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CR.42 LW

ICM 1/32 CR.42 LW Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2020 Manufacturer ICM
Subject CR.42 LW Scale 1/32
Kit Number 32021 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $64.99

First Look

CR.42 LW
CR.42 LW
CR.42 LW
CR.42 LW

Fiat's CR.42 Falco was a sesquiplane fighter developed for the Regia Aeronautica in the late 1930s. The Falco was developed from the CR.32 fighter which added numerous improvements including a supercharged Fiat radial engine rated at 841hp. Armed with two machine guns, the Falco also had four underwing hardpoints for bombs as well. While initially developed for air defense of Italian cities, the Regia Aeronatica would deploy the CR.42 into a variety of combat theaters. The Luftwaffe procured 200 of these aircraft for ground attack roles including anti-partisan interdiction missions at night, designated as the CR.42 LW (Luftwaffe).

ICM has shifted some of its focus to 1/32 biplanes after Roden had the domain to itself in the Ukraine and greater Europe. With the loss of Wingnut Wings on the other side of the planet, ICM could fill some of this void. Earlier this year, ICM announced two biplane projects: the Fiat CR.42 and the Stearman PT-17. While Roden beat ICM to market with their own PT-17, that kit was an unqualified failure. I am hoping that ICM got that one right (see our first-look here). In the meantime, ICM has released two versions of the CR.42 so far, one in standard Regia Aeronautica service, and this one in Luftwaffe service. Let's take a closer look:

This kit is a simple layout and consists of five parts trees molded in gray styrene plus one tree of clear parts. The molding is sharp with nice details inside the cockpits and around the airframe. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed Fiat engine
  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Nice surface detail on the instrument panel and instrument faces provided as decals
  • Positionable elevators
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Choice of open or spatted main gear
  • Optional flame-damping exhaust pipes for night operations
  • Optional bomb load

The decal sheet provides marking options for two aircraft:

  • CR.42 LW, 2./NSGr 9, Turin, Italy, 1944
  • CR.42 LW, NSGr 20, Strasbourg, France, 1943

The color schemes look like their respective paint shops were competing for the best camoflage based upon spots and graffitti. I looked to the Monogram book for a look at the Luftwaffe CR.42 color schemes but there is no coverage of that airframe. Michael Ullmann's 'Luftwaffe Colours' title has a single photo which is out of the same Strasbourg unit which indicates that those color schemes are consistent across NSGr 20 and the relative size of the swastikas on the tail (not included in this kit).

It looks like ICM has done a great job with this kit and this will make for a good contest entry as Luftwaffe fans do a double-take at either of these paint schemes.