E.P. Originals 1/48 Reggiane Re.2002
Ariete
by Chris Busbridge
Click the STORMO! Eagle to return to the Gallery
With the Re 2002 the Caproni-Reggiane designers went back to the radial engine. Thus the Re 2002 was the direct successor of the 1939 Re 2000, but it had the technical and structural features of the Re 2001. The Re 2002 was an agile and sturdy aeroplane and played an important role in operations during the last months of Italy's participation in the Second World War, as it was the best fighter-bomber and ground-attack aeroplane in the Regia Aeronautica. Its fine qualities were also acknowledged by the German Luftwaffe, which decided in 1943 to develop a Re 2002 powered by a 1,600 hp B.M.W. engine (this was the engine that powered the Focke Wulf Fw 190 fighter). However the plan was never carried out. When Italy withdrew from the war in 1943, the Germans took over about 60 of the Re 2002s for their ground attack units. Total production reached 225 aircraft 149 for the Regia Aeronautica and the rest for the German Luftwaffe.

The Re 2002 project was developed in the summer of 1940. The basic structure was that of the Re 2001. The Daimler Benz in-line engine that powered the Re 2001 was always in short supply because Alfa Romeo was slow in producing the Italian version and deliveries from Germany were limited. The Re 2002, therefore, was powered by a new Piaggio radial engine, the 1,175 hp 14-cylinder air-cooled P XIX RC 45. Thus the wings and the tail-plane were those of the Re. 2001, but the fuselage was remodelled. I Caproni-Reggiane Re 2002 - 1943 Armament consisted of a pair of 12.7 mm machine guns in the forward section of the fuselage, which were syn-chronized to fire through the propeller disc. A belly carrier could accommodate a 924 pound (419 kg) or a 1,100 pound (498 kg) bomb, and two 352 pound (159 kg) bombs could be carried in racks under the wings.

The prototype first took to the air in October 1940. It was an excellent aeroplane and in some cases superior to the Re 2001, but it took some time to complete the final refinements to the aircraft's structure, especially in the engine, and it was September 1941 before the Italian Air Force placed an order for 200 aeroplanes. The first aeroplanes were delivered in March 1942, but they did not become operational immediately. The 5th Dive-bomnber Group became operational in July 1943, when a series of missions were carried out to try to block the Allied invasion of Sicily.

After the 1943 armistice, about 40 Re 2002s continued operations with the Allies. Mussolini's forces in the north made almost no use of the aircraft. The Luftwaffe took 60 of the aeroplanes to Germany, 40 of them were brand-new and the other 20 requisitioned. The German aeroplanes were used in France in operations against the Maquis, particularly in the areas of Limoges, Aisne, and Vercors.

Construction
I bought this E.P. Originals RE.2002 1/48 resin kit quite a few years ago, sometime in the late 90's. It was an expensive kit, but was well produced and nicely packaged, having a very good quality feel throughout. It had very fine panel engraving, a 'straight-through' one piece wing, flaps and separate control surfaces. The fuselage was split vertically and was a good snug fit onto the wing. The radial engine detail was excellent, complete with push rod detail. The undercarriage legs were cast out of very strong metal, much more so than the soft white metal normally used for these parts. The vacform canopy lacked any frame detail but two were supplied. The weakest part of the model was the rather crude internal detail on the flaps. Ultimately I was to model them closed. I had no problems with the construction, apart from losing the intake on the top of the cowl. With E.P. Originals no longer a 'going concern' even back then, this ruled out any hope of getting hold of a replacement. A new one was fashioned out of Milllput.


Technical Data:
Aircraft:
Caproni-Reggaine Re.2002
Manufacturer: Officine Meccaniche 'Reggaine' S.p.A. (Caproni)
Type:
Ground Attackr
Year: 1943
Engine: Piaggio P.XIX RC 45, 14-cyclinder, radial, air-cooled, 1,175hp
Wingspan:
36 ft 1 in  (11.0 m)
Length:
26 ft (8.16 m)
Height:
10 ft 4 in (3.15 m)
Weight:
7,150 lb (3,240 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed:
329 mph (530 km/h) at 18,000 ft (5,500 m)
Ceiling:
36,100 ft (11,000 m)
Range:
684 miles (1,100 km)
Armament:
4 x 12.7 mm (0.5 in) BREDA-SAFAT machine guns;  1,400 lb (640 kg) of bombs
Crew: 1

Additional Images
:

August, 2006
Copyright 2006
At the time, I still had a lot to learn about how to correctly apply a decent finish to my models. My problems started at the painting stage. Back then, a lack of good reference material meant I had no idea what colours to use. I used a grey that was too dark and an olive green that was, well, too green. As E.P. Original kits did not come with any decals, I used Co-Belligerante markings from a SkyModels Reggiane sheet. They would not settle at all well on the poorly prepared paint surface. The project had effectively stalled at this point and would remain so for some time.

Over time, regular visits to various internet websites, forums and a subscription to a modelling magazine enabled me to improve my modelling skills to some degree. The RE.2002 however, still languished in an unfinished state. Being loathe to buy another SkyModels Reggaine sheet, and preferring a Regia Aeronautica machine anyway, I was still hampered by a lack of good reference material and suitable spare decals.

Quite recently, a sixth edition of the 'Ali e Colori' series was printed, the subject this time dedicated to 'Caccia Reggiane' aircraft. It features dozens of good quality profiles, covering nearly all the Reggiane types. Oou of the RE.2002 profiles, one was just right for this model. With a fresh coat of WEM's VOS2 and GAC paint, and a combination of spare & home made decals, I was able at long last to complete the model.

To my knowledge, it is the only 1/48 RE.2002 kit ever produced. There was an unfounded rumour of a Classic Airframe RE.2002, probably due to their existing Reggiane kits and a long term listing in the Hannants 'Future Release' section, which has since been removed. At the moment there are only 1/72 options (Supermodel & Alitaliane). I would not like like to comment on their accuracy or overall quality, but it would be hard to beat E.P.'s model. E.P. Originals also produced an RE.2001 of similar quality, long before the Classic Airframe kit arrived on the scene. I was lucky enough to purchase one not long after I bought the RE.2002 kit. It remains unbuilt to this day!