Italian Battleship Roma

  • Scale:                            1:192
  • Release:                        2013
  • Limited Edition:              5
  • Model Size:                   50”L x 7”W x 12”H
  • Base Type:                    Black Walnut
  • Case Type:                    Leaded Glass
  • Base/Case Size:           58”L x 12”Wx 15”H
  • Availability:                    Sold Out


Roma, named after two previous ships and the city of Rome, was the fourth Vittorio Veneto-class battleship of Italy’s Regia Marina (Royal Navy). The construction of both Roma and her sister ship Impero was planned due to rising tensions around the world and the navy’s fear that two Vittorio Venetos and the older pre-First World War battleships were not enough to counter the British and French Mediterranean Fleets. As Roma was laid down almost four years after the first two ships of the class, some small improvements were made to the design, including additional freeboard added to the bow. 

Roma was commissioned into the Regia Marina on 14 June 1942, but a severe fuel shortage in Italy at that time prevented her from being deployed; instead, along with her sister ships Vittorio Veneto and Littorio, she was used to bolster the anti-aircraft defenses of various Italian cities. In this role, she was severely damage twice in June 1943 from bomber raids on La Spezia. After repairs in Genoa through all of July and part of August, Roma was deployed as the flagship of Admiral Carlos Bergamini in a large battle group that eventually comprised the three Vittorio Venetos, eight cruisers and eight destroyers. Their stated intent was attacking the Allied ships approaching Salerno to invade Italy (operation “Avalanche”) but, in reality, the Italian fleet was sailing to Malta to surrender following Italy’s September 8, 1943 armistice with the Allies.

While the force was in the Strait of Bonifacio, Dornier Do 217s of the German Luftwaffe, armed with Fritz X radio controlled bombs, sighted the force. The first attack failed, but the second dealt Italia (ex-Littorio) and Roma much damage. The hit on Roma caused water to flood two boiler rooms and the after engine room, leaving the ship to limp along with two propellers, reduced power, and arc-induced fires in the stern of the ship. Shortly thereafter, another bomb slammed into the ship which detonated within the forward engine room, causing catastrophic flooding and the explosion of the #2 main turret’s magazines, throwing the turret itself into the sea. Sinking by the bow and leaning to starboard, Roma capsized and broke in two, carrying 1,253 men, including Bergamini, down with her.

In her 15 month service life, Roma made 20 sorties, mostly in transfers between bases (none were to go into combat), covering 2,492 miles and using 3,320 tonnes of fuel oil in 133 hours of sailing.

About the Model…

The only other ship that took as long to develop as the Roma was the Yamato. Unlike the Roma, the Yamato had many duplicate parts including the guns, small craft boats and the related pieces that go with those items. As you may or may not know, all the fittings and details on our ships are done in metal because unlike plastic, photo etching in brass allows us to recreate details as close to scale as possible. Plastic gets a bit lumpy and looks like plastic.

If you look at the photos, it will give you a better idea as to why development of the Roma has taken longer than any other ship model. First of all the Italians had so many different auxiliary deck boats that developing models of all of them has been as time consuming as developing the entire hull for Roma. Just look at the detail of each boat with all the brass appointments. There are a total of 21 highly detailed auxiliary boats made up of 11 different styles.

The boats are one thing, but each boat sits on a brass cradle. There are 22 cradles on the upper deck and 16 cradles on the main deck and four additional wood cradles. Each cradle is made from seven pieces of brass soldered together. That’s 294 pieces of brass fabricated into just cradles for just one ship model.

Of course we expect the searchlights and such details to be brass and of course they are. They too are made from multiple parts. But let’s look at something we just take for granted. A simple pulley for a boom crane used to launch the boats has ten separate brass parts soldered together and it actually functions.

Another item is the deck ventilators. We thought the Titanic model had the most number of different styles, but the Roma has a total of 183 ventilators in twelve different styles.