KIT: Italeri 1/48 Fiat CR.42 LW
KIT #: 2640
PRICE: $45.00 (though price may change when it finally gets here)
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Developed from the successful CR.32, an aircraft that did so well in the Spanish Civil War, the CR. 42 was the last new build biplane fighter from any of the major powers. Of mixed construction, it had a metal tubular frame covered in fabric with the forward section covered in sheet metal. It was also a commercial success being ordered and used by Sweden, Belgium, and Hungary as well as the Italian Air Force. Though obsolete when it first flew, the CR.42 continued in production throughout the war with later versions being used by Luftwaffe night fighter units.


For decades we had no 1/48 CR.42 until Classic Airframes released their short run kit several years ago. While nice, it had some issues in terms of dimensions. This kit was retooled last year and produced in a much nicer version. So it was with much surprise that we find Italeri producing the same aircraft as a 1/48 kit. Now one might think that I'd compare the two, but really, it is an apples and oranges thing. The CA kit is a short run multimedia kit with lots of resin bits and pieces. This is a mainstream injection molded kit and so does not have the usual resin and photo etched bits that one finds in short run kits. Not the same animals at all.

What one does find are two large sprues that fill a pretty good sized box. The only thing in a bag is the clear windscreen, this one having an indentation on the forward portion, probably for a telescopic sight, though one is not indicated. All the parts are molded in a nice grey plastic with the required engraved detailing. The interior is quite complete with a seat, instrument panel, rudder pedals, control stick and side panels, each with nice detailing. I found it interesting that the general color of the interior was given as light grey and not the Italian Interior Green I thought would be more appropriate for Italian aircraft. Both decals and raised detail panels are offered for instruments and a seatbelt decal is provided.

The general surface detailing of the wings and stabs seems a bit overdone in terms of hills and valleys (actually, these are more like flat areas with ridges) as I believe these features are a lot more subdued on real planes. An easy enough job to sand them down a bit if one wants. Wing strut placement slots are easy to locate and should do well to keep things nice and solid. I should mention that some of these struts have small sink areas in the thickest parts so have the filler handy. This is true of several other parts in the kit so be advised that they are there and will have to be taken care of in one fashion or another. The engine in nicely done with two rows and push rod detailing separate. The cowling is a front, aft, and two center sections (the bits with the rocker arm clearance bumps). You can display this with the center sections removed to show the engine should you wish. The exhaust collector ring includes the exhaust outlets themselves. For a proper night fighter the longer flame dampers will be attached. One also gets the long sand filter.

Bomb racks are included but no bombs are provided. These night fighters used the landing gear with the lower wheel pants removed and those are included as well as a standard set. Finally, two types of spinner are given. I should report that on my kit, the gun barrels and rudder actuating rods had broken off the sprue. One barrel is completely missing and one actuating rod is broken with half of it gone. This is thanks to not having the sprues in a bag so the sprues are free to rattle around, making breakage a problem. The box they are in has small openings in the bottom near the corners through which these parts can disappear as the box itself is not shrink wrapped (it uses those little circular bits of tape to hold the box closed).

Instructions are quite good, providing clear construction sections with color information given as needed. These are all given as Model Master Enamel and Acryic references as well as a generic name. Markings are provided for three similar aircraft with NJG 9. They all have RLM 76 undersides and what seems to be a Dark Green upper surface. This is then heavily mottled with Italian Dark Brown and either RLM 76 or RLM 75 in large splotches. The underside of the wings and tail planes are mottled with RLM 74 and RLM 75. Face it, with schemes like this, it will be fun to paint! I should also mention that Italeri printed the camo scheme pages in reverse as the upper and lower painting guide for Version B is just before Version A's. Decals are well printed, matte and should provide no surprises.


It always seems as if when you really want something, you get nothing for a long time and then two of them! The Italeri kit is one that I know most of you will want. It doesn't require exotic cements or construction techniques. You know that it will build without any real surprises and it is very nicely detailed. What's more, you know that there will be additional boxings. It is only common for a company to do a new release in a version that may not be the most popular, just to judge on how well the other versions will sell. If you have decals already, then you can build a standard CR.42 from this with a bit of cutting and digging in the spares box. (I'm referring to the carb intake in this regard). This one is going on the fast track to completion so I should have a full build review for you soon.

Thanks to Testors for the preview kit.

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