The P-166 in scale.
One of the most practiced, aviation related hobbies is model building. Model builders come in all shapes and sizes, men and women, children and adults, those just building for the sake of doing so and those that spend hours reproducing details in miniature so that their model aircraft looks as real as possible. Although models come in all shapes and sizes, aviation related models account for the largest percentage of the models that are manufactured and built.
It is very obvious once one starts the often frustrating search for a particular aircraft that there are a few issues that need to be addressed before one drop of glue or one dap of paint is applied. Is the plane I want to build out there? What scale is it in? There are so many versions, which one is the better kit?
While there seems to be an almost unlimited number of different kits from an equally unlimited number of manufacturers when it comes to popular aircraft (like for example the Spitfire, F-16, Phantom and Mustang), the opposite is all too true when it comes to slightly less popular aircraft. Some aircraft have still never been produced in any kind of kit form and potential builders have to turn the ultimate model building process, scratch- building. Others have only been produced in very limited numbers, are only available as resin aircraft, have been offered as a kit but are so far from being a representation of the real aircraft that they are not worth building or might be so unusual or strange that they are not of any interest to any model producing company.
A large model company like Revell, Hasagawa or Italeri only produces new aircraft when they are sure that a model of a particular type of aircraft will sell enough to cover the enormous costs that are involved in designing and manufacturing the moulds that are used for injection molded models.
As of writing there have only been two model construction kits of the Piaggio P-166 aircraft produced. Both of these models are 1/72 scale and are, unfortunately, out of production.
The first is a vacuform model of the P-166S. The model was produced by Broplan (Janusc Brozek) from Poland. Janusc has produced a long and interesting list of kits in the past. Some of the kits represent very unique aircraft (he also produced a P-136) and a lot of them are of exceptional quality. Unfortunately the afore mentioned quality is not that evident in the Broplan P-166S. Zane Jacobs from South Africa has built the Broplan model and offered to write a review of it for the website. You can read his review here.
The other kit of the P-166 is definatly a lot better than it's vacuform counterpart, was produced by Cunar Model. Unfortunatly Cunar Model ceased to exist several years ago after the owner passed away. The molds were sold and for a while it was not known who the new owners were. Recently the website of Italian Kits www.italiankits.it/cunarmodel.html stated that the kit would be available from January 2005 in limited edition.
The model is cast in resin which means that although the parts are crisp with sunken panel lines, the kit is heavy and rather expensive. The kit is of a DL-3 but contains three different noses so that several versions can be made. The model comes with nacelles for turbo-props but with a bit of creativity the nacelles could be scratch built and the kit could then be built as a P-166S. As we have neither built the kit or know anybody who has built the kit, a 'build-' review is not possible at this time. The box contains 53 resin parts,11 plastic parts, a vacuform canopy and a decal sheet.
If you should wish to have a radio controlled P-166 then only option is scratch building. I know that there once was a P-166S r/c model that spent some time in the crew room of 27sq at Ysterplaat. Who the builder was, whether the model still exists, who the (current) owner is I have no idea. An internet search on r/c P-166's back in 2002 turned up a very nice scratch built model of a DL-3 in Italian coastguard colors. The website was in Italian but there was absolutely no contact information at all on the site so there is no more information available on that particular model. The website seems to have been removed as well.
A UK based company does offer plans for a control line P-166 although I have never seen the plans they might be a good base for drawing your own scale plans. The site in question can be found here :www.xlistplans.demon.co.uk/multieng.htm.
Another option, if you are a die-hard scratch builder is to take a picture of a P-166 and, well, … just draw your own plans and then use them to build a model! That's exactly what Larry Dudeck did. I received an email from him shortly after the site went online telling me about the P-166 that he was building. Although the model is semi-sclae it's still a pretty good looking rendition of the P-166.
You can see pictures of Larry's P-166 here.
At the moment a start has been made on 1/5 scale plane for a P-166S. The person who is drawing the plans has offered to draw them exclusively for the P-166 website. We cannot say as of yet what they will cost or when they will be available. Our 'artist' is doing it in his free time and when the plans are close to completion, well, you'll read about it on the website.