SMER 1/50 FIAT CR.32
Freccia - SCW Ace's Mount
by Angelo Battistelli


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Just as the Spitfire and Mustang were symbols of Allied victory in the Battle of Britain and in the skies of Europe, the FIAT CR.32 represented the triumph of Nationalist Forces and their Axis Allies in the Spanish Civil War. The combat record of the FIAT CR.32 in the Spanish Civil War was remarkable. Of the 1,947 aircraft sent to the Republicans from Russia, France, the United States, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Britain 1,520 machines fell in combat to Nationalist pilots. To the Italian aviators of the "Tercio", 943 victories were credited and about 60 percent of these were achieved by fighter units solely equipped with the Fiat CR.32. Only 86 aircraft of all types were lost by the Italian air component in the SCW - a 10:1+ kill ratio.

The CR.32 design was started by Clestino Rosatelli in 1931. It was the logical development of another plane just off the production line, the C.30. The new plane was to be faster and more manoeuvreable. The new fighter was smaller with a decreased wingspan and various improvements. But the configuration and general structure of the two planes were the same. The skeleton was all metal, and the skin was fabric, except for the metal nose. The wings were simple and robust, and the lower wing was typically much smaller than the upper one. The CR.32 had the same engine as the CR.30, a 600 hp Fiat, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, driving a two-blade metal propeller.

The prototype took to the air for the first time on April 28, 1933, and proved itself airworthy at once. The next year production began, and by the spring of 1935 the first aircraft were delivered to air force units. The 1st Stormo CT, stationed at Campoformido, was the first to be fully equipped with the new fighter. Soon the 2nd, 4th and 3rd Stormi also received their CR.32s. Meanwhile production went ahead on a vast scale. A total of 383 CR.32s were produced in the original version. Three other versions were also manufactured. Of the CR.32bis, the second model, 328 planes were manufactured. Of the third model, the CR.32ter, designed in 1937, 100 planes were produced. The fourth model, the CR.32quater, brought the grand total of CR.32s to 1,212. The four versions differed in armament and in minor structural details. The last CR.32 off the production line appeared in the spring of 1939, when the manufacture of its successor, the CR.42 got under way. In 1938 Spain acquired a license to build the CR.32. The Hispano Aviación built 100 examples under the designation HA-132-L Chirri, some of these remaining in service as C.1 aerobatic trainers up to 1953.

In 1936 the first of a total of 380 CR.32s were delivered to the Nationalist Aviacion del Tercio in Spain. The plane also saw combat on the Greco-Albanian front and in the Mediterranean and East Africa during the first year of World War II. The 177 serviceable CR.32s on charge at the outbreak of the war remained in front line duty until April 1941. Many foreign customers also lined-up to buy the aircraft and would eventually see service in Austria, Spain, Hungary, China, Venezula, Paraguay as well as Germany.







Construction

Fiat Cr 32bis (3-51) flown by Spanish Ace cmd. Joaquin Garcia Morato of the "Patrulla Azul" based in Zaragoza in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The plane is painted in a mottled camouflage scheme on a background of Camouflage Yellow (Gillao Mimetico) with mottles of Camouflage Brown (Marrone Mimetico) and Camouflage Green (Verde Mimetico) with lower surfaces in Camouflage Gray (Grigio Mimetico).

The Kit
The SMER 1/50 FIAT CR.32 - SE0810 is the old Artiplast kit of many years ago and has plenty of defects. When you open the box you find three sprues made of light gray plastic and a trasparent cockpit windshield and a sheet of decals for the Austrian Air Force and instructions for a total of 37 parts. I decided to build three different machines, one in the Spanish Civil War flown by Spanish Ace cmd. Joaquin Garcia Morato and two Regia Aeronautica planes using decals from the Cr 32 Classic Airframes kit for the Spanish Civil war machine and Tauro Models for the last two.

Assembly of the model
First of all I started with cockpit interior with the exception of the seat belts in colored photoengraving then it was the turn of the air vents for cooling positioned above the engine. A careful analysis also the two propeller blades were detached and thinned. After finishing this I proceded to modify move-able surfaces (ailerons, elevators and the rudder) that have been cut to give the model some realism. All small parts such as the wing struts have been sanded and stripped of flashing. Once they have been painted in Camouflage Gray, the X-wings tie-rods have been added to outer ones. With a lot effort I tried to make the model sufficiently credible and I assure you that as an old modeller I have always had a passion for these models that I would call "elder" very different from the quality standard of the present day to which we are accustomed.

Good modeling to all Stormomagazine's friends.

Technical Data

Technical Data
Aircraft: Fiat CR.32
Manufacturer: Fiat S.A.
Type: Fighter
Year: 1935
Engine: Fiat A.30 RA, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, 600 hp
Wingspan: 31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)
Length: 24 ft 5 in (7.45 m)
Height: 8 ft 8 in (2.63 m)
Weight: 4,080 lb (1,850 kg)
Maximum Speed: 233 mph at 9,800 ft (375 km/h at 3,000 m)
Ceiling: 28,900 ft (8,800 m)
Range: 460 miles (760 km)
Armament: 2 machine guns
Crew: 1

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September, 2018
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