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1:8 Ferrari Timossi Racer ‘Arno XI’ (Special Edition) Amati Model Catalogue # 1610 Available from Amati for €319.67, excluding tax The Arno XI is a hydroplane inspired by Achille Castoldi in the early 1950s and built by the Cantiere Timossi boatyard, located in Azzano (a frazione of Mezzegra) on the Lake Como. Castoldi wanted to establish a world water speed record so he persuaded then Ferrari racing drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi to influence Enzo Ferrari to supply him with a 4.5-litre, V12 Ferrari engine; the same engine that gave Ferrari his first Grand Prix victory with the Ferrari 375 F1 at Silverstone Circuit in 1951. The engine was installed in a Timossi three-point racing hydroplane hull. Castoldi managed to further increase horsepower by attaching two superchargers. The result was a 502 bhp speedboat, which he used to hit a 150.19 mph top speed in October 1953 on Lake Iseo. This world speed record for an 800 kg boat still stands today. Arno XI was later sold and raced in numerous competitions, finally retiring in 1960. It has since been restored and as of December 2019, is expected to go for up for sale by RM Auctions for up to €1.5m. Information and photo taken from Wikipedia The kit The Arno XI is far from a new release, with the original kit first seen around the 1990s. That specific release is still available and has a traditional built-up hull that the modeller must plank with the supplied strip wood. I have seen one of these built up in a model shop in Manchester, UK, a good number of years ago, and it was outstanding! When Amati asked if I would like to take a look at the newer version of this kit, in Special Edition format, I really couldn’t refuse. What makes this kit different to the original is that the entire hull is pre-built in glass fibre. If that’s not enough, then it’s also pre-planked in mahogany and polished too! With the cockpit superstructure already being a fibreglass composite component, then this model is as close as you can get to the hard stuff being done for you. It’s also suitable for Radio Control (RC), and measures in at an impressive 79cm. Now, this box is large and reasonably heavy too. A glossy sleeve envelopes the box, with a large image of a completed and mounted model, resplendent in the famous Ferrari red. The box sides show images of the box contents, and most impressively, that pre-built hull. But, what does it actually look like? OK….here goes. Removing that sleeve is amazingly difficult as the fit is so tight. It took both myself and my wife to extract it without causing it damage. With that carefully removed, the tabbed box lid was opened to reveal the contents. Of course, I knew what I was going to see, but actually seeing it was something else! The pre-built hull is absolutely stunning. Amati has carefully packed this so that the other elements such as boxed components and manual, cause no damage to the beautiful finish of the main model. The cockpit/engine superstructure, is also sat in situ, giving a real impression of how this model will look once complete. With all of the packing components removed, the hull is now lifted from the box. There’s quite some weight in this, but probably not much different to how the traditional construction hull would weigh. In fact, this could be a tad lighter, dependent on the thickness of the glass fibre moulding. A quick check around the exterior showed that there were no real causes for concern regarding the finished quality of this and the safe shipping of it to get to me in the UK. Hull planking is extremely high quality, with nice, tight grained mahogany creating that famous finish. The whole surface is also very smooth. In fact, the only thing that you might do to finish that aspect is to give it a final coat of high-gloss varnish instead of the satin/low-gloss finish the model comes with. There will be some smaller details to add to the timber finish such as metal edging and brass nails. We’ll look at those soon. For the moment, I now remove the superstructure and look within the hull. The is secured by two nuts which fit to bolts that are secured into the bottom of the hull. One quick note here is that the hull interior or quite dusty from the manufacturing process, and I suggest the use of a mini keyboard hoover and a damp cloth to totally clean out the interior before you continue with any sort of paint or varnish work. That extremely nice mahogany planking extends to the undersides, despite the fact that some of this will of course be sheathed by large pieces of photo etch metal. The superstructure is also comprised of glass fibre sections which have been carefully assembled and have a very smooth external finish. The external details include nicely even engraving for panel lines. The bare cockpit will be fully fitted out in some superbly sumptuous fittings, as we’ll shortly see. Here, you can clearly see the fibreglass box which forms the bottom of the cockpit. The superstructure itself is also quite weighty. Some very minor clean-up will be required before work commences. Here, you can see the interior of the basic cockpit, with the holes/washers that fasten the superstructure to the lower hull. The box units that are built into the walls, will support the upholstered chair. You will need to make the seat removable, should you every wish to be able to remove the superstructure for the RC model version. For static, it isn’t necessary. Also of note here is that this release doesn’t detail how you would fit this model out for RC, but for an enthusiast, I can’t see it being too much of a problem as the interior of the superstructure and hull are quite easy to work within, being very accessible. An instrument panel is also fitted into the cockpit as a base for the detailed unit which will sit atop this. You’ll see that the vents just in front of the cockpit will also need to be cleaned up before you start to paint the superstructure. Now, if you know someone who works in an automotive garag and can persuade them to give a perfect Ferrari red finish to this unit, then that would be even better than using hobby paints, as a good two-part epoxy paint finish would really set this model off. Lying underneath the tail of the hydroplane hull is a touch cellophane sleeve that contains three sheets of material (MDF and mahogany veneer). This first sheet contains a couple of cores and frames for some cockpit detail work, but also has a number of parts for what will form a cradle for holding the completed model. These will need to be secured to a long wooden plinth, set 300mm apart, but this plinth is not included in this release, so you’ll have to check out your favourite hobby outlet. Laser cutting is very good, within fine cuts and minimal scorch. This next sheet contains parts that will be fitted within the hull, around the box area for the cockpit. The idea here is to provide mid-hull rigidity and stop the modeller from over-tightening the superstructure mounting nuts and compressing the fibreglass/timber hull too much. The last sheet of timber is this mahogany veneer. These parts are for the lower cockpit side walls, cockpit floor and also the rear of the pilot’s pedals. Laser cutting is excellent and provides to cause for scorch concern on these decorative parts. Tucked away in the main packaging jigsaw is this box of components. Whilst not actual leather, the seat, headrest and upper cockpit sidewalls are comprised of cores that are hand-stitched with faux-leather and actually look superb! After all, this is a Ferrari! There are standards to maintain… A good number of metal trim parts are supplied, with their chrome finish. The twisted part you see here is actually for the spine of the superstructure, also running down the back end of the tail. You are advised to check these against the unpainted unit and adjust if necessary. You really do need these to be fit-perfect when it comes to the painted model. A length of brass rod is also supplied. Another bag of parts contains a number of chrome plated metal elements. Here you see the steering wheel and parts for mounting the long propeller shaft on the underside of the hull. All parts are superbly made and have perfect plating. No extra work is needed with these. And here is the propeller shaft with integral prop. These will look stunning against the mahogany of the lower hull. In another bag we have a whole series of parts which will be dispersed around the model. Here, you can see blisters for the upper engine cowls, mounting stirrups for the long exhaust units, pump/syphon unit, and also a small number of cockpit parts. There are a lot of screws supplied with this kit, for various tasks, such as fitting the chrome trims etc. Not only do you get the screws, but there are numerous drill bits supplied to do the job too, ensuring you don’t drill anything with too large a diameter. This nifty little unit is the rudder and mounting unit. Constructed from various components, this ready-assembled unit does actually move with a nice, smooth motion. It looks like it’s been made in a Swiss watch factory! All chrome trims have been pre-shaped. All you need to do is to check them against the hull and superstructure, and tweak if necessary. They are also pre-drilled to accept the fastening screws. These are the exhaust units, and they are both long and heavy, made from brass and chrome-plated, these units screw to the superstructure engine cowls and also rest on the stirrups that are mounted to the top of the hull. The ends are also hollow for realism. More trim and décor here! Yes, there’s another box of parts with a relatively small part’s count. A photo-etch instrument panel is included, complete with the authentic, vintage finish that’s been pre-etch. Onto this will fit the metal bezels, and acetate/printed instruments will fit from behind. The mahogany hull will need to be drilled and fitted out with brass pins. These are scattered everywhere along the various planks on all sides of the timber unit. Whilst this is immensely tedious, the finish that it will provide will look amazingly authentic. If you want an RC model, I suggest you can the pins short, so they don’t protrude too far within the hull. When inserted, you really need to give the hull a delicate, overall sanding to ensure nothing stands proud of the surface. You can also see the cowl latch tensioning springs here and some fastenings for the model mounting brackets. This packet contains printed instruments, a roll of rigging cord for which its inclusion still eludes me (!!) and also a few more brass parts that I still need to identify. In another packet we have some dowel for constructing the foot pedal tube, and other material which would be used for syphon tubes etc. I think this part represents the rear of the fuel tank, possibly. It protrudes into the cockpit and is located behind the pilot’s seat. This is a vac-form part that needs trimming and painting in aluminium before installation. A sheet of decals is included for the superstructure exterior, with the race number, pilot name and also the iconic Ferrari logo and badges. Again, not too sure about some stuff here, but I’m sure the acetate is included for the instruments. This LARGE photo-etch sheet is finished in nickel-silver and contains parts for the sides/undersides of the hydroplane wings, as well as for the cockpit floor. Another, smaller PE sheet contains finishing plates, latches, foot pedal plates, instrument bezels etc. The instruction book for this kit is superb, being printed in colour photograph format, and with clear annotation. The only problem for uncultured types like me is that it’s in Italian. Things are pretty self-explanatory, but should you need a translation, then it isn’t too difficult with stuff like Google Translate etc. There are twenty pages in this manual, and I’ve photographed numerous here for you to get a feeling about the manual and the kit itself. Two large plan sheets are included, one with several views of the actual vessel, and one with images of parts sheets etc. Conclusion This is quite an extraordinary kit, not just in subject choice, but also in the quality of the prefabricated parts. This is very much designed for someone who wants to either sail under RC or display in their cabinet/office, without too much of the fuss of spending countless hours in building, planking, sealing and polishing. The whole package is quite sumptuous, including the numerous fittings, photo-etch and of course that hand-stitched upholstery on the pilot’s seat. I do also think that the price of this kit, for what is offered, is very good value indeed, and yet still presents the modeller with a reasonable amount of work to do to create that famous Italian hydroplane. Amati’s instruction manual, albeit in Italian, is still straightforward to follow with its clear photographs and annotation. If this subject has ever tickled your fancy, get some Christmas money spent on one and create a truly iconic vintage vessel. My sincere thanks to Amati for the kit reviewed here on Model Ship World. To purchase, click the link at the top of this article, or contact your local Amati importer/distributor.