KIT: Italeri 1/72 Fiat BR.20 'Cicogna' (Stork)
KIT #: 1143
PRICE: $28.50 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Edition - reissue

The Fiat BR.20 was Italy's first all metal medium bomber, and it soon became the standard bomber with which Italy went to war in 1940. However, the late 1930s was a time of incredible technology advance and the bomber  proved to be already obsolete during the French campaign that followed Italy's entry into WWII. This bomber was first proposed by Celestino Rosatelli , who envisioned a standardized bomber, in 1934. The two engine BR.20 was first flown on 10 February 1936 at Torino Alitalia and the first 20 units were delivered on 26 November 1937.

Although the aircraft looked relatively sleek and modern, it was already outclassed by other competitors. Nevertheless, a total of 234 BR.20's, 279 BR.20M's and 15 BR.20Bis were built. The BR.20M (Modified) and the BR.20Bis were unique to the original in the change of nose section and engines. These aircrafts were operated in Malta, Battle of Britain, Yugoslavia and the Balkans. It gave good service where opposition was light, but once confronted by a determined defense, its inadequacies were apparent.

The type gave good service during the Spanish Civil war where it was more than adequate to deal with the rifle calibre guns of the opposition. It was also well escorted, which improved its chances of a successful mission. A number of these aircraft were exported to Japan where they were used with equal success against the poorly defended Chinese. These aircraft were out of service by the time of the Pacific War.



This is yet another reissue of an old favorite that for years was nearly impossible to find. Since then, Italeri has been re-releasing some of its old favorites every five years or so. This helps those who are seeking one and puts the kibosh on collectors as their rarity disappears as soon as it is repopped!

First off, I should say that Italeri takes good care of its molds. This one is as crisp and clean as when it was first issued around 30 years ago. No real flash and neither are there any sink areas that I could immediately see. There are a few ejector pin marks but back then, this wasn't an issue. The fabric detailing on the control surfaces is a bit much and could stand from some sanding down or something as the 'hills and valleys' are quite prominent. There is good rivet detail on this along with the raised panel lines. From what I recall in building this one many, many years ago, the fit isn't bad at all, the most difficult part being the nose transparencies, as they are divided in half.

Different variants are possible from this kit and all the bits needed for whichever one you are building are provided. You get crew to fill the seats and man the guns, a good thing as interior detail is a tad sparse (no instrument panel, for example). All the control surfaces are separate, though in reality, it will be difficult to display them off neutral as they are not designed as such. This is a feature of Supermodel kits as well before they broke away from Italeri.

Instructions are great and make it quite easy to follow through the build, but then this really isn't a complex kit. Model Master, FS and generic color info is provided. You have five markings options, and these are basically the same as they were when the kit was first produced. There is one Italian, one Spanish Civil War, one Luftwaffe and two Japanese options. All but one have most interesting camo schemes with either a lot of mottles or multiple camo colors. The large decal sheet is well printed and a bit matte. It is probably no surprise that there are no swastikas for the German version so those will have to come from somewhere else.


I remember this kit with fondness and even after all the years since it was built, it remains a favorite that is brought out for display from time to time. Not only does this make into a nice model (and an even nicer one after the addition of an etched brass detail set), but it is really fun to build.



Instruction sheet.

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