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Arno XI Ferrari hydroplane by rvchima - FINISHED- Amati - 1:8

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And Now for Something Completely Different -




Arno XI Ferrari Hydroplane, 1:8 scale, by Amati


I now have three tall ship models in my house, a Spanish Galleon built by my grandfather in 1933, a MS Flying Fish that I built in 1969, and my recently-completed US Brig Syren. One can only have so many big plexiglass cases in one's house before one's wife starts to object, so for my next build I decided on something easier to dust, an Arno Ferrari hydroplane. Besides, with a glossy red cowling, polished mahogany planking, and chrome exhaust, wheel, and rudder, who can complain?


I bought the kit from Cornwall Model Boats in the UK. Even with shipping to the US their price was significantly cheaper than anyone else. I ordered the kit on a Sunday and had it in my hands the following Friday.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to start on it until after the holidays, so I gave it to my wife to give to me for Christmas. She didn't object.


There's not much information about this kit on line, so I'll start my build log with


What's in the Box

Edited by rvchima
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A next door neighbor, when I was 4 or 5 years old (about 1965), raced hydroplanes, and some of my earliest memories are of a kind of scary light (welding?) coming through my window at night, as he worked on his boats; and the trailer in his driveway with a stack of those strange shaped craft.


I look forward to your model.



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What's in the Box



The kit is packaged beautifully. Fit for a Ferrari.



Heavy molded plastic fin, seat, and cowling.



Laser-etched aluminum parts and cardboard instrument cluster.



Laser-cut keels and bulkheads.



Tiny brass pins for the planking, beautiful diecast wheel, rudder, and exhaust manifolds.



Plastic and brass flashing, mahogany planking.



Instruction pictures (24 pages), and text in Italian and English (8 pages.) Separate book with text in French.



Full-size drawings of exterior, frame, and RC installation. I will just build for static display.

Edited by rvchima
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  • 2 weeks later...

Eindeckker Complete


The extremely cold temperatures caused several unexpected delays, so my model airplane took longer than I expected. But I'm done and the Fokker Eindeckker is cute as can be. Some day six months from now I'll take it outside, wind it up, and give it a toss. But for now, back to the Ferrari hydroplane!

Edited by rvchima
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Ferrari Hydroplane, day 1, 5 hours



The laser cutting on this kit is beautiful! The frame is 1/4 birch ply. There are no burn marks and the cut line is hairline thin. I still needed a razor-sharp carving chisel to separate the tiny tabs that hold the parts to the sheet.



The hull is framed in two sections, fore,



and aft.



The assembled frame weighs a hefty 1lb, 5 oz. The next step will be a lot of sanding to fair the square edges of all those bulkheads.

Edited by rvchima
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Hull Sheeting in Progress



The hull is sheeted with several pieces of 1 mm plywood.



It's impressive how closely the pieces fit together without trimming. The upper surface will eventually be planked with mahogany strips held in place with headless brass nails.



The bottom sheeting isn't quite done yet. Much of it will eventually be covered with photo-etched aluminum sheets held in place with standard brass nails.

Edited by rvchima
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What a kit! I do not think I can stop myself from getting it - even though I have too much in pipeline right now (three ships, two motorcycles)

For anyone wanting to put som extra effort (and too much money) into this kit, I found this http://shop.autographmodel.com/L-P-1-8-motor-kit-Arno-Hydroplane-Ferrari-Engine

"Only" 900 euro!!! I am lucky that it is not in stock - the Admiral would have me keel-hauled. But what a kit!!! The building instruction is downloadable if you want to torture yourself





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The engine kit has been mentioned on a couple of sites but it seemes to be completely unavailabe. And at the price I think I can do without it.




Shamrock's image of the Ferrari engine was lost in recent problems with the server. This is the closest that I could find.
RVC 4/11/14

Edited by rvchima
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Hull sheeting Complete day 6, 30 hours



I finally found some laser-cut parts that didn't quite fit - the sides panels of the hull. I had to do a little cut-and-paste, but I finally got the hull closed up. Most of this will get covered wit mahogany planks.



A bit of ply sand-through on the bottom. I don't know how I can finish this to look right. Any ideas?



I applied a bit of planking to the stern. I sure miss Chuck Passaro's 130 pages of instructions for the Syren! The Amati instructions are very brief:

Fig. 20-21

Plank deck using mahogany strips. Remember to drive nails along guide lines you have already marked on deck.


Should I plank the sides? aft end? bottom? There isdefinitely not enough material for the bottom but I plan to do the rest.



I painted the styrene seat and made the attachment. Now that's red!



And here's where it stands for now.

Edited by rvchima
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Hey Rod -  thanks for dropping in on my build and alerting me to this one.  I probably would have continued to miss it.


Good idea 'heaving to'  for a bit on the tall ships.  They can take over quickly and the whole house needs to be on board before you invest 3 years of time. 


Oh.....nice Eindecker.  I've got one myself.  62" with a .72 four stoke engine in her and she flies like a dream.  I bet yours will as well once you get her trimmed out.  Don't put too many turns in that rubber for the trimming flites :)


As to this new baby........I didn't know Ferrari was into hydroplanes.  But the styling really is something.  As you're building her for static you can go all out on the trimings and not be afraid of getting them knocked off.  Looks like just a super kit and, having followed your Syren, I know you'll do her proud.


Two things come to mind.  First, mahogany can be tricky.  I had it for decking on my Ulises Tug and found it to be a little brittle on the edges.  I think Hipex commented on this as well in his Constitution log.  Just takes a little more TLC,,,,but it produces a great finish.  The other thing is the nails or brads for the planking.  These were also called for in my tug kit ---- I didn't use them.  Supposedly you put them in to hold the planking and then sand off the heads.  I couldn't do it.  Perhaps others have been successful but sanding metal without ruining the wood didn't seem to be the way to go for me.  Just give it some thought before you commit.  I just used standard planking technique with PVA.


I think it was Moonbug who did a great job with mahogany on a Chris Craft runabout --- you might want to take a look.  I'm sure it's in the Gallery.


Good luck getting that Ferrari Red just right.  I know you can pull that off!  And I'll be pulling up a chair!

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Thank you for all the information about other builds that used mahogany. I've just spent all afternoon browsing MSW and have found some great tips on planking, filling cracks, and French polishing.


I had not seen your post of the Greek tug Ulises. That is a very attractive model, something I might consider for a next build.


The kit comes with a lot of brass nails, both with and without heads. It seems that the original Arno XI was planked with brass nails (or at least treenails,) so I suppose it's time to start experimenting with them.


The plans show nails at each bulkhead, but photos of the original show much closer spacing. I'll probably start with the bulkheads and go from there.



Edited by rvchima
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History of the Ferrari Hydroplane



Achille Castolldi was a wealthy Italian boat racer in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1940 he set the world speed record of 81.1 mph in his boat Arno, powered by an Alfa Romeo engine.


In the 50’s he concentrated on setting top speed records. He commissioned a three-point hydroplane hull from Cantieri Timossi, a boat builder on Lake Como near Milan. The hull was named Arno XI. At high speeds a three-point hydroplane rides on two pontoon-like sponsons. The propeller provides the third point of support. A tunnel of air between the sponsons generates aerodynamic lift.


Ferrari supplied Castoldi with a water-cooled V-12 engine rated at about 385 hp. The engine ran through a gear box that spun the propeller at up to 10,000 rpm.


In January of 1953 Castoldi set an unofficial speed record of 124 mph, but soon lost the record to a competitor from Alfa Romeo. Castoldi had a new methanol-burning engine built with twin superchargers. The new engine produced 550-600 hp. On October 15, 1953 Castoldi set a new speed record of 150.49 mph that still stands today.



Castoldi retired from racing in 1954 and sold Arno XI to a wealthy engineer named Nando dell’Orto, who revised the body lines of the cowl and added the large fin dorsal fin behind the driver. The boat was raced until the mid 60’s. Arno XI was restored in the early 90’s. It was sold again at auction in Monaco on May 12, 2012 for €868.000.



REAL Ferrari Boats, part One: Arno XI by David Mulvey

RM Auctions: 1953 Timossi-Ferrari 'Arno XI' Racing Hydroplane

YouTube video by RM auctions





Edited by rvchima
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hull Planking Complete, day 16, 67 hours




I decided to plank the top and sides of the hull with mahogany strips. I cut the strips roughly to length, soaked them briefly in water, and glued them with medium CA. The water makes the CA set up quickly. I only glued my fingers to just about every plank.




Unfortunately the kit did not have quite enough planks, so I visited my favorite local Woodcraft store. They had a sheet of 1/16" mahogany that I ripped into planks on my bandsaw. You can see a slight color difference on the outer few planks of the sponsons.


The nails are purely decorative. They were added after the the hull was planked, filled, and sanded. I marked nail locations along each bulkhead at the center of each plank. I had to drill holes for each nail to avoid splitting the mahogany. The drill was a couple thousands of an inch smaller than the nails, so the tails went in easily. I tapped the nails flush, and cleaned up with sandpaper. I still have a lot of nails to add on the back of the hull.



The instructions don't mention the bottom of the hull. I think you're supposed to just use the thin plywood bottom, but I knew it would look bad where I sanded through the top ply layers. So I visited my favorite local Woodcraft store again and bought a roll of flat mahogany veneer with a pressure-sensitive adhesive backing. I had to buy a roll 1' wide x 8' long for $45, but it turned out to be a good choice. It cut easily with a knife, stuck on perfectly, and looks beautiful.


Any suggestions for finishes?

I haven't decided what finish to use yet. I'll probably start with Watco oil to bring out the color, but I'm don't know what to use after that. Does anyone know about spar varnish? That's probably what was used on the real boat so it seems like a good choice, although I would prefer to use something available in a spray.



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Vacation Time

We are leaving for a month on Sanibel Island off the Gulf coast of Florida. We are driving and I was tempted to take my model along, but I knew that the first thing I tried to do would require some tool that I didn't bring. So the hydroplane will have to wait for a few weeks, but l will keep an eye on MSW.



We've never left for the winter before, but this morning it was -8 F (-22 C) here, and Eskimos have taken up residence in our driveway. It is currently 81 F (27 C) in Sanibel.

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That is one sweet build you have got going Rod! You have certainly achieved a lot in only 68 hours. I wish I hade "clocked" my Schooner build from the beginning as well, hours spent makes a nice addition to the build log.


My next project is the Riva Aquamarine from Amati, so I´m very interested in your experiences from this kit.


Keep up the good work.


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