Pavla 1/72 Fiat CR.42 'Falco'




$29.98 ($26.97 from Squadron)


Four options


Scott Van Aken


Short run with resin and vac parts


The birth of the last fighter biplane in service in World War 2 took place during the trial for a new monoplane fighter for the Regia Aeronautica (the so-called "Series 0" aircraft). Waiting for the evaluation and testing of the various monoplanes, the Chief of Staff of the R.A., Gen. Valle, ordered the production of the CR.42 which he identified as a transition fighter with radial engine, conceived to ease the conversion on the new interceptors. This led to the building of the first prototype in early 1938 and on 5/23/38 it flew for the first time.

Naturally, with the experience gained by the designer Celestino Rosatelli with excellent biplanes like the CR.30 and the CR.32, also his CR.42 had excellent flying characteristics, so that even before waiting for the results of the official military tests, a first series of 200 CR.42s had been already ordered, a higher number than the Macchi C.200 or the Fiat G.50, but this could be attributed also to the various teething troubles experienced by the new monoplanes. The paradoxical result was that, whereas both the C.200 and the G.50 were out of production by mid-1942, the CR.42 was still in production in 1944, while Germany's new jet fighter Me 262 was already operational!


The kit is molded in a medium grey plastic and is quite typical of Pavla's kits with semi-large sprue attachment points, some flash on parts, and sink areas on a few of the thicker bits. My kit also suffered from having some plastic filling in the fillet attachment points on my lower wing. (see image to the right)  The large parts also have some ejector stubs to remove, the ones in the forward cockpit area won't be easy as it covers some of the interior wall detail. However, it is also probable that you won't be able to see that section as the cockpit opening is quite small.

Allow me to fuss about having separate prop blades and a resin hub. I'm not sure why this cannot be molded as one piece as I've seen a lot of other kits do this in resin with no real problems. It surely makes things MUCH easier for the builder. The rest of the resin parts are very well molded and constitute most of the small bits that will go on the kit. The engine cowling is in two halves, which makes clean-up of the seam quite difficult if one doesn't want to eradicate the nice detail on it.  Resin is also used for the engine, wheels, seat bottom, bomb racks, sand filter, smoke generators and various interior bits. It is also uses for the aileron and rudder controls, but my set was missing one of the four sets shown in the instructions. Two vac canopies are provided, a nice touch as I always end up messing one up.

The instructions for Pavla kits are very well done and this one is no exception. I did notice that the drawings are a bit lighter than usual though it should cause no real problem. Several small bits will have to be made from stretched sprue, including the long exhausts and cowl guns. Though there are several options provided, there is no indication as to which of the markings options they are matched with. If one goes by the paint and decal drawings, there are few differences between the types other than the use of the sand filter and the smoke generator (or are they spotlight) looking things under the wings.  Colors are coded to Humbrol paints, but the generic name is also given in case you want to use other brands.

Markings are provided for four aircraft.  First is the ubiquitous yellow cowled 1*83 from the 83rd Squadriglia in Belgium during the Battle of Britain. Next is a 15 Stormo aircraft  based in North Africa. This one should probably have bomb racks though none are shown on the drawings. A night fighter version (which should have the long exhaust pipes and the underwing spotlight/smoke generator things) is from 167 Gruppo. It has the underside of the upper wing and the struts in black. Undoubtedly to prevent the normally lighter color of the underside camo from affecting his night vision. The last is a Hungarian aircraft with the early arrowhead insignia. Colors for all these planes are convoluted at best so I'll just say that painting all the mottles will be fun. Painting and decal instructions show top, bottom and both sides of each aircraft. The decals are well printed and should work superbly.           


I'm reminded quite a bit of the Mr. Kit kit of this plane by the general layout of the parts. Regardless, it won't be a shake and bake and is one that I'd recommend to those with some experience building short run kits and handling small resin parts. However, the end result can be a superb model with some careful building.

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