Italeri 1/72 CR.42 Falco Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2006||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||1260||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice rendition of this aircraft||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$19.00|
In the 1930s, Italy's Air Force was one of the most powerful air arms in the world, but its planners missed the significance of monoplane fighters and the transition to enclosed cockpits, retractable landing gear on aircraft performance. By the time World War II had broken out, Italy's Air Force had fallen behind. Such was the case with the CR.42.
The Fiat CR.42 Falco was an evolutionary development of the CR.32 and would be the last military biplane design off of Fiat's production lines. First flown in 1939, the aircraft was placed in service with not only the Reggia Aeronautica, orders were also received from Belgium, Hungary and Sweden. The aircraft was even flown by the Luftwaffe.
Unfortunately, when the CR.42 first flew in 1939, it was already slower and under-armed compared to another fighter that first flew three years earlier - the Hawker Hurricane. Despite the CR.42's problems, the Italian aircraft industry found itself behind the power curve, and aircraft like the Mc.200 and G.50 were proving problematic. The CR.42 would remain on the front lines because there was nothing else available in those early years. By the time production ended in 1942, over 1,780 were built.
Here is Italeri's answer to the various CR.42 kits that have been released over the last few years. Who better than the Italians to get this unique Italian fighter captured in scale?
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a third containing the clear parts. The detailing on the kit is quite nice.
The cockpit is designed as a complete tub subassembly with tubular frames molded into the sidewalls to replicate the aircraft structure visible through the open cockpit. This tub drops into the fuselage and provides an excellent detailed view into the front office.
While the lower wings simply plug into the fuselage, the upper wing is attached to the lower wing and fuselage with an array of eight struts. While this shouldn't be a big deal for the seasoned biplane builder, the inexperienced builder will want to take their time and ensure the wing is parallel and square to the lower wing at each step of the way, especially after the last strut is installed and before the glue has really set.
The engine is a nicely detailed assembly complete with rear cowl flaps and exhaust collector ring with twin stacks. There will be detail to see through the cowling from all angles.
Parts are included to render the air-to-air fighter, the updated air-to-ground fighter, the aircraft on wheels or skis, and if using wheels, the option of landing gear with and without wheel pants.
Markings are included for six examples:
- CR.42, 162-6, 162 Sqn/161 Gruppo, Rhodes, Greece, 1941
- CR.42, 367, 367 Sqn, 151 Gruppo, 53 Stormo, Cameri, Italy, 1939
- CR.42, 377-4, 377 Sqn, Palermo Boccadifalco, Italy, 1942
- CR.42, 300-7, 300 Sqn, Clampino, Italy, 1942
- CR.42, Svenska Flygvapnet, Wing F9, Kiruna, Sweden, 1942
- CR.42, 86, JG 107, Nancy-Essay, France, 1944
Something new with this release is the inclusion of a reference book for the CR.42. This is a very nice addition to help the modeler along! The 46 page book contains a brief history of the aircraft with nice period photos (including a rare color photograph of an Italian Falco during WW2); 12 pages of excerpts out of the technical manual for the aircraft showing the various airframe assemblies in detail; 20 pages of color photos of a restored CR.42 on display in Italy, and ten color profiles illustrating the various camouflage colors and patterns used on the type. This reference is short, sweet, and to the point for getting the modeler through the build without having to purchase another reference. I've seen similar references cost about as much as the MSRP of this kit! Nice job Italeri!
This is a very nice rendition of the CR.42 Falco, and while I haven't seen the Revell version of this kit, I believe the Italeri kit is the nicest of the lot. The addition of the reference book is outstanding and would be nice to see with other subjects as well!
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!