Classic Airframes 1/48 FIAT CR.32 quater
AS Chirri
by Jean Barby
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The Fiat CR.32 occupies a special place among the immortals in aviation history. It was one of the last biplane fighters ever built, a typical example of the generation of combat planes that preceded World War II. When it appeared in 1933, the plane Celestino Rosatelli designed was an immediate success because of its high performance. The plane saw combat duty during the Spanish Civil War and was a symbol of Axis victory in that conflict.

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 faster and more maneuverable and was also smaller with a decreased wing span and various improvements. But the configuration and general structure of the two planes was basically 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 (sesquiplane design). The CR.32 had the same engine as the CR.30, a 600hp 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 following year production began and by the spring of 1935 the first aircraft were delivered to the Regia Aeronautica. 1o Stormo stationed at Campoformido was the first unit to be fully equipped with the new fighter. Soon the 2o, 4o and 3o Stormi were also equipped with the plane. Meanwhile production went ahead on a vast scale. A total of 383 CR.32s were produced in the original version. Three other variants 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 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.
Technical Data
Fiat CR.32
Manufacturer: FIAT S.A.
Year: 1935
Engine: FIAT A.30 RA, 12-cyclinder V, liquid-cooled, 600hp
31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)
24 ft 5 in (7.45 m)
8 ft 8 in (2.63 m)
4,080 lb (1,850 kg)
Maximum Speed:
233 mph at 19,685 ft (375 km/h at 3,000 m)
28,900 ft (8,800 m)
460 miles (760 km)
2 machine guns

Additional Images
This is the excellent Classic Airframes 1/48 Fiat CR.42 Kit No. CA 4108.  Construction was straight forward as in the preceding kit I built.  However this time I departed from building the model out of the box using Chris Busbridge Fiat CR.32 decals.   The decals are printed by Cartograf, and the quality of these decals are very high.  I modeled red 6 - 163a Sq. Egeo 1940.  The colors used were a mixture of Model Master acrylic for GM3, good old H302 from gunze for VM and Mr. Kit Marrone Mimetico.   Thank you to Stormo for the review sample.

December, 2006
STORMO! 2006
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