Italeri 1/48 FIAT CR.42 CN
Italian Ace - Tenente Luigi Torchio
by William Landelle

Click the STORMO! Eagle to
return to the Gallery

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 FIAT CR.42 and two more flights in July based at Tripoli and Bengazi (Lybia).

On 1941 October 1 the 171° Gruppo Autonomo CN was created at Gela airfield in Sicily with two Squadriglie, 301a and the 302a Sq . The Gruppo was equipped with 17 FIAT CR.42 CN. This unit was dissolved on 1941 December 18 and 6  of those « Falco » were sent to Palermo.

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, long flame-damping exhausts and machine-gun flame-dampers and were paint in « black » at the factory. (see Stormo's article about that black colour- Ing. Riccardo Trotta).

Some experimetal CR.42s were equiped with lamps and some other CR.42s were converted into CN variants in the field.

From Novembrer 1942  two night-fighter units 59° Gruppo and 60° Gruppo were operationnal in Northern Italy for a total force of some 50 CR.42s, one in Central Italy the 167th Gruppo with 10 CR.42s 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 Palermo-Bocadifalco airfield.

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

The model is the plane of Italian Ace Tenent Luigi Tochio with the nose art inscription « Io la notte piu non posso dormire » which translates to "I can't sleep at night".

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.


This is basically the Italeri kit IT2702. This is a good model. I have built two Classic Airframe and two Italeri kits, I think the Italeri is easier to build but some work is necessary to refine the model.

The decals used were Stormo Decals Italian Aces Part II 48002 were used. The decals 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 off and stick it back in the right way, excellent ...

I used X-Acto blade n°10 to thin down the too pronounced fabric covered fuselage on this otherwise very nice model, to be more realistic. I sanded to refine the tail,  the propeller, the wings and horns of control surfaces with sand paper and finished with Micromesh. I enhanced the cockpit by constructing the tubular structure with Evergreen profiles, and completed it with the Eduard's seat belts.

I painted a first coat of aluminium for weathering and finished with a coat of light gray blue. I refined and drilled the dashboard and put the decal between the two part of the dashboard, a drop of Future  in the hole, it looks 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 drilled-out the gun barrel openings.

I also completed the engine FIAT A.74 RC 38 with spark plugs and oil hose, the engine of the ITALERI kit is well done and it is a very pleasant job.  I like to see it when the plane is done.

For the exhausts I used Evergreen rods and aluminium adhesive tape, I painted them with Gunze Gun Metal and when dried I finished the exhausts with fine art oil paint.

To paint the plane I have reviwed a lot of pictures of the CR.42 CN. I noted that some parts are darker than others, particularly the engine cowling. The photos can be seen that this part was often covered by a tarp, its 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 first 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 airbrushed 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 ... highly thinned.

For weathering I used pastel powder, highly thinned Tamiya Deck Tan XF-55 especialy on the undersufaces, and a very thin oil paint "Terre d'ombre brûlée". I finish with a flat clear varnish.

Technical Data

Aircraft: Fiat CR.42
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

Additional Images

STORMO! Products

August, 2012
STORMO! © 2012