It's not possible, Tom really did it!" the shape is beautifully reproduced. I'm still thinking about how to do it in minifig scale, but I'm working on something else ... fantastic work Tom, you've surpassed yourself;)
I have added a few better-quality images. Enjoy!
 I like it 
  March 14, 2019
These renders are so much better than the LDD screen shots! It looks really cool with the gold plated parts!
 I made it 
  March 13, 2019
Quoting Henrik Jensen Built in Miniland scale it certainly opens up to much more details than in Minifig scale! It really is a nice looking model and you have done a great job in shaping everything correctly from the fuselage to the floats, but the LDD images doesn`t do your model justice so I strongly recommend you to try out the Stud.io render to make better pictures. The M.C.72 was one of the coolest classic racers with its 24cyl tandem engine, but I have my own Schneider Trophy racer favorite ready in my usual 1:40 scale, just need to collect the bricks and assemble it!
At your suggestion, I have added some better images (to include 'photo-realistic' renderings) at the bottom.
Tom's MOCs
 I like it 
john lamarck
  February 25, 2019
Nice model. The british Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 in 1947 was already faster than the Macchi.
 I made it 
  February 25, 2019
Quoting john lamarck Nice model. The british Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 in 1947 was already faster than the Macchi.
Thanks John. I appreciate the fact-check and have modified the text above to recognize the Brits appropriately. BTW I am toying with the idea of modeling the Saunders-Roe Princess, so I have a fondness for seaplanes that went unacknowledged by me until I started designing Lego models. :)
 I made it 
  February 23, 2019
Quoting Henrik Jensen Built in Miniland scale it certainly opens up to much more details than in Minifig scale! It really is a nice looking model and you have done a great job in shaping everything correctly from the fuselage to the floats, but the LDD images doesn`t do your model justice so I strongly recommend you to try out the Stud.io render to make better pictures. The M.C.72 was one of the coolest classic racers with its 24cyl tandem engine, but I have my own Schneider Trophy racer favorite ready in my usual 1:40 scale, just need to collect the bricks and assemble it!
Thanks. Yes the POV-Ray rendering via STUD.IO produces better pictures. After I get some time to tinker with the model a bit more I will add other images. Not much reason for close-ups, though, because it seems all the plane's surfaces are so smooth - as they needed to be!
 I like it 
  February 23, 2019
Built in Miniland scale it certainly opens up to much more details than in Minifig scale! It really is a nice looking model and you have done a great job in shaping everything correctly from the fuselage to the floats, but the LDD images doesn`t do your model justice so I strongly recommend you to try out the Stud.io render to make better pictures. The M.C.72 was one of the coolest classic racers with its 24cyl tandem engine, but I have my own Schneider Trophy racer favorite ready in my usual 1:40 scale, just need to collect the bricks and assemble it!
 I made it 
  February 23, 2019
Quoting BATOH rossi wowow !!! as soon as the MOC page opened, my eyes lit up. I thought, "It's not possible, Tom really did it!" the shape is beautifully reproduced. I'm still thinking about how to do it in minifig scale, but I'm working on something else ... fantastic work Tom, you've surpassed yourself;)
I appreciate your very kind words. As I get more practice building more models, my skills seem to be getting better ... that is the way it should work, right? I look forward to your next model.
 I made it 
  February 23, 2019
Quoting Seaman SPb Great! One of my favorite planes!
Thank you, Seaman!
  February 23, 2019
Great! One of my favorite planes!
 I like it 
  February 23, 2019
wowow !!! as soon as the MOC page opened, my eyes lit up. I thought, "It's not possible, Tom really did it!" the shape is beautifully reproduced. I'm still thinking about how to do it in minifig scale, but I'm working on something else ... fantastic work Tom, you've surpassed yourself;)
 
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