Special Hobby 1/72 FIAT CR.25
by Richard Mendes

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The FIAT CR.25 was a twin-engine multi-role aircraft serving in very small numbers for the Regia Aeronautica (RA) before and during World War II. Of mixed wood, metal and fabric construction the first of two prototypes flew on July 22, 1937 powered by 858hp Fiat A.74 R.C.38 14-cylinder radial engines the same as those powering contemporary Caproni Vizzola F.5, FIAT G.50 and Macchi C.200 fighters.

In 1936 FIAT established an independent engineering team headed by Celestino Rosatelli (1885-1945) to design a new multi-engine aircraft capable of executing strategic reconnaissance and light bombing missions with long range escort fighter capability. During flight tests in 1937 one of the two CR.25 prototypes attained a top speed of over 300 mph (483 km/h) comparable to the German Messerschmitt Bf 110 first flown on May 12, 1936 and the British Bolton Paul Defiant the RA placed an order for 40 aircraft as long-range escort fighters.

Around when the CR.25 order was placed RA attention shifted towards getting Piaggio P.XI-powered Breda Ba.88 ground attack/reconnaissance and P.VII-powered Caproni Ca.310 reconnaissance aircraft into production unfortunately at the expense of the CR.25, ten long range escort fighters being manufactured armed with three 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns one in a dorsal turret as the CR.25bis, less than that many serving with the 173a Squadriglia Ricognizione Strategica Terrestre based in Sicily up till the July 1943 Allied Invasion. Despite positive operational reports from pilots as well as a FIAT proposal to resume CR.25 production no further RA production orders were received.

Aside from the two prototypes and ten CR.25bis long-range escort fighters one of the latter was converted to a VIP transport for the Italian air attaché in Berlin as the CR.25D. In 1940 FIAT reportedly manufactured and flew the CR.25quater with longer wing span and heavier armament no further development taking place.


The 2002-vintage Special Hobby FIAT CR.25bis and 2005-vintage CR.25D are the only 1/72 scale injected-plastic model kits of these Italian twins. Two models of the CR.25 were constructed in 2012:

• CR.25 Prototype with open dorsal gun position painted Testors Flat Aluminum enamel overall, Tri-Color Rudder painted Testors Flat Red, White, Olive Green enamels, model kit decals were used
• CR.25bis 173a Squadriglia “4” in CMPR Colori e Schemi Mimetici Della Regia Aeronautica II Edizione 1997 Schema C1B Small Mottle Network Giallo Mimetico 3, Verde Mimetico 3, Marrone Mimetico 2 and Grigio Mimetico with Humbrol and Testors Model Master flat enamel paints, model kit decals were used as well

Various other Humbrol and Testors and Model Master enamels were used in painting the models, didn’t have Model Master RLM 65 paint at the time to spray on the propeller blade fronts of the “Allumino” CR.25bis used an Azure shade instead, first time I’d attempted to spray blade fronts “blue” per RAI directive; Allumino-like shades also were sprayed on blade fronts well as very light greens depending on manufacturer or whilst undergoing in-service repaintings.

All spray work was accomplished with Testors Aztek A320 Single and A470 Double Action airbrushes, 9304CX 0.30, 9305CX 0.40, 9306CX 0.50 mm spray nozzles. Large-area spraying was accomplished with 0.50 and 0.40 mm nozzles, mottle spraying alternatively with 0.40 and 0.30 mm. Considerable effort was involved in spray painting much of it clearing off nozzle tip paint cakes and cartridge clogs each paint having distinctive behaviors requiring different solutions to achieve smooth flow with as few “spits” possible – ever persistent issues associated with RAI mottle camouflage painting!

Both aircraft were over-sprayed with Testors Model Master Semi-Gloss Clear Lacquer Finish thinned 50% with Klean Strip Lacquer Thinner (WAY cheaper than Model Master thinner and just as good), prefer semi-gloss finish over flat, detail “pops out” better plus aesthetically more pleasing in appearance.

Technical Data

Aircraft: Fiat CR.25
Manufacturer: Fiat S.A.
Type: Fighter Bomber
Year: 1937
Engine: 2 × Fiat A.74 R.C.38 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 841 hp each
Wingspan: 52 ft 6 in (16.00 m)
Length: 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)
Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.3 m)
Weight: 14,606 lb (6,625 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 280 mph (450 km/h)
Ceiling: 26,080 ft (7,950 m)
Range: 930 miles (1,500 km)
Armament: 3 × 12.7 mm (0.500 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns; 661lb (300 kg) of bombs
Crew: 2-3

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September, 2020
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