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Little Italian Fighters, Pt. I: SuperModel’s 1/72 CR.32

supermodel-cr32-7This was almost the build that wasn’t.

We’ll get to that part.

SuperModel’s Fiat CR.32 is a decent little kit, if you’re a patient builder. The surface detail  of the parts are a bit heavy, but I tend to not worry about things like that. The plastic is a bit odd in texture, fairly brittle in nature. And it didn’t respond real well to Tamiya Thin Cement… which actually turned out to be a good thing when all was said and done.

So anyway…. the build that almost wasn’t.

It started out good. I did a little scratch building in the interior. The kits parts were a seat, a floor, and… well, that was it. I added some ribs to the internal structure, a few boxes, a control stick and some rudder pedals. To be quite honest, I’m not sure how accurate it was. I looked at a picture of the CR.32’s interior a day or two before I did the interior work. So what I did do was from memory.

What were we talking about?

Anyway…. the fuselage went together well. No gaps to fill, just a little sanding and Mr. Surfacer…. well, I guess Mr. Surfacer and a little sanding is the correct order.

Then, things got a little odd. It started when I glued in the lower set of wings with the trailing edge forward. I should’ve noticed the little ribs poking out towards the front. Trouble was, I didn’t really discover the problem until I had the upper wing in place.

Thankfully, the upper wing was so messed up that it forced me to notice the lower wings. And by thankfully I mean I almost sent the little fighter on it’s maiden, and final, voyage at very high speed against the nearest wall. But I didn’t…. I sat back and had a hardy, jolly laugh that sounded like a mish-mash of Santa Claus and Freddie Krueger.

See, the wings struts are actually a series of styrene rods with no alignment pins. And where they fit on the wings can best be described as “angular warts”. The idea, according the single step in the instructions that covers it, is to align them all up and just add glue and they fit. Or that’s the idea. So I bulled through it, hoping somehow at the end it would work out.

It most certainly did not. Go on…. take a look. I’ll wait here until you finish laughing and return.

There…. you saw it. I saw it. We shall never speak of this again.

Obviously I had two choices- fix it, or stomp it into styrene mud. I decided on the former, just because I was not going to let it beat me.

After removing the top wings, struts, and the bottom wing, I stared at it for a while to try and figure out what to do. Some friends on the forum suggested I try a jig. Little good that did- I did the “Irish River Dance” stuff until my floor was worn down, and the wings were no better off than before. Some help they were.

So after catchng my breath, I thunk and thunk on it some more, and came up with a strategy.

What I needed was some alignment holes, and new struts. The kit struts were basically the same size as .020″ styrene rod. I decided to try drilling holes in the wings and basically threading the struts through the holes. It was a tedious process, but basically worked.

The rest was pretty straight-forward. The decals were pretty much unusable, having dried out pretty bad. No problem, though, as I’d been eye-balling the Spanish Civil War scheme, which could be almost entirely done with black and white and some masking tape. I did the markings, and having maskied them off, painted the undersides Pollyscale Light Gull Gray. Upper surfaces were Italian Hazel Tan. (The whole time I was painting that I kept thinking of the old “Hazel” show… wonder if she invented that color…? Hmmm…) Mottling was done with Panzer Red-Brown and Panzer Olive Green. Yes, you are correct, those are not the right colors. However, I offer three mitigating factors- 1.) the hobby shop is about 15 miles away, 2.) two bottles of paint would be almost $10, and 3.) no one would likely know if I did not tell them. So I won’t mention it if you won’t.

I was trying to do the mottling with my airbrush, but it did not work well, mainly due to my lack of technique with an airbrush. So I used a super-secret advanced method that oddly resembled using a sponge makeup applicator and dabbing paint all over the upper surfaces. From at least 4 feet away it looks positively like little blobs of paint.

I added a decal from the spares box so the plane would have a number on it. I chose “300” because it fit the space I chose to apply the decal. Is it realistic? Yep- sure is. That is a genuine decal.

I finished the whole thing off with a wash of black Warpigs Wash, and some Pollyscale Flat.

In the end, it looks pretty good, I think. Considering the work I had to put into it, I’m pretty proud of it. Would I recommend it to others? Depends on the type of modeler you are, I guess. I’ve never met a kit I didn’t end up enjoying or at least learning from. This one scored on both counts. If you’re not patient, I would say this isn’t the kit for you. If you like a challenge, then you’ll do OK with this. Really, the only problem is strut alignment…. take your time there AND DON’T GLUE THE LOWER WINGS ON BACKWARDS and you’ll be OK. 🙂

A very special thanks to Mike Grant for sending me this kit!