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Classic Airframes 1/48 CR.42 Floatplane Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2005 Manufacturer Classic Airframes
Subject Fiat CR.42 Floatplane Scale 1/48
Kit Number 498 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Excellent detailing in the cockpit, Eduard color photo-etched parts included! Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The Fiat CR.42 fighter 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. By the time production ended in 1942, over 1,780 were built.

The ICR.42 was a concept of providing the Italian Navy with dedicated air defense fighters. The CR.42 was fitted with floats in place of the landing gear, enabling the ICR.42 to operate from water. Unfortunately, by the time the aircraft was ready for operations, it was also obsolete - easy prey for the current generation of fighters coming into service.

This is the first of the CR.42 series I've had an opportunity to see, and I like what I see! The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees. The first two parts trees are common to all of the CR.42 releases whilst the third tree is obviously unique to the floatplane fighter.

I keep saying this in Classic Airframes reviews, but each release from Classic Airframes raises the bar on their injection molding standard as these parts are sharply detailed with crisp panel lines and detailing. No flash is apparent on any of the parts and you can see the simple layout for yourself.

Resin parts are at a minimum in this kit, with the vast majority used for the 14-cylinder radial engine. If you look closely at the photo-etched fret on the right, you'll see that Eduard has not only developed the two photo-etch frets for this kit, that one in particular is using their new pre-finished color process. Remove the parts from the fret, superglue them into place, and move on.

The photo-etch fret on the left has some extensive framing there. These represent the tubular fuselage structure as seen looking into the cockpit. With all of these parts installed in that open cockpit, you should see some nice looking detail!

The aircraft painting and markings were simple - the entire airframe was finished with aluminum dope over the fabric and an equivalent paint over the metal sections. Bare metal would not have been an option on a seaplane (for very long). Decals are provided for the concept aircraft with basic national markings and Regia Aeronautica emblems.

If you're a seaplane builder and/or a fan of unique aircraft modeling subjects, this ICR.42 is a nice offering that will be an easy build for someone with experience working with resin and photo-etched parts. Regia Aeronautica fans in particular will want to have this last Fiat biplane fighter floatplane in their collections.

My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!