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CR.42AS Kit

Italeri 1/72 CR.42AS Falco Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2007 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject CR.42AS Falco Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1263 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice rendition of this aircraft Cons Book not included in this release - see text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $18.95

First Look

CR.42AS Kit
CR.42AS Kit
CR.42AS Kit
CR.42AS Kit

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. The CR.42AS was a variant of the type equiped to operate in the sand and dust of the North African desert.

Here is Italeri's second release of the CR.42, this time in North African colors. 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. The all-important special air filter is inside a fairing that mounts to the underside of the aircraft.

Parts are included to render the landing gear with and without wheel pants and two different propeller types.

In the previous release reviewed here, Italeri included a very nice color booklet providing a useful detailed walk around of the CR.42. For whatever reason, it is unfortunate that it wasn't included in this release as well.

Markings are included for six examples:

  • CR.42AS, 45, Scuola Caccia Assalto, Ravenna, April 1942
  • CR.42AS, 20-7, 20 Sqn, 46 Gruppo, 15 Stormo d' Assalto, El Adem, North Africa, Oct 1942
  • CR.42AS, 15-0, 15 Stormo d' Assalto, Barce, North Africa, Oct 1942
  • CR.42AS, 387-9, 387 Sqn, 158 Gruppo, 50 Stormo d; Assalto, Libya, Aug 1942

This is a very nice rendition of the CR.42AS Falco, I believe the Italeri kit is still the nicest of the lot.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!