by: Mecenas [ ]
HistoryThe CR.32 fighter was designed by Celestino Rasateli. The prototype first flew in the 1933 and the orders for the Regia Aeronautica were placed in the following year. Freccia had its baptism of fire in the 1936 over Spain shooting down a Republican Nieuport 52. During the Spanish campaign it gained a reputation as one of the best biplanes of its time, proving to be much better than its adversaries' monoplanes such as the Soviet I-16 and SB-2. When the Italy had marched into the World War II the CR.32's still comprised more than 50% of all Italian fighters. In the following years Freccias saw action in every major Italian campaign: Libya, Tripoli, Greece, occupation of Crete, Italian East Africa. It stayed in active service with the Regia Aeronautica until 1942 when it was replaced by newer types.
CR.32 was used not only in the Italy but also in Austria, Germany (ex-Austrian machines), Hungary (ex-German), China, Venezuela and even Paraguay and Chile. In Spain about 100 examples were built on license as the HA-132-L Chirri. Some of them remained in service even up to 1953.
The ModelHmmm... what do we have in the box? Definitely a lot of resin, a photo-etched fret, three decal sheets and the instruction. All the resin parts are carefully put into separate bags depending on their “destination”. So, this way you get separate bags with wings, struts, landing gear, ailerons, rudder and stabilizers, cockpit details and so on and on. There is a separate bag with the fuselage halves joined together with a paper tape. All these parts are put into a “bubble-wrap bag” to prevent from any damage in the box.
The pictures shows the parts just as they were put out of these bags, I tried not to change anything, except two or three dry fittings :)
FuselageAs I said before, the fuselage halves were joined together using a paper tape. The alignment is almost perfect, there is no need to reshape anything. The only problem, not very serious I hope, which I noticed is a rift from the bottom side under the cockpit and engine sections. This will require some thick CA glue and putty. The construction structure was replicated one the cockpit side walls. There are also some anchor points for positioning other parts of the pilot's office. Other details, especially on the front part are crisp and sharp, although the canvas covering of the fuselage is soft and subtle.
WingsThe manufacturer provides two different types of lower wings suitable for every version of Freccia: CR.32, CR.32bis, CR.32quater. Although it is not mentioned in the instruction, I think that even “ter” would be possible to build. All wings, stabilizers and the rudder have a very detailed and subtle texture for the canvas surfaces. I do not know why, but this effect is much more visible on the ailerons. I tried to dry fit the ailerons with the wings. Well, even without removing the flash these parts did fit very well, rather tight than loose but with a slight scratch: one of the joints has a wrong position and requires one of two possible solutions – repositioning or widening a hole in the aileron. The mistake is not very big (only about 0.5mm), but it makes it impossible to join these two parts together. I tried to show it on the attached picture (file no.16).
The struts between wings are produced in typical Silver Wings style with a copper wire inside which makes the struts much more sturdy and also makes it easier to position them in the proper place on the wings or fuselage. This is a very good way in my opinion and other producers should follow it. I wonder if it would be possible in plastic kits?
Details & small partsWe have two types of details in the kit: resin and photo-etched. Using the PE fret we can detail typical parts of the model like seat belts, instrument panel, rudder pedals, levers in the cockpit, radio equipment, propeller spinner, mesh in the air intake etc. One of the most tricky and nervous moments, I'm afraid, will be building the engine cooler which consists of 56 tiny brass parts. This will require a lot of patience. Other details and small parts are made of resin. Each of these details will have to be separated from the pouring block. If you keep in mind that some parts are as tiny as the header of the match, these blocks will be quite useful while holding (but you probably already know that).
DecalsIn the box we can find one big sheet of decals (the size of the box) and two smaller ones. Using these decals we can finish the model in one of the following marking options:
1.CR.32 No. 154-4 from the 6o Stormo, 2o Gruppo, 154 Squadrigla “Diavoli Rossi”, Campoformido, 1936
2.CR.32quater No. 410-8 from the “Romantica Squadriglia”, Africa, 1941
3.CR.32bis, No. 147, Luftwaffe, I/LG 138, Asperne, 1938
4.CR.32bis, Luftwaffe, fighter trainer, 1942
5.CR.32bis, No. 3-51, “La Patrulla Azul” (there's a spelling mistake in the description of this scheme) (“The Blue Patrol”), 2-G-2, Zaragoza, April 1937 – airplane flown by the Comandante Joaquin Garcia Morato, an ace with 41 kills of Republican airplanes.
6.CR.32, No.7, 10o Gruppo Autonomo Caccia della Baleari, San Juan, Mallorca 1938
The decals carrier film is very thin, and I don't expect any problems with laying them on the model. Well, six different options with markings of three biggest users of the Freccia (Italy, Spain and German) should satisfy most modelers. Personally, for me the most interesting are the Spanish markings. If you take a closer look on the decal sheet you will notice that there are all the markings needed for Luftwaffe versions, although it is not shown on the painting scheme.
Instruction sheetThe instruction is printed in the book style. Pictures depicting each step of build are black but with the different colors with parts numbers, blue for resin and red for PE. There are also separate pictures showing the rigging. If you follow the instruction the building process should be straightforward.
Painting schemes are illustrated with a port side view of each machine in full color and upper and lower surfaces in shades of gray. There is no starboard side view provided.
General ConclusionWell, I think I should sum up all the pros and cons of this model. My final verdict is very positive. Fit of the major parts is nearly perfect, except the ailerons as above, so I do not expect any problems during construction. All the lines and panels are engraved, wickets are raised. Thanks to the scale it was possible to replicate a lot of details which producer has provided as the resin and photo-etched parts. There are also a lot of choices of colour schemes with plenty of decals for all the required markings. In just few words you get a complete kit which will not require any other expenses from modeler, something like a well known “Smart Kit” from Dragon. The model is definitely not for young modelers or those without any experience, and at least some experience with building resin models and biplanes is required. If you are not a greenhorn you should not be afraid of this model.
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