Italeri 1/48 FIAT CR.42/J11
Winter Hawk
by William Landelle

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The Fiat CR 42 was one of the three air-craft types known as the "emergency purchases", a name which reflects the desperate situation in which the Swedish Air Force found itself at the outbreak of the Second World War. After the American embargo on military exports, Italy represented Sweden's only possible source of war equipment.

The contract initially signed by KFF, the Swedish aviation administration, called for the supply of twelve aircraft by April 1940. The type was designated J11 in the Swedish classification and after delivery the first five aircraft were assembled in late April at Gbteborg Air Base, and precisely at Torslanda airfield. These aircraft were orginally ear-marked for Finland, however the planes arrived too late to participate in the 1940 Winter War between Finland and the USSR and were sent to Sweden instead.

In October 1940 Sweden commissioned Fiat a second batch of 60 aircraft, intended to re-equip the newly formed F9 Fighter Group and with deliveries scheduled for the 1940-41 winter. In February 1941 F9's first squadron took part in the annual winter manoeuvres: not surprisingly for an aircraft not designed to operate in such northern environments, these proved more than challenging for the ]11. In July a total of 61 eR 42 were lined up on the Satenas operational base: numerically F9 had completed its re equipment, but many problems and difficulties remained.

In February 1942 F9 was redeployed to Kiruna, but in Spring it was again transferred to Luiea Kallax and its last J11 did not return to its base until early May. By the year's end 52 CR.42s were still serviceable, the number dropping to 43 a year later.

Although the Italian biplane was not the fighter F9's pilots had expected, the J11 became quite popular with its pilots on account of its overall performance when compared to other types in Swedish service. While the eR 42 was undeniably inferior to contemporary fighters such as the Bf 109 and Spitfire, F9's pilots made up for the aircraft's limitations with an aggressive and enterprising attitude.

When the new, Swedish-designed J22 fighter was delivered to the 3rd Squadron in Autumn 1943, the forty remaining CR.42s were concentrated in its 1st and 2nd Squadrons. The aircraft were eventually retired in March 1945, some being later acquired by Svensk Flygtjanst AB as target tugs. Of the 19 aircraft purchased, six were used for spare parts recovery and 16 found their way onto the civil register.

A single J11, serial 2453 erroneously marked as F3-9, has been preserved in the Swedish Air Force Museum in Linkoping.

Technical Specifications

Swedish radio
Shortcut wheels fairing for skis movement when landing
Skis in winter

two 12,7mm machine gun Breda Safat

Camouflage and Markings
Planes were delivered in the standard Italian 3 tone camouflage C1 : giallio mimetico (desert yellow) overal upper surfaces with verde mimetico (green) and marrone mimetico (brown) blotches. The under wings and lower surfaces were grigio azzuro chiaro (light gray) and the fabric-covered part in natural aluminium paint. During winter, upper surfaces were painted with washable white paint. Skis were natural aluminium. The planes had Swedish marks on fuselage sides, upper and lower wings. A serial number was painted in the rear part of fuselage and the F9 marking was applied near the cockpit. The F9 Fighter Group was organized into three squadrons, each squadron having a distinctive color spinner and wheel spats. Red spinners where used by the first squadron, bleu for the second and yellow for the third. Some planes wore a leader mark, a red devil for the first squadron, a fighting wasp for the third squadron, and a running bulldog nicnamed Bonzo for the second squadron. During winter when the planes were over painted with white badigeon, plane numbers were over painted with squadron's colour.

This model is a J11 of F9 third squadron during the winter of 1942. Documentation regarding the J11 is principaly published in Swedish but Giorgio Apostolo and his team at Aerfoan published two great articles covering these planes in detail (Aerofan 1982.03, Aerofan n89). Skis were made from examining photographs published in the Giorgio Apostolo review in Aerofan. I constructed one with plastic cards and sanding sticks and some secret words and mixtures during the long nights of winter. When it was done I make a silicon model to make sprue for two beautiful skis.

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

Ali D'Italia FIAT CR.42, La Bamcarella Aeronautica, Torino, Italia, 1995

Additional Images:

Osprey #90 Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2 Stormo Decals 48002 - Italian WWII Aces Part II 1/48
Italeri # 2640 - Fiat CR.42 1/48 Italeri #IT2702 - FIAT CR.42 Falco Aces - 1/48
Classic Airframes - FIAT CR.42 CN Caccia Noturna 1/48 - CA 497 (Collectible)

October, 2014
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