Italaerei + Italian Kits 1/72 Reggiane Re.2001 Delta
Delta Variant
by Richard Mendes

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The Officine Meccaniche Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon) fighter-bombers and night fighters designed by Roberto Longhi (1909-1994) and Antonio Alessio were powered by license-built Daimler-Benz DB.601 1,175hp / Alfa Romeo R.A. 1000 RC 41-1 Monsone (Monsoon) 12-cylinder Inverted-V engines the prototype M.M.409 piloted by Mario de Bernardi (1893-1959) first flying c. June 22-24, 1940. Based on the Piaggio P.XI radial engine-powered Re.2000 Falco I with four wing and one fuselage-mounted fuel tanks the Regia Aeronautica (RA) required those in the Re.2001 be fuselage mounted (for improved survivability) necessitating redesigning the wings, this along with production delays and Alfa Romeo engine shortages delaying its service introduction till June 1941. The RA ordered 410 Alfa Romeo-powered Re.2001s (10 evaluation + 200 production Reggiane + 100 Caproni Taliedo + 50 then later 100 Caproni Predappio) but because of engine (priority being given to the Macchi C.202) and factory production delays just 234 plus three prototypes (two Alfa Romeo, one Isotta Fraschini Delta-powered) were built by the time of the September 8, 1943 Italian Armistice.

The Re.2001 Delta
To compensate for slow Alfa Romeo engine production early in 1942 the RA ordered Caproni Taliedo to build one prototype M.M.9920 powered by a 840hp Isotta Fraschini Delta IV RC.16/48 12-cylinder inverted-V air cooled engine, fully aware of the Delta's low power output the RA's technical analysis assumed sufficient airframe weight reductions (e.g., removal of cooling system and radiators) would be made to maintain overall flight performance comparable to the standard Re.2001, although this was not to be. During the summer of 1942 Caproni Taliedo built M.M.9920, first flying on September 12, four days earlier the RA had ordered 100 Delta-powered Re.2001s. Flown to Guidonia Monticello in November for flight evaluation the M.M.9920's overall performance was lower than expected, especially in climb rate requiring 10 min 30 sec to climb to 19,685 ft (6,000 m). The plane was subsequently destroyed by fire on January 27, 1943 due to engine overheating and the RA cancelled the production order as well as ending all further Re.2001 Delta development.



Italaerei + Italian Kits Wings: Reggiane Re.2001 1/72 Conversion
Italian Kits Mail Order of Italy currently markets scale model hobby brand products well as their Italian Kits Wings (IKW) line of 1/72 model conversion kits and detailing parts including IKW-7220 Delta Engine and IKW-7219 Bomba a Ossigeno Liquido resin parts for Sword and SUPERMODEL Reggiane Re.2001 models, how long they’d been in production isn't known. IKW-7220 includes engine cowling halves and propeller spinner, IKW-7219 bomb body, two air glide stabilizers and extended fuselage tailwheel, they’re nicely molded though those for IKW-7220 undoubtedly fit better on the newer Sword Models Re.2001 kit.

The Build
On January 2, 2019 I purchased two complete 1970-vintage 1/72nd scale Italaerei Reggiane Re.2001 kits still in unopened shrink wrap in near mint condition boxes off eBay at very good delivered prices, till now I never owned a first-run Italaerei kit produced before 1972 though I do remember seeing a similarly boxed reissued imported Aliplast FIAT G.55 kits for sale at a Sacramento hobby store in the late 1960s. Employing them as donors for the IKW (Italin Kits Wings) builds were a no-brainer considering better-tooled Sword kits cost whole lot more, never mind being harder to find.

Building the IKW Reggiane Re.2001 Isotta Fraschini Delta M.M.9920 Italaerei model involved sawing off the fuselage halve noses some millimeters forward of cockpit windscreens repeatedly filing and sanding them till the resin Delta engine parts "snugly" sat. As mentioned earlier the parts undoubtedly fit better on the newer Sword Models 1/72 Re.2001 kit given either side of the Italaerei kit's lower fuselage halves are 2 millimeters wider though vertically tapering to a near-perfect fit at the top little filing and sanding being necessary to give a "respectable" presentation from the sides. As with M.M.90754 RA Verde Oliva Scuro 2 and Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1 "Continental" colors utilizing Humbrol, Testors and Model Master enamel et. al. weathering acrylic paints per STORMO Regia Aeronautica and ANR Color and Camouflage Guide well as left-over SEM Model (House of Savoy rudder crests) and SKY Models (Macchi C.202 Wing Tri Fasces) kit water decals were employed to build M.M.9920. The white Distintivo di Guerra rudder tail crosses on both model builds were laboriously masked and painted on that for M.M.9920 being particularly onerous because of having to maintain its squarishness over curved surfaces with individually masked rectangles, several spraying passes with Testors Flat White enamel being necessary to give the desired visual appearance.

In addition to this build, included is a scratch-built and painted instrument panel, rudder bars, control columns and San Giorgio Typo C gunsight, "added touches" not included with any of my previous Reggiane 2000-series aircraft builds.

Technical Data

Aircraft: Caproni-Reggaine Re.2001 Delta
Manufacturer: Officine Meccaniche 'Reggaine' S.p.A. (Caproni)
Type: Fighter
Year: 1942
Engine: Isotta-Fraschini Delta RC.16/48 12-cylinder inverted-V air-cooled, 840 hp
Wingspan: 36 ft 1 in (11.0 m)
Height: 10 ft 4 in ft (3.15 m)
Weight: 6,647 lb (3,015 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 308 mph (495 km/h) at 14,400 ft (4,400 m)
Armament: 2 x 12.7 mm (0.5 in) BREDA-SAFAT machine guns; 2 x 7.7mm (0.303) BREDA-SAFAT machine guns
Crew: 1

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November, 2019
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