by: Sean Hadfield [ ]
This Build review is a follow-up to my earlier In-Box review (see Link).
The Fiat CR42 Falco is an Italian airplane developed on the heels of the CR32 which was very successful in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's, but technology quickly left this biplane behind. In WW II, it matched well against the British Gloster Gladiator in the Mediterranean Theater, but otherwise was outmatched and relegated to night harassment and training duties. Very noble were the pilots who flew this airplane as a fighter. Besides Italy, the aircraft was exported to Belgium, Hungary, and Sweden, and then after Italy capitulated, used by Germany as well.
As stated in the previous review, the kit parts are crisply molded, clean of flash, with fine panel lines. My earlier review neglected to mention the "weighted" tires (flat on the bottom edge) as well. There are six different aircraft options, with several optional parts for each.
The instructions begin with a handy parts map. Note that the parts on all three sprues are numbered beginning with 1, so that there are parts 1A, 1B and 1C, 2A, 2B and 2C, etc. that have no relationship with each other.
The instructions begin with the cockpit assembly. The cockpit pieces didn't really fall together well -- aligning it squarely was tricky for me, and the top rail piece didn't have any positive location. For such a small, deep cockpit, the detail is adequate. The painting direction is thorough, and of course the included reference book provides extensive photos of the interior parts.
The seatbelt is a decal, and there's no indication of how it should lie, and the museum prototype in the reference book seems to have no seatbelts.
In step two, we are already closing up the fuselage and attaching the lower wings. The headrest sat too tall, so I filed the bottom to clear the cockpit seat better. The rudder needed to be clamped while the glue set, but the seam was very good, and I didn't use any filler.
Step three is where we separate the men from the boys. I actually saved this step until nearly the last, because the camouflage painting was carried onto the top of the lower wings.
After painting, when you return to step 3, the instructions would have you apply all of the wing struts to the top wing then flip it and attach it to the fuselage and lower wing. The reality is that the strut lengths are not precise enough for this to work. I tried it but then removed the outer struts to focus my efforts on the alignment and set of the innermost ones first.
After the glue has set and dried, and the top wing is no longer swimming around, come back and apply the other struts.
Step four is the assembly of the engine and cowl pieces. The cowl is in four pieces, so while the
parts meet at prototypical panel lines, it can be tricky to line up them up while the glue sets.
The engine is molded in two pieces -- the front and rear banks of cylinders. Once you've cut parts 4A and 5A from their sprues, they don't really look like the picture in the instructions, so knowing which is which takes some study and test-fitting. The engine parts are keyed, so they only fit together correctly. I like how Italeri has modeled the exhaust ring as a separate piece.
The paint instruction shows the exhaust painted rust, but the museum prototype exhaust is black
primer, so I painted mine black with a light dry-brushing of rust.
Starting in step five, the builder must have decided which of the 6 build options to pursue. In my example, I chose Version E, the Swedish Air Force plane. To reduce confusion during the build process, I crossed out the instructions for versions I didn't want. It is exciting to see the wide range of optional parts for the six versions. Steps six, eight, nine, and ten did not apply to Version E.
In step seven, fitting the skis, do not follow the instructions to assemble the ski legs before attaching-- there would be no way to guess the correct angle. Instead glue the legs to the fuselage first, and then the skis to the legs, and let the airplane dry upright so that the skis rest flat to the ground. There is a seam to be filled where the ski halves join. If you are building any other version, note that the wheels are nicely molded flat on the bottom to portray the weight of the prototype aircraft on them, so again, glue the wheels on the legs last so that the flat spot is to the ground.
On my example, the propeller axle was snapped off and missing. I suspect the sprues knocked together in the plastic bag they shared. I drilled the back of the propeller and cemented a length of a paperclip in place with C.A.
The other problem I encountered in this build was certainly my fault. I attached the skis before masking and painting, then broke the thin legs
several times during painting and unmasking.
Finally, in decalling, as I mentioned in my In-Box Review, the Swedish version decals are short
two numbers, so instead of 12, my plane is number 1 on one side and number 2 on the other. The decal instructions call the cowl numbers "Alternative Positioning", but photos on the internet show Swedish planes during WW II to have numbers both front and back on the same plane.
For the German option, the Italian-made kit provides no swastika insignias for the tail in the decals or
on the colour profiles.
From my build photos, you can see that I struggled with my first attempt at a whitewash winter
camouflage over a two-tone green, and although I think I salvaged a realistic late winter finish, it sure is ugly. Clearly I have yet to learn the fine art of the airbrush. I can't put any blame on the kit for that. Otherwise, I hope this review helps you.