Classic Airframes 1/48 FIAT CR.32
Chirri - Icon of the Spanish Civil War - Part I
by John Valo
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Classic Airframes recently released a new series of CR.32s and after building a Hungarian export bird from the first release, I elected to add two Spanish Civil War aircraft to the collection; one in the banded camouflage scheme and the other mottled.   I this artilce, Part I, I present a mottled Chirri.

The original CR.32 release was a fair kit, but a bit of a challenge.  One very impressive part of the old kit was the resin nosecap, incorporating the tiny cooling fins that surround the upper part of the nose.  The only drawback was that when mated to the fuselage halves, cleaning up the joint was a major challenge. Also, the fuselage halves had rather bland or non-existent detail in the nose area and lacked the crispness and depth in what details were included.  All this has changed for the better with the new release of the CR.32, which includes a one-piece resin nose with finely detailed blast tubes and incredibly delicate cooling fins.


















Cockpit details have been revised to a mix of resin and pre-painted photoetch parts.  Instead of the simplistic integrally-molded wheels and pants of the original issue, the wheels and pants are separate parts in this release.

I began construction by assembling the cockpit; the photoetched parts add a lot of detail to the well-cast resin parts.  I found that I needed to thin the resin walls as well as the fuselage halves to get the assembled parts to fit properly.  All this is almost irrelevant, as most of the cockpit won't be seen through the tiny cockpit opening.  What you can see is impressive, though.

The lovely cast resin nose fit the assembled fuselage halves beautifully, but you need to trim away a lot of extra resin; I left a small ridge to reinforce the join with the plastic.  Also, be sure to inspect the
casting for evidence of mold deterioration.  As molds age and are reused, they have a tendency to leave small bits of rubber in the castings, and subsequent castings may have unwanted lumps and bumps on the sharp edges.  I noticed this on the join line of the resin nose, as well as the radiator
intake, the parts were cleaned up with a sharp hobby knife.

Once the fuselage was complete, I added the lower wings, but kept the stabilizers and elevators off for painting.  Both models were finished using
White Ensign Models ColourCoats, which come in a comprehensive range of Italian colors.  Although I usually finish my models in acrylics, I found the ColourCoats to spray easily and cover smoothly.  I found two photos showing the 'Cucaracha' aircraft ('3-2')had a replacement left aileron, so I painted the camouflage in a slightly different pattern.



















After letting the paints dry thoroughly, I clear coated the model with Future.  The decals are beautifully printed by Microscale, with nice detail and opacity; application went without a hitch.  After drying thoroughly, I trimmed the black and white stripes away from the replacement aileron on
'3-2'.  I used an acrylic flat coat to finish the models, then proceeded with assembling the models.

















I added tiny wire pins to the four inboard interplane struts, which fit into holes drilled in the upper and lower wings.  By holding the upper wing vertically perpendicular to the fuselage, it is easy to glue the four pinned struts to the lower wing, using the holes drilled in the underside of the upper wing as guides to where the struts should align.  After letting this set up firmly,  I was able to support the upper wing on these four struts,   then align the upper wing and glue the struts without the whole assembly collapsing, but the wire pins had just enough give to help with the alignment.   Once these struts had set up, adding the remaining interplane and cabane struts was just a matter of carefully positioning and gluing them into place.

The new release features revised tail surfaces cast in resin.  I deflected the separate elevators and rudders slightly for a bit of animation.






















Overall, I would recommend this kit to anyone building a collection of Italian aircraft, especially biplane fans.  The revisions made to the new releases are logical and well done, especially the beautifully cast nose part.  The addition of pre-painted photoetch is also welcome.  The finished
model is very convincing and an attractive additionto any collection.





Technical Data
Aircraft:
Fiat CR.32
Manufacturer: FIAT S.A.
Type:
Fighter
Year: 1935
Engine: FIAT A.30 RA, 12-cyclinder V, liquid-cooled, 600hp
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 19,685 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

Additional Images

May, 2006
STORMO! 2006
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