Italeri 1/48 FIAT CR.42
AOI Aces Mount
by Jean 'Monnet' Barby
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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).

A highly respected aviator by both sides, Mario Visintini caught the imagination of the Italian public in a dramatic rescue.  On 12 December the 412a Squadriglia launched an attack on the advanced airstrip at Gaz Regeb. On this day a SM.79 flown by Tenente Colonello Liberati led five CR.42s over the airfield, three of the CR.42s making an attack on parked Hawker Hardys destroying K4053, K4308, K4055 and K4307. Capitan Raffi, CO of the 412a Squadriglia, while making an attack on one aircraft on the ground was hit in turn in the oil sump by ground fire from the Sudan Defence Force detachment guarding the airfield. Trailing smoke, Raffi turned to base, however the engine seized immediately forcing him to land his aircraft just outside the airfield.  Under fire, Tenente Visintini landed alongside his COs plane, took his CO aboard (seated on Raffi’s knees) after dispensing with his parachute, he took off setting fire to the crippled COs CR.42. Visintini and Raffi both returned safely to Asmara.


Visintini and Raffi on their safe return to Asmara

On 16 January 1941 Visintini was promoted to Capitan and was made Commander of 412a Squadriglia.  On 10 February after completing a ground attack mission near Keren, and after destroying a Hurricane while flying over the area of Sabarguma searching for two missing airmen, Visintini accidentally crashed his aircraft into a mountain under low visibility conditions. Visintini was 26 years old. 
Technical Data:
Fiat CR.42
Manufacturer: FIAT S.A.
Year: 1939
Engine: FIAT A.74 RC 38, 14-cyclinder radial, air-cooled, 870hp
31 ft 10 in (9.70 m)
27 ft 3 in (8.30 m)
10 ft 10 in (3.30 m)
5,060 lb (2,295 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed:
273 mph (440 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6,000 m)
34,450 ft (10,500 m)
490 miles (785 km)
2 x 12.7mm SAFAT machine guns; 2  x 220.5 lb (100 kg) bombs

Additional Images

December, 2008
STORMO! © 2008
This is the excellent Italeri Kit and little needs to be said about this kit.  The kit is accurate and models the rear exhaust oil coolers correctly. The model was commisioned by an aviation enthusiast.  Model Master Italian yellow camo works like a charm for GM3. The other colors used were good old H302 from Gunze for VM and Mr. Kit for Marrone Mimetico (the correct red shade).
Stormo Decals Italian WWII Aces Part I were used to do Mario Visintini's machine.