LF Models 1/72 Reggiane Re.2004 (Kit Bash)
Prototype Fighter
by Richard Mendes


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The Caproni-Vizzola F.6Z, FIAT G.55Z and the Caproni-Reggiane Re.2004 were designed to accommodate the 24-cylinder Isotta-Fraschini Zeta "X" inline air cooled engine to rely less on the German designed 12-cylinder inline liquid-cooled ones powering Italy’s early-mid WWII Caproni-Vizzola, Macchi, Reggiane and mid-war "Serie-5" FIAT, Macchi, Reggiane fighters.

Zeta development began in 1939 when Isotta Fraschini's design office deceided to produce a high-powered engine competitive with the contemporaneous 1000-plus hp Daimler Benz 600-series, Junkers Jumo 211-series, Rolls Royce Merlin liquid cooled V-12s. Coupling two 540 horsepower 12-cylinder Isotta Fraschini Gamma RC.15 inverted "V" engines gave rise to the 1,150 hp Zeta RC.35 intended to power the sole Caproni-Vizzola F.6Z prototype flying for the first time in August 1943 on the eve of the Italian Armistice though supposedly by the slightly more powerful RC.45 variant – the only Zeta-powered aircraft known to have flown.

The Reggiane Re.2004 purportedly designed by Roberto Longhi was intended to be powered either by the 18-cylinder "M" or "W" Reggiane RE 103 (a.k.a. King 103, R.103) capable of 1,700 hp at take-off or the 1,250 hp Zeta R.C.24/60, the latter to be ready for installation by 1943. Amongst the most controversial wartime Italian aircraft development projects, according to Sergio Govi's "I REGGIANE dall'A alla Z - Descrizione tecnica degli aerei Reggiane Gruppo Caproni (Giorgio Apostolo Editore Milano 1985)" the Re.2004 likely was never built, no authentic fabrication drawings of it surviving WWII in spite of evidence of its development ala photos of a cowled Zeta engine mock-up mounted on the port wing of a Savoia-Marchetti S.79, profile drawings of the aircraft though drawn post WWII.











Construction

Most remarkably given the decades-old notoriety of this controversial WWII Italian "Secret Project" no model or parts conversion kits currently are on the market in any scale of a Reggiane Re.2004, fortunately LF Models currently markets the Caproni-Vizzola F.6Z (Kit# 7281) and the Caproni-Reggiane Re.2005 (Kit# 7208) and the Caproni-Reggiane Re.2005 (Kit# 7241) resins in 1/72 scale which could be "kit bashed" to produce a more-than-suitable Re.2004 model.

To accomplish the bash the complete nose of Kit# 7281 was sawed-off, glued together, sanded and fitted to glue on the completed nosed sawed-off, glued together, sanded and fitted fuselage of Kit# 7241 (Kit# 7208 also works), the join being near perfectly aligned much to my eternal delight no other modifications being necessary other than spot sanding over and around the join.

The rest of the construction and painting work was similar to building the standard LF Models Re.2005 kit, i.e. Verde Anticorrosione fuselage interior, wheel wells and landing gear doors, cockpit painting using various Humbrol and Testors enamels. Given the Re.2004 likely was never built I chose to paint the model Testors Flat Aluminum, topside ailerons, tailplane and rudder moving surfaces Humbrol 91 Matt Black Green + 36% Testors Flat White replicating Verde Oliva Scuro 2, undersides Testors Model Master 1726 Light Sea Gray + 36% Testors Flat White enamels replicating Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1 ala the Reggiane Re.2001 prototype sans markings, the propeller blades painted a dark Testors Flat Black + White enamel mix. Given the brightness of the Flat Aluminum paint I chose not to overspray a clear lacquer seal out of concern of the model appearing too toy like.





Technical Data

Aircraft: Caproni-Reggaine Re.2004
Manufacturer: Officine Meccaniche 'Reggaine' S.p.A. (Caproni)
Type: Fighter
Year: 1943
Engine: Isotta-Fraschini Zeta R.C.24/60 X-24 liquid-cooled piston engine, 1,250 hp (930 kW)
Wingspan: 36 ft 1 in (11 m)
Length: 27 ft 5 in (8.35 m)
Height: 10 ft 4 in (3.15 m)
Weight: 7,236 lb (3,282 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 385 mph (620 km/h)
Ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
Range: 621 miles (1,000 km)
Armament: 3 × MG 151/20 cannons; 2 × 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT mgs; 2,205 lb (1,000 kg) of bombs
Crew: 1

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September, 2018
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