FIAT BR.20 ”Cicogna”, I-Type (私はタイプする), IJAA, 12th Sentai, China 1939

  • 167 posts
  • Last reply 1 day, 3 hours ago
  • 1/72, BR.20, Cicogna, Empire of Japan, Italeri
Viewing 1 - 15 of 167 posts
  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Hi everyone!
    After the greatest news that our beloved Empire of Japan Group Build will continue strong, here is my latest entry!

    The FIAT BR.20 “Cicgogna” (Italian: “stork”) was a low-wing twin-engine medium bomber that holds the distinction of being the first all-metal Italian bomber to enter service. At the time, it was regarded as one of the most modern medium bombers in the world.
    Japan acquired 82 BR.20s and put them to good use, during the second Sino-Japanese War, progressively withdrawing them, due to obsolescence, from September 1939 onwards. They were not used operationally during WWII.

    The Italeri kit has its origins back in 1972, molded absolutely without any changes ever since! That said, it looks like a very good kit, nice and solid! Panel lines are, of course, raised (no problem for me).
    Here’s a look at the sprues:

    Transparencies are many, as to deal with different nose configurations. They look a bit thick:

    Instructions are the typical “pamphleted” Italeri, very nice!

    Decals look perfect;

    printed by Zanchetti Buccinasco, current (I think) supplier of Italeri kits decals, they are perfect registered. I have used them in the past and, all I can say, is they are “Cartograf”.
    I am going to depict the “splinter” style scheme that is posted on top of this topic;

    a scheme I loved at first sight (in fact, I could not believe my eyes when I took notice of it, as I sneaked into the kit half a year ago). I so wished to tackle it within the EoJ GB. To my absolute joy, I can do it now!

    If you can spare a couple of more minutes, please read below a quick (praise wiki) operational history of the Japanese BR.20s.

    Cheers, GREAT EoJ GB!

    The BR.20s in Japan

    In July 1937, when Japan entered into full-scale war with China (the Second Sino-Japanese War), the Japanese Army Air Force found itself short of modern long-range bombers, pending the delivery of the Mitsubishi Ki-21 “Sally”, which was undergoing prototype trials at the time, and thus required the interim purchase of aircraft from abroad. Italy was willing to give priority to any Japanese orders over its own requirements, and offered both the Caproni Ca.135 and the BR.20 bombers in order to meet their needs.

    Following an evaluation of both aircraft by the Japanese, it was determined that while the Caproni could not meet the Japanese requirements, the BR.20 closely matched the specification. In addition, the BR.20 had acquired a positive reputation as a relatively fast and durable aircraft in combat during the Spanish Civil War. Accordingly, during late 1937, an initial order was placed by Japan for 72 BR.20s; this was soon followed by another order for a further 10 bombers.

    During early 1938, the first BR.20 were shipped to Dalian, Liaoning, in Japanese-controlled Northeast China, after which they were transported on for assembly and flight testing purposes. In Japanese service, the BR.20 (designated the I-Type (Yi-shiki)) was used to supplement and eventually replace the obsolete Mitsubishi Ki-1, equipping a pair of bomber groups (the 12th and 98th Sentai) located in Manchuria. The I-Type was heavily deployed on long-range bombing missions against Chinese cities and supply centers during the winter of 1938–39. The BR.20s were operating with no fighter cover at the extremes of their range and consequently incurred heavy losses from Chinese fighters, as did the early Ki-21s that shared the long-range bombing tasks.

    The fabric-covered surfaces were viewed as vulnerable, even if the main structure of this aircraft was noticeably robust. Apostolo stated of the negative coverage: “This may not have in fact been true, as the BR.20s had a metal-skinned wing and not fabric covering as claimed in the Japanese Press at the time”. Amongst Japanese pilots, the aircraft was considered to possess unsatisfactory range and defensive armament; however, the first Ki-21s that entered service were not much better, except for their all-metal construction and the potential for further development when better engines became available (both types initially used two 746 kW/1,000 hp engines).

    The 12th Sentai was redeployed to the Mongolian-Manchurian border to fight in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, but when this conflict ended, in September 1939, the BR.20s were progressively withdrawn and replaced by the Ki-21.Despite having been phased out from operational service, the BR.20 was allocated the Allied reporting name “Ruth”.

    More to come!

  • Pedro L. Rocha said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Spiros my friend, this is a very nice choice. The BR.20 was not a stellar bomber but it had a certain charm. Your model is also a good reminder that Japan bought a lot of foreign designs during the 20s and 30s of last century, some reaching front line units as the BR.20 for example.
    I remember building this kit long ago, and it build rather well from memory. Pity only CA made this one in 1/48. Perhaps ICM will fill that gap someday

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    One can always count on you popping up yet another interesting build @fiveten! Strapped in my friend.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks my friends @holzhamer and @airbum!
    Pedro, you are so right about Japan buying a lot of foreign designs during the 20s and 30s. One sound example of what you mentioned might be the 6 Mitsubishi Ki-20s, domestically license built Junkers G.38s (of which only 2 were built!), that Japan possesed. They were used as heavy bombers!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    And here we go!

    I attached the cabin windows from the insides of the fuselage halves…

    And assembled the wings.
    Fit is good. Some warping was present at the wing halves, but things self levelled upon joining.
    Hard to believe this is an early 70s mold!
    Cheers, EoJ GB!

  • George Henderson said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Looking forward to this one Spiros. Just the scheme I would have chosen had there been a sanely priced 1:48 version

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks my friend @blackadder57!
    Yep, this is such a cool scheme!

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I suspect this one will be easier than what I hear of the Special Hobby 1/48 kit. Particularly when @fiveten works his “Old Kits Magic” on it.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks my friend @tcinla!
    Yep, the kit looks nice, straightforward and quite simple.
    I had a look st the SH instructions and it looks like what you heard about the difficulty of putting that kit together is true…
    Still, I am going to put those instructions to good use, as a guide to possibly extradetail some of my kit’s areas… 🙂

  • Csaba said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Wow, an Italeri BR.20! I remember the early days of my modeling career – I had a single Italeri catalogue at home, and the local hobby shops had mainly Italeri, Matchbox and Airfix kits. I always wanted to et the BR.20, but for some reason I never bought one. So, at least I will see one assembled, it is rarely seen online.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks my friend @pikofix!
    Concering its age it’s a really nice kit! So, here is today’s progress:

    Cicogna madness!

    I attached the cabin components to the starboard fuselage half:

    I then painted the innards Hu120, for the Italian interior green…

    …and assembled the fuselage. Fit was not good at the front, I had to trim the cabin fllor a bit, but then was nice!

    I then assembled the nose, which is supplied in transparent parts.

    The sprue gates were very close to the part itself, so I carefully detached them with my Excell#11:

    …and assembled them…

    Then it was exhausts time; the kit supplied parts looked lifeless:

    The should be hollow, with two reinforcing mini struts, as in the pic;

    I hollowed them with my mini drills and attached two pieces of stretched sprue. Here’s hoe the “improved” exhaust looks, compared to the “kit stock”

    and here are both of them, loking more alive!!!

    The wheel wells were totally devoid of details. Surprisingly, even the quarterscale SH/CA limited run Cicogna offers no details there: the reason, after some net search, was that no sufficient photo wvidence seems to exist!!!
    Well, I could not live with totally empty wells, so I used trusty supplies of my sons’ ice cream cups

    …and cut suitable pieces, as to partly box the wells. Faired with liquefied styrene, here’show they look now:

    Upon curing, some stretched sprue pieces will be attached, in order to add some interest.
    Cheers, great EoJ GB!

  • John Healy said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Great choice, Spiros. Thanks for the history on this one. I always wondered how these ended up in Japanese service. I’ll be following closely. I’ve always wanted to build that kit in Spanish Civil War colors.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks my friend @j-healy!
    The Cicogna looks so cool in Spanish markings!

  • Louis Gardner said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Spiros, @fiveten
    This is a kit that I don’t have in the stash, nor have I ever owned one in any scale. If I was to try and find one today, I would definitely go for the 1/48 CA kit, since my eyesight up close and fat sausage fingers are what keep me from building in this scale anymore.

    This plane will be amazing and I am definitely signed up to watch you create yet another masterpiece. In turn for using ice cream cone plastic, do your sons get to test fly the planes when they reach the painting stage ??? Everyone knows that aircraft must go on an acceptance flight before signing off on them. 🙂

  • Stephen W Towle said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Spiros what a neat project that rarely gets done. A Japanese bomber ala Italian take out. I am sure the Chinese hated these planes however, the model is a spring board for further reading and of course model making. Look in good.

Viewing 1 - 15 of 167 posts