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Italeri 1/48 scale C.R. 42 LW

Kit: No. 2640
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Italeri, imported by Testor, 815-962-6654,
Price: $45
Comments: Injection-molded, 85 parts, decals
Pros: Good detail, great fit, engine can be exposed
Cons: No bombs for external racks
Italeri's new Fiat C.R. 42 kit is quite a surprise. Although Italeri has issued 1/48 scale World War II aircraft kits before, they have been reboxed kits from other companies. This one appeared with little notice to the modeling world. The list price is a departure for Italeri, too, as its previous kits of this size have been priced about half of this one.

The first issue is packaged as a Luftwaffe machine, cleanly molded in gray plastic with external bomb racks (but no bombs) and the unusual exhaust-flame dampeners. No pilot figure is given, and decals are limited to Luftwaffe aircraft.

The nine-piece cockpit module is adequately detailed and fits neatly into the fuselage. Both fuselage halves and the stub lower wings fit fine.

The instructions call for adding all of the wing struts to the assembled upper wing. I did this in stages, starting with the two key center struts. I carefully checked the angles of the struts and test-fitted the upper wing to the fuselage/lower wing after adding each strut. This worked well, and after everything was set, I glued the struts to the fuselage and lower wing.

The 14-cylinder, twin-row radial engine was easy to build and shows decent detail. The cowling is a multi-piece affair, and the instructions show how you can cut the panels apart if you want to show off the engine.

The kit features the modified wheel fairings associated with this German version, but the fully enclosed fairings are also included, suggesting a standard Italian C.R. 42 could be in the works.

At first glance, the single-piece windscreen appeared to have an ejector-pin mark right in the center panel, but no, it represents the reflector gunsight plate - nice touch.

I painted my model with a combination of Polly Scale Italian and Luftwaffe colors. The decals have a flat finish but looked good after the model was treated with an overall flat coat. I didn't rig this model, but the only wires on the C.R. 42 were cross bracing inside the outer interplane struts.

The model's dimensions and appearance matched the specifications and photos in Squadron/Signal's Fiat C.R. 32/C.R. 42 in Action. I finished my C.R. 42 in just 13 hours. It was easy to build, and I'm pleased with the finished product. It's a good kit if you fancy WWII Italian fighters, or if you want to try your hand at building a biplane.

- Jim Zeske


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