Two-winged throwback-ICM 1/32 Fiat CR-42
Reluctant to give up the high manueverability of the fighter biplane, the powers that be in the Regia Aeronautica accepted this design in 1939, despite the writing on the wall that monoplanes were the new wave. The British Gloster Gladiator and the Soviet I-153 were still in service, but being replaced, while the new CR-42 was just entering service. It was the Italian Air Forces most numerous fighter when Italy entered the War in June 1940. Soon they were in action over the Alps, the Balkans, briefly over England, and the North African desert, where swirling dogfights between the evenly matched Glosters of the RAF and the Fiats looked something like the lines over 1918 Arras. With the arrival of Hawker Hurricanes, and the Italian's own monoplanes, the CR-42's were bombed-up and relegated to ground-attack missions, and even the Luftwaffe used them like this after the Italian surrender. They served the Air forces of Belgium and Sweden also, the latter in service until 1944.
The fairly new ICM 1/32nd CR is a beauty. Another in a long list of WW2 airplanes I like, this one in my new favorite scale was a nice surprise, along with the I-153 and Gladiator. The kit is very nicely molded, and fits perfectly. The cockpit is a tad sparse, I put Eduard Italian chain link seat harnesses in it. I also wired up the engine, which is all it really needs to look sweet. There is an option to open cowling panels and display some of the workings. The strut set-up is well engineered, just glue them in the generous two-faceted mounting holes and everything lines up without a bit of fuss. I was able to leave the top wing off for painting, and when ready, just plop the upper wing right on, snick the struts in place, and glue it up.
The kit provides for 2 A/C, one in France 1940 and Sicily 1941. I wanted to do one I saw in the fine book "Desert Prelude", a Libyan based A/C flown by one Ernesto Botto, an Ace and commander of 9 Gruppo. I had seen that the silver Wings resin kit in 1/32 had the decals for this one. A big shout out to @jimmiesteve (Steve Oakson), who graces this site with his fine 1/32 builds, for being kind enough to send me the necessary decals to do this model.
The aeroplano in question had a extra finely mottled fuselage in the usual 3 Italian shades. For this I put into action my new badger "Sotar' airbrush, which is capable of doing some very fine lines when used right. As a base I used Mr. Color Sand Yellow, mottled with the last of the Model Master Italian Red Brown and Mr Color Olive Green. Mostly I had success but some tip drying and splatting was still encountered. Someday... My Sources said the wings were from a different plant so I sprayed them in a different, more rounded pattern. If you look at enough pics of CR-42's you will find the mottling patterns all over the map, so I feel fine about it. Said source also referred to Aluminum undersurfaces and light grey struts. Done and done. Local markings included white upperwing tips, red spinner, and 2 "X's" under the bottom wing, which photos showed to be different sizes and locations. why, I couldn't tell you. I made stencils and sprayed these in black.
The decals Mr Oakson sent, the numbers and wheel pant lightning bolts, worked beautifully on the left side, when I went to the other side , bang, they broke into several pieces. Same exact technique, both sides. You folks know from my previous diatribes how I HATE decals, so now the god of decalcomania is screwing with me, for sure. I managed to push and shove them back together somehow.
Fiddly bits included the venturi, M/G barrels, aileron cables and well-done windscreen, for which is provided mask templates. The "X" rigging on the outer struts was done with Radu Briznan flat wire. White glue works well with these.
A final flatcoat, with a bit of sandy dust mixed in, finished her up.
Yes indeed she's a shelf gracer. Very pretty birdie. Hopefully ICM keeps them coming, I know there's trouble about.
But I'm hoping for a CR-32 to sit next to it.