KIT: Classic Airframes 1/48 Fiat CR.42 Idrovolante
KIT #: 498
PRICE: $39.95 MSRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Multi-media kit with resin and etched brass


Most of us are aware that the CR.42 was the last biplane fighter produced by any of the major countries. We also know that it was fine for the colonial forces, but pitted against modern European aircraft, it was a design that was obsolete before it first flew. Despite that, it gave good service where opposition was light or was fielded with obsolescent types.

For many years the R.A. was a staunch advocate for the floatplane fighter. However, as the speeds of fighters increased, the penalty of the floats became more and more of a detriment as the gap in performance between water-borne and land based aircraft widened.

However, in 1939, when the ICR.42 was being developed, the single seat floatplane fighter still seemed to have its uses. With Fiat up to its ears in orders, the development of the floatplane version was entrusted to CMASA. The prototype first flew in 1940 and an initial order for 40 aircraft was contemplated for use in sheltered waters along Italy's coastline. However, only the prototype was built as it became obvious by this time that the aircraft would be too vulnerable in areas where it might come up against enemy land based fighters.


Basically, this kit provides much of what is in their other CR.42 kits, but with the inclusion of floats. This means that all the landing gear bits will be superfluous to this variant.

The kit is very much what one expects from a modern Classic Airframes kit. There are three sprues of well detailed injected plastic, two photo etched frets from Eduard, and two bags of very nicely done resin parts. Also included is an injection molded windscreen. All of the flight surfaces are a single piece so that will help speed assembly. There are small indentations showing where the wing struts are to be located. The fabric effect is properly subdued with only a hint to show the underlying framework.

The interior is made up of a resin floor with etched metal framework and detail parts in both pe and resin. Very much in the manner of the Mirage PZLs. A very nice touch is a photograph of the completed, but yet unpainted interior. This allows you to see where the interior fits and what it should look like when it is all together. A nice surprise is that one of the Eduard P.E. frets is in color!

The resin is well done and one of the bags is basically a resin engine with separate crankcase and cylinders. It is almost a shame that it has to be covered with the engine cowling. Unlike the earlier kits, this one will not have any bomb racks as there was just the single prototype built.

The instructions are quite well done with addendum drawings for this particular boxing included with the standard instructions. Color information is provided in generic names and listed throughout the construction phases. I really like that CA has provided a photo of the interior showing where all the various bits and pieces are located. This is a nice touch and will be quite helpful. With only the prototype built, these are the markings provided. The aircraft is an overall silver color. Decals are superbly printed by Microscale.


This really is a most complete kit. The overall package is quite appealing and Classic Airframes has made great strides in the art of the limited run kit since its inception about a decade ago. If you have not tried a limited run kit, this one would be a good one to start with. Though it is a biplane, the rigging is minimal and since it is a floatplane, you'll have something unusual and quite eye-catching when done.

May 2005


Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume 6: Floatplanes. William Green, 1962

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