Special Hobby 1/72 Fiat CR.25








Scott Van Aken


Multimedia kit with resin parts


In the late 1930s the concept of the 'heavy fighter' was quite prevalent. The idea was to have a plane with the range to be able to escort bombers and yet be good enough to tackle enemy single engined fighters. Well, that was the plan and a lot of countries in Europe as well as the Japanese bought into it. The US tried a few planes but they didn't meet specs so were abandon. Those countries that did develop the plane soon discovered in combat that the planes were not able to fend for themselves, much less protect bombers. However, they were able to tackle other roles such as light bombing, Convoy protection,  reconnaissance, and even night fighting with some success.

The aircraft was of typical tube frame and fabric covering and an especially clean design. It first flew in 1939 and a pre-production lot of ten aircraft were then issued to 173 Squadriglia, then based in Sicily, in 1941. They were intended to operate in the strategic reconnaissance role, but spent much of their time in convoy escort duties. The type saw very little action, only coming across Beaufighters one or two times. This was enough to prove that the defensive armament of the type was inadequate (a standard problem with Italian planes developed pre-war) and they were removed from combat to provide light transport. Though updated versions were proposed, they were never developed and the remaining aircraft soldiered on until they were no longer able to be repaired.


This is typical of the newer generation of MPM/Special Hobby kits. The molding is quite good with little in the way of flash, ejector pin marks or sink marks. Detail is similar to other 1/72 kits of this size. External detailing is super with adequate internal detailing typical of Hasegawa kits. The kits transparencies are superbly done and quite clear. The kit does include resin parts for the prop hubs and engine parts.

This brings me to my usual pet peeve with this type of thing. I really think that separate prop blades and hubs, as well as having to glue together a generic engine made of separate cylinders (in this case 14 per engine) is ridiculous. There is no reason why the props cannot be one piece and the engines at least be completely molded by bank. To me it just makes a kit needlessly complicated. If one takes a look at the best engineered kits around, Tamiya, one does not see this kind of thing. In fact, they tend to integrate parts rather than break them down into tiny sub-assemblies. I think that MPM needs to take a close look at what it is doing in this regard. I think they will get a better reception from the buying public if they do so.

With an aircraft only being operated by one unit, there are really few options. In this case, it is whether or not to have the turret. A blanking plate is offered if one chooses to eliminate that part. Thankfully, the turret itself is a single clear piece.

Instructions to this kit are photocopied and not the usual two side instructions Not sure just why that is but it makes things a bit less easy to handle than normal. The instructions themselves are typically good and quite clear, though the color information is quite difficult to read as the black boxes they are in almost obliterate the wording inside. Though it is tough to determine, it seems that there are two color schemes. One being a sand with brown mottles over light grey and the other a sand with dark green mottles over light grey. I'd have thought they'd all be the same color, especially since only 10 were built. The decals allow one of three 173 Squadriglia planes to be done. One of them is without the upper turret and is apparently the one with brown mottles. Again, it is difficult to tell as the copied instructions are most indistinct when it comes to identifying this information. Perhaps a reader has a better set of instructions and can help me out. Decals are well printed as are all MPM decals and should be no problem applying.



A most interesting choice of subjects and one that should do well. To my knowledge, this is the only mass marketed Fiat CR.25 kit ever done and should prove an interesting and unusual build


War Planes of the Second World War: Fighters volume 2, by William Green, McDonald, 1961

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