Italeri 1/48 FIAT CR.42
Italian Aces Mount - PART I
by Davide Splendore
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The Fiat C.R.42 Falco was one of the last combat biplanes.  Developed by ingegner Rosatelli following the great success of the Fiat C.R.32, the prototype first flew in 1938. The plane had a metallic structure and was covered in fabric with an open cockpit. The Hawk was highly appreciated by its pilots for its ease of handling and was subsequently placed into production, in parallel with the newer Italian monoplanes (Fiat G.50 and Macchi C.200 in which it shared common propulsion units). Together with the British Gloster Gladiator and the Soviet Polikarpov I-15, the CR.42 was the last biplane used in a major conflict, 1,784 planes were constructed up to 1944 with construction resuming in 1944 by the Germans. At the beginning of WWII the CR.42 equipped more than half of the Italian Fighter Groups, however from the initial engagements with opposing monoplanes, the CR.42 demonstrated to its inadequacy in the fighter role although some notable results were achieved by Belgian and Hungarian CR.42s as well as Regia Aeronautica CR.42s in the Battle of France.  Aside from favorable comparisons to the Gladiator, the CR.42 was still a dangerous opponent in close combat, as pilots of the Hurricane I soon discovered in dog fights over Malta and Greece.  Subsequent variants were equipped with under wing hard points for bombs, a sand filter for employment in North Africa and a radio-transmitter (CR.42 AS).  Other variants included the CR.42 CN (Night Fighter) which was equipped with exhaust flash suppressers, an artificial horizon for night flying and a generator located on the top wing to power illuminators used to locate enemy bombers visually. The special variant CR.42 Aegean was equipped with fuel tanks 1,100 liters for long range patrol missions in the Mediterranean. The Hawk was also sold abroad, acquired by the Belgium air force and employed against the Luftwaffe in 1940.  Sweden and Hungary also purchased the plane. In Hungarian service, the plane was used on the Eastern Front where it obtained some good results. The plane was also used by Iraq.
Technical Data
Aircraft:
Fiat CR.42
Manufacturer: FIAT S.A.
Type:
Fighter
Year: 1939
Engine: FIAT A.74 RC 38, 14-cyclinder radial, air-cooled, 870hp
Wingspan: 31 ft 10 in (9.70 m)
Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.30 m)
Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.30 m)
Weight: 5,060 lb (2,295 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed:
273 mph (440 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6,000 m)
Ceiling:
34,450 ft (10,500 m)
Range:
490 miles (785 km)
Armament:
2 x 12.7mm SAFAT machine guns; 2  x 220.5 lb (100 kg) bombs
Crew:
1
The openings for the control horns on the rudder and tail plane are too large. The overall shape and dimensions of the kit are however correct. The cockpit is very good but can be improved. Lacking the decals for an Italian subject, I used Stormo decals, that Stormo kindly supplied me.

CONSTRUCTION
The model was constructed with some modifications in order to render it accurately. The engine supplied with the kit is an optimal line of departure, it is however necessary for additional documentation in order to understand which details to add in order to improve its detail accurately. For this, some images of the engine were kindly provided by Riccardo Trotta as follows:

April, 2007
STORMO! 2007
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THE KIT
As soon as the Italeri 1/48 Fiat CR.42 was released, I acquired a copy to build my first CR.42. However the kit only contains markings for the German night attack version, providing no options to construct an Italian aircraft (not to mention the air inlet on the engine cowling is not adapted to the Italian subject).

The kit is well detailed, except for those areas covered in fabric in which the undulations on the wings and fuselage are quite obviously overdone.  Also the hunchback on the fuselage, the head rest needs to be corrected slightly, but is acceptable nonetheless.  Both the motor and the weighted wheels are well done and with an expert hand can be enhanced further.
I began detailing the exhaust pipes with a spherical cutter.  On the engine, I added (before eliminating those of the kit) push rods, using branched thread.
I also added wiring harness and cables as well as the oil circuit  from the mechanical pump using branched thread. On the cylinder heads plug locators, piercing each cylinder with 0.3 milimeter.
I moved next to painting smaller parts and after drying I detailed the parts.
At the end of the paint job I applied a light varnish layer in order to adjust the shade of color and dry the fit the parts.
After dry fitting I added the propeller to complete the job.
Continuing to the fuselage and the wings, I modified those areas covered in fabric, toning down the effect with a rounded blade and putty to give a more realistic impression.
Continuing to the fuselage and the wings, I modified those areas covered in fabric, toning down the effect with a rounded blade and putty to give a more realistic impression.
To add a touch of realism to the model the rudder was attached in the slanted position. These parts were considerably thinned using sand paper because they appear too thick and are unrealistic.
After the fuselage assembly, the engine cowling was modified leaving the inspection panels open and rendering the motor visible.  It was also necessary to scratch build the air inlet on the ventral fairing.
At this point the wing struts were glued into position to ease painting, which were painted the same color as underside surfaces. This operation was quite difficult.
What remained were some particular items, pulling the wiring, adjusting the ailerons and tail planes and the final paint job could begin.

Giulio Gobbi and Davide Splendore on Take Off - June 2006
Painting, Camouflage and Decals in PART II...