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Classic Airframes 1/48 scale Fiat CR.42

Kit: No. 95-402
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Classic Airframes, P.O. Box 5775870, Chicago, IL 60657
Price: $29.95
Comments: Injection molded, 123 parts (25 resin, 49 photoetched, vacuum-formed canopy, steel tubing, printed film instruments), decals.

CLASSIC AIRFRAMES' second effort is the Fiat CR.42, one of the last biplane fighters to see combat. This Czech-made kit features injection-molded parts with fine recessed panel lines, lots of photoetched details by Eduard, and decals for two Regia Aeronautica fighters.

Since some of the photoetched and printed film parts are almost too small to handle, become familiar with all of the parts before beginning work. A numbered parts and decal list is provided on the four-page instructions.

Assembly is straightforward and parts fit is excellent. Attaching the upper wing to the fuselage is tricky, though. I reversed the order of assembly here, attaching the cabane struts between the fuselage and upper wing before adding the lower wings. This establishes the dihedral of the lower wings, but you must bevel the ends of each strut carefully and repeatedly test fit them. Close attention and hard work here pay off when the lower wings fit perfectly.

The cast-resin engine is a tight fit in the assembled cowl. Trim each separate cylinder flush with the bottom cooling fins before attaching them to the crankcase. If you don't, you'll have to sand off the tops of the valve rockers. Installing the photoetched pushrod ring to the front of the engine is a stretch, but it can be done with care.

Building the myriad cockpit details is a breeze, except for trimming the printed film instruments. The cockpit fits nearly perfectly inside the fuselage.

The painting instructions for the CR.42 I chose call for splotches of olive green over a base of green, but the information in Colori E Schemi Mimetici Della Regia Aeronautica 1935-43 by Gregory Alegi, et al., indicates the scheme was dark green splotches over a gray background. The lighter green appears to be the result of wide overspray from the blotches. I used Testor Model Master Euro I dark green (FS 34092) over Floquil dark gull gray (FS 36231) for the top camouflage, with Floquil Italian blue gray undersurfaces.

Applying the decals was a problem; they're ultra thin and tend to curl around the edge of the decal paper instead of sliding onto the model. Much fussing and a little Microset tamed them, and when they were dry the clear film disappeared.

I spent 35 hours producing my "Falco," more time than usual because of the photoetched details and dealing with two wings and a dozen struts. It's a project for experienced builders, but you won't need aftermarket detail parts.

The finished Fiat scales perfectly with measurements in the old Aircraft in Profile pamphlet by Gianni Cattaneo.

Al Jones

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