Italeri 1/48 FIAT CR.42 CN
Italian Aces Mount - Ten. Luigi Torchio
by William Landelle
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Since the first days of  WWII, on 1940 June 10th , some Itlalian cities (Torino, Genova, Milano and Roma) having being raided by the French Armée de l'Air and Aéronavale and the RAF bombers.   The Stato Maggiore dell'Aeronautica (Italian Airforce Headquaters) ordered fighter units to form their own night-fighter flights usually equipped with three Fiat CR-42s.

On 1941 May 15th  the SMA could provide 20 flight equipped with three CR-42 and two more flight in July based at Tripoli and Bengazi (Lybia).

On 1941 October 1st the 171° Gruppo Autonomo CN is created at Gela airfield in Sicily with two Squadriglie the 301a and the 302a . The Gruppo is equipped with 17 CR42 CN. This unit is disolved on 1941 December 18th and 6  of those « Falco » were send to Palerma.

The CR 42 CN (Caccia notturna) was a variant of the standard CR 42 upgraded for night fighting by the addition of instrumentation (artifical horizon), a two-way radio, longer flame-damping exhausts and machine-gun flame-damping and were paint in « black » at the factory. (
see Stormo's article about that black colour- Ing. Riccardo Trotta).

Some experimetal CR 42 was equiped with pursuit lighting and some other CR 42 converted into CN by the mecanics on airfields.

From Novembrer 1942  two night-fighter units 59° Gruppo et 60° Gruppo were operationnal in Northern Italy for a total force of some 50 CR 42, one in Central Italy the 167th Gruppo with 10 CR 42, and accounted for another twenty CR 42 CN dispersed in several autonomous flights in Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia.   The 377° Squadriglia was one of those unit based iat Palerma-Bocadifalco airfield.

From March 1942 the 377° Squadriglia based in Palerma was converted to the night interceptor role with « customised» Falco's, Caproni or Reggiane 2000 an 2001 CN.

The model is the plane of Tenent Luigi Tochio with the nose art inscription « Io la notte piu non posso dormire »

Tenente Luigi Torchio
10 December 1917 – 30 January 1944 
In February 1943 Luigi  Torchio served in the 377a Squadriglia Autonoma.  During the night of 21/22 February 1943 he shot down a RAF bomber Wellington over Palermo flying a  Fiat CR.42 night fighter.   Tenente Luigi Torchio was killed in combat on 30 January 1944. During the war he had been awarded with the Medaglia d'argento al valor militare and the Croce di guerra al valor militare.

At the time of his death, Torchio was credited with 1 biplane victory and a total of 5 destroyed.
Technical Data:
Aircraft:
Fiat CR.42 CN
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

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August, 2012
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Construction
This is basically the
Italeri kit. This is a good model. I have built two Classic Airframe and two Italeri, I think the Italeri is the more easy to built but some work is necessary to refine the model.

The decals used were
Stormo Decals Italian Aces Part II were used.. There are excellent, after I have put and dry the port side of the nose art « Io la notte piu non posso dormire » I have looked at a photo of the plane and I preview it was in the wrong way  !!!
No problem, some drop of Micros Set and I can peel it of and stick it back in the right way, excellent …
I use First X-Acto blade n°10 to thin down the too pronounced fabric covered fuselage on this otherwise very nice model,  to be more realistic. So I sand to refine the tail,  the propeler, the wings and  the horns of control surfaces with sand paper and finished with Micromesh.
I have update the cockpit by constructing the tubular structure with Evergreen profiles, and complete it with the Eduard's seat belt.

I paint a first coat of aluminium for the weathering and a finish coat of light gray blue.  I refined and drilled the dashboard and put the decal beetwen the two part of the dashboard, a drop of Future  in the hole, it's look like the real one. I thermoformed a cokpit wind shield. So the cockpit is quite pleasant and we can see it at least.

I make so the positions light with stretched clear sprue sanded and polished and I drill the flame damper of machine-gun.

I also completed the engine  FIAT A.74 RC 38 with sparks plug and oil hose, the engine of ITALERI is well done and it is a very pleasant works.  I like to see it when the plane is done.
For the exhaust I make it with Evergreen rods and aluminium adhesive tape, I paint it with Gunze Gun Métal and when it was dry  I finished with fine art oil paint. 

To paint the plane I have reviwed a lot of pictures of CR42 CN. I see that some parts are more dark than other, particularly the engine cowling. The photos can be seen that this part was often covered by a tarp, it is a possible explanation why this part is darker than other part of the plane. No dust, no solar light it's better for  dark paints.

I used for the cowling flat black XF 1 of Tamiya, for the other part air brush fisrt a  mix of Tamiya's  field blue XF-50 (70%) and flat black XF-1 1(30%), in second I airbrush a very thinned part of Field Bleu, in third I airbrush a 50% thinned mix of  field blue XF-50 (70%) and flat black XF-1 1(30%). On control surfaces the mix is 85/15, 90/10 ...very thinned.

For the weathering I used pastel powder, very thin Tamiya's Deck Tan XF-55 specialy on the undersufaces, and very thin oil paint “Terre d'ombre brûlée”.
I finish with flat clear varnish.