|Italeri 1/48 FIAT CR.42
Italian Aces Mount - PART II
by Davide Splendore
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|Designed as an interim fighter until the Italian monoplane fighters were available in sufficient numbers, the Fiat CR.42 was a modern biplane fighter that served the Regia Aeronautica in a multitude of roles including fighter, ground attack and night fighter duties. The Fiat CR.42 was also used by several foreign air forces who put the plane to good use and production was even resumed by the Germans in 1944.
The Fiat CR.42 represented the culmination of a design formula that had begun in the 1920s. Designed by Celestino Rosatelli, the Fiat CR.42 was an aerodynamically refined aircraft, its clean lines hinted at what might have been had the fighter developed along the same lines as the Grumman F4F Wildcat; the F4F having started out life as a biplane. The Fiat CR.42 was used as a fighter by the Regia Aeronautica in the early phases of WWII over France, the English Channel, Greece and North Africa. The Fiat CR.42 was also deployed to East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana AOI) in two squadrons (412a Sq., 413a Sq.) and there the Fiat CR.42 would rack up impressive dog fighting statistics eventually yielding the highest scoring biplane ace of WWII, Mario Visintini (17 confirmed and 2 shared destroyed, 1 probable, 32 shared destroyed on the ground).
Aircraft: Fiat CR.42
Manufacturer: FIAT S.A.
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
|Masking the under surfaces in a way not to leave an fine edge between the upper surface color and the underside color, Giallo Mimetico 3 was then sprayed from a mixture obtained using Vallejo 033 + Vallejo 001 + Vallejo 912|
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The subject of this artcile is Mario Visintini's aircraft. The profile of Visintini's plane has been deduced from little information, a pair of low quality photos and some details written in his diary and a profile by Angelo Brioschi.
The plane was likely painted in the typical three tone color scheme of the period 1939-1940, with irregular splotches (probably painted in the field). The following colors are applicable: Giallo mimetico 3 (fondo); Verde mimetico 2 (macchie); Marrone mimetico 3 (macchie); Grigio mimetico under surfaces. A particular point obtained from diaries (and photos) of other pilots is the propeller hub of Visintini’s plane painted in tricolour bands.
The propeller blade front sides were painted Grigio Azzurro Chiaro from the Fiat factory while the back sides were painted black.
To reproduce the Federal Standard colors used by the Regia Aeronautica I created color Chips on photographic paper, using several mixed paints and comparing these chips to the Federal standard Chips and those of the "Vitocharts".
Based on this information I began the painting the model staring with the under surfaces which were painted light gray using the Gunze H306
|Subsequently using original photos, Verde Mimetico 2 was applied using a mixture of Gunze 302 + Gunze 303|
|Like the last phase, splotches of Marrone Mimetico 3 were applied|
|Therefore I reconstructed the camouflage scheme in a more convincing manner. I sprayed mottles of Verde in a tighter scheme reducing the distance between the mottles. I repeated this with the Marrone mottles while also increasing the color tone.|
|To check the correctness of my work, I transformed a photo to black and white, and verified the likeness to an original, in order to verify the shape and dimensions of the mottle scheme. Worth nothing that the red and brown tones matched those of the original photo.|
|The printing of the decals is very good as well as the colors. The only thing lacking in the sheet is the factory applied coats of arms on the front of the propeller blades, for all the subjects previewed from the sheet. The MM numbers for the CR42 appear thin. An instruction sheet for the decals would also have been useful.|
|The adhesive film is quite thin which makes it rather easy to eliminate totally under a layer of flat transparent and the adhesive quality of the decals is also very good on the base of a clear gloss.|
|Also the softness of the transparent film is quite good and adapts perfectly to the surface of the model.|
|I also postshaded some areas using an airbrush Tamiya smoke, extremely diluted.
The more complicated phase was the two wing assembly, and some care is required.
|A final transparent finish was applied, using Vallejo Matt. The model was weathered with an appropriate application of dry brushing and pastels at the necessary points.|
|In order to complete the weathering job I applied a transparent opaque extremely diluted, to which I added one microdrop of color sand, to give an impression of an aircraft operating in a desert environment.
To end the project, finished some small parts, such as pulling the thread, and some touch ups and adding lights.
|The model is now complete and set against a African backdrop, here are the final results:|
|Reviewing the final result, something still didn’t convince me of the result obtained. Comparing the original photo to my job, my modellistico sense was not satisfied.|
|After this, the result was satisfactory to continue, applying a Future base for the application of the decals and washes.|
|As usual, oil washes were used “bruno Van Dick” e “Nero di marte” and diluted with turpentine. The wash was applied to the recessed panel lines. It is important to note that oil paints need to be diluted in order to ease application and maintain consistency of color. Controlling the number of times the wash is applied, the contrast of the panel lines increases, and when the intentional effect is obtained the oil wash should be allowed to dry for at least a few hours.|
|subsequently the model was cleaned with a rag dampened with turpentine to remove excess paint on the model. The final result is a model with the lines perfectly in contrast and clearly visible.
For this model I have had the pleasure of receiving a sample sheet "Stormo Decals Italian WWII Aces 1/48 Part I", in which 6 subjects of famous Italian aces are previewed.
|Some other details:|
A subject difficult to interpret because of the little information available, but just for this veil of mystery and its short but famous history, this plane remains a fascinating subject for Regia Aeronautica avocados. The Italeri kit is an optimal base to work with, but with the necessity to correct the fabric effects, both on the wings and on the fuselage. The final model is very satisifying, the assembly is simple and the aftermarket accessories helpful.