|KIT:||Italeri 1/72 Fiat CR.42 'Falco'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool with 48 page booklet|
Developed from the successful CR.32, an aircraft that did so well in the Spanish Civil War, the CR. 42 was the last new build biplane fighter from any of the major powers. Of mixed construction, it had a metal tubular frame covered in fabric with the forward section covered in sheet metal. It was also a commercial success being ordered and used by Sweden, Belgium, and Hungary as well as the Italian Air Force. Though obsolete when it first flew, the CR.42 continued in production throughout the war with later versions being used by Luftwaffe night fighter units.
I must say that I was both surprised and pleased to see this kit. It very much looks like a pantographed down version of its 1/48 release from last year, and that is a good thing as the larger kit was a fun build.
There are two sprues of light grey plastic and a third clear sprue with the windscreen and lights. The overall detail level is quite well done for this scale, though I'm sure that most will find the fabric representation to be a bit overdone. However, it does not in any way detract from the kit and if you wish to lessen the impact, you can sand it down a bit.
There is a full cockpit with sidewall detail and an upper tubular framework piece. A nicely done engine is provided which really has more detail than the one on the B-26 Invader that was more recently issued. The cowling side panels are separate which will allow some of this engine to be displayed should you wish. Attachment holes for the struts are large and should allow for proper alignment of the upper wing.
There are a bunch of optional bits for this kit including intakes, exhaust, and lower wing racks (which have the mounting area highlighted on the wing, requiring some careful sanding to remove). There are also optional prop spinners and three different landing gear configurations; Standard, skis, and without wheel fairings. There are also under wing spotlights for the night fighter variant.
Instructions are a bit of a change for Italeri, being in booklet form. Colors are to Model Master references and there are 6 different markings options. One is in the 'standard' scheme of Sand with Olive and Brown mottles and a light grey underside from 162 Squadriglia in Greece during 1941. Next is one from the 367 Squadriglia in the same colors but with the tri-color rudder stripes from 1939. An all black night fighter from 377 Squadriglia in 1942 is next, followed by a 300 Squadriglia aircraft in the standard color but with an upper cowling and underside of the upper wing in black, also from 1942. The fourth option is a Swedish CR.42 with Wing F9 in 1942 and a white winter camouflage. Finally, a JG-107 trainer based in France during 1944. It has an olive green upper surface with large brown splotches and a light grey underside. The decal sheet is superbly printed. You'll have to scrounge swastikas for the German option from another source.
A real bonus with this kit is a 48 page booklet that has a short history with photos, a bunch of detail drawings from a tech manual, and then a lot more color photos of a restored version, showing a plethora of details. I found it interesting that on this aircraft, the struts were all a light grey, but the under surface color seemed to be aluminum paint instead of the often quoted light grey. The wraparound camo was also not hard lined, but extremely soft. I'm going to assume the museum got this wrong, otherwise some major re-thinking will need to be done about Italian underside camo.
This is a perfect opportunity for you to give away or sell off your other CR.42 kits as I don't think this one will be equaled for quite some time. Of course, you can always apply the unused bits from this kit to your others (like the Revell offering) to improve them.
Thanks to and DLV Company for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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