Thursday, August 5

Build Review Pt.1: 1/32nd scale CR. 42CN WWII Italian Night Fighter From ICM Models

ICM's new 1/32nd scale Fiat CR,42 Falco "CN" model replicates the famous Italian night fighter of World War Two. Alister has finished his already, and today he gives us the first of a two-part build of the kit in a handy review guide. See what he thought about it in his story...

Build Review Pt.1: CR. 42CN WWII Italian Night Fighter
From ICM Models
Kit No #32024
1/32nd scale
Model Length 258mm / Width 303mm
Number of Parts 178
Four marking choices in the box
ICM 1/32 CR.42 CN build review by Alister Curnow
Today I am pleased to present to you the Fiat CR.42 Falco, from the ICM kit set number #32024, which allows the modeller to build the “CN” variant of this classic biplane fighter designed and built in Italy. 
The CR42 evolved from the earlier CR32 model biplane that saw service in the Spanish Civil War, with the major change being the move from the water-cooled V12 piston engine in the CR32, to the more powerful supercharged and air-cooled Fiat AR74 radial engine. 

Italian footage from the war showing the night fighter variant of the CR.42
The kit from ICM:
ICM released the first 1/32 scale model of this aircraft type with kit #32021 in September 2020, and have now followed up in May 2021 with this variant, the CN type. The letters CN in the name mean “Cacciatore Notturno” or "Night Hunter". This kit comes with extra parts to build the night fighter on sprue tree G, which contains parts for exhaust flame dampeners and parts for a searchlight system fitted to the CN aircraft. Four decal options are included in the kit, two in an all-over black scheme, and two with a more traditional day fighter camo on top, as pictured below: 

Number #300-7 based in Ciampino, MM7584 year 1942, flown by Corrado Ricci. Deputy for the defence of Rome in his aircraft on a night take off,
I will be completing my CR42 in a somewhat hybrid scheme, based on a black and white WW2 photo, but more on that later in the build. 

The kit is supplied in a nice sturdy box, and this all travelled very well all the way from the Ukraine to myself here in New Zealand without any damages. Inside are the six main sprue trees, two clear sprues, an instruction booklet in glossy colour, and the decal sheet. The decals look excellent, very glossy and well presented. With around 160 parts to the kit, this will result in a nice sized model in this scale with a 303mm wingspan. The design and moulding of the plastic looks great from the first look, with some smart choices made by ICM in the construction method. So without further ado, let’s start building. 
Step one in the manual is to prepare the cockpit, so we start with the floor and build our way up from here. The detail in the cockpit is excellent, but using photos online from two static museum display aircraft, I can see scratch builder modellers definitely have room to improve things here. The cockpit is only viewed from the small opening, so I’ve just gone with the box supplied details for you here. At the time of writing, Eduard and Yahu Models do offer some aftermarket improvements for this kit which can be used to super detail this area a little more. After tidying up the parts the cockpit layout can be seen for you here prior to being painted, and then glued together. 
I mentioned the two museum aircraft earlier, and my colours for this aircraft are mostly picked (and/or) custom mixed by eye to match these colour photos from the museum display aircraft. I could only find one colour photo of a CR42 taken in WW2 online. The cockpit walls and engine firewall as such have been painted with a base of Vallejo 71312 IJN Medium Grey, and the rest in Vallejo 71046 Pale Blue Grey. Once painted I’ve weathered this with some Ammo Dry brush paint Light Metal (A.MIG-0621) for the weathered paint look. After this, a thin mix of Ammo Starship Filth Oil brusher mixed with thinner is applied all over with the excess rubbed off as required. Final dry powder weathering is achieved with some Ammo Dark Earth pigment for the seat and footwell area, and a little brown pastel powder is rubbed into the dry brushed metal to give it a slightly rusted look.
The side instrument panels were hand-painted with Vallejo acrylics and decals applied for the gauges from the decal set. The cockpit dials were all individual decals for each dial, so this made these really easy to line up with their respective raised detail on the panels, with no clear backing sheet to worry about. The cockpit sidewalls were attached;
And then the rest of the cockpit framing and seat back could be attached also. My leather headrest was painted with Vallejo Game Air 72740 Leather Brown, then I lightly stressed and weathered it with some very light streaks of Tan coloured paint. The main instrument panel is in two halves on this aircraft, with these mounted into each half of the fuselage before the two halves are joined. The mounting of the cockpit assembly into the fuselage was hassle-free, everything fitted very nicely. 
The fuselage join was excellent, and I used a little filler on the join top and bottom before sanding these smooth. It’s just my standard practice to use filler, it’s probably not really required. With the fuselage together I decided to skip a few steps in the manual and start on the engine. There is a lot of detail included here, and the kit allows the builder to leave two sides of the engine cowling off and display the engine which is a nice feature. There are 14 steps in the manual to build the engine. I started this by removing all the required parts to be metallic and painted them in Tamiya Gloss Black, but for the engine cylinders, these were done in Tamiya Rubber Black. 
The cylinders were then dry brushed with touches of Vallejo Model Air Gun Metal and the Ammo dry brush paint Light Metal. The grooves in the cylinder heads then had Tamiya Black panel line wash applied to them. The rest of the engine parts pictured could then be airbrushed in Vallejo Model Air Aluminium, with the exhaust pipes done in Vallejo Metal Colour Burnt Iron. The quality of the engine parts is very nice, but as each bank of the engine cylinders are moulded in two pieces, this results in a join line down the centre of the tops of the engine cylinders that is difficult to remove. As this won’t be seen from the front looking in, but would be viewed from the side, I opted to fit the engine cowls onto the finished model.

After painting the engine cylinders I drilled out the spark plug holes, and used some lengths of fuse wire to attempt to add some electrical wiring to the cylinders. For my first try to do this, it was a good experience with room to improve for next time. The engine had some Vallejo Dark Gull Grey paint applied by hand in places that were painted on the real engine, before a bit of weathering grime was applied by Ammo Engine Grime.
The engine exhausts now needed a bit of a rust treatment over the burnt iron paint. For this, I lightly dry brushed some spots of patchy Vallejo Orange Rust onto the pipes firstly. Following this, I apply a mix of Tamiya Brown Panel Line wash combined with brown artist pastel dust. This mix is then brush painted on, and results in a nice rusty look for the iron exhausts. The exhausts mounted really well to the main engine block, and things were starting to look really nice here. 
The engine covers and cowl can now be fitted to the engine itself, I found these parts did not fit together as perfectly as the rest of the kit has so far, and ideally would be most suited to leaving the two side covers off to display the engine inside. As such, I needed a little bit of water-based filler to fill the gaps where the panels didn’t meet up perfectly. I opted for cowl flaps open, and then masked up the rest for painting. The exhausts are wrapped in plastic wrap to protect them for painting. The engine will be left off for all the painting steps to come, as it will be a simple fit at the end.
I completed some of the smaller subassemblies following the engine work, such as the propeller and wheels as pictured below. These build up just fine, and the design of the wheels allows for rolling wheels on the kit. 
Each wheel is supplied in two parts requiring a little bit of sanding to remove the join in the centre of the tyre tread, but as there is no moulded tyre tread pattern, no remedial work on the tread is required. As can be seen here, I decided to paint the wheels and tyres by hand after the main airbrush paint work was done, as only a small portion of the wheel and tyre can be seen. The wheels and wheel boots went together extremely well. A light sanding was all that was needed for the joins on the two halves of the wheel boot, the fit of this was excellent.
Flying surfaces could now be done, starting with the tail section. The rudder mounts in easily and is a perfect fit. The elevators and tailplane built up well, but had a prominent join gap joining these to the fuselage, where there is none on the real aircraft. So this was filled with Tamiya White filler, and then when dry sanded back to smooth. 
The tail wheel assembly was built and fitted at this time too. The join of this to the fuselage should not be filled as this is the turning mechanism of the tail wheel. 
The top nose section fits at this point to the front end of the fuselage, and is also a very nice fit, with just a little water-based filler in the joins used. I started the lower wings, and diligently followed step 59 which shows four holes to be drilled in each wing. However, the underwing searchlights to install later in the build only need two holes each. I ended up needing to count wing ribs to decide which two holes to keep, and which two holes on each wing needed filler to fix. I expect step 59 in the manual is a copy and paste of another version of the kit, which does require the four holes to be opened up. 
The lower wings were glued in place tightly pushing them up against the fuselage, and then also filled the joining gap here with water-based filler. The wing join follows a panel line so is quite a convenient location for this. 
The top wing is supplied as two parts, upper and lower, and separate ailerons (not positionable). At this point, the top wing was joined together as well. The mounting guides did not fit particularly well and left a gap in the leading edge of the wing. They needed a little trimming to close the joint properly, and I used filler and sanding to ensure a smooth finish for the leading edge. 
Pictured below is the final look at the unpainted model (photographed prior to sanding back the filler on the elevators). With that sanding done, the cockpit could be masked up, and a coat of dark grey primer from Ammo One-Shot was applied.
The next part of the build at this link sees the choice of scheme, the painting, wear and weathering of the kit before it is finished very nicely..
Alister Curnow

Thank you to ICM for sending this to Alister to build. You can find out more info on this kit on the ICM Website
See more of Alister's work on his Facebook page "Alister's Model Hangar"