Little Italian Fighters, Pt. II: Italeri’s 1/72 CR.42 with MikeGrantDecals.com “Smoke Ring” decals

italeri-cr42-7As tough as my other little Italian fighter was to be build, this was one was that easy. I’ll get right to the bottomline- buy this kit- Italeri’s little CR.42 is a gem.

I really hate to use the oft-overused term “shake-and-bake”, I really do. So I won’t. But if this were chicken, all you’d need to do is put it in a bag with some tasty, seasoned coating mix, vigorously rattle the bag around, and place it in the oven.

The parts are beautifully cast, and there are options for several versions of this little fighter, and a very nice, colorful decal sheet. Interior detailing is very nice, and the surface detailing is equally impressive.

And one of the nicest touches is something I wish all model companies would do- a full color reference pamphlet with wartime photos, informative text, and color profiles.

Honestly, the only complaint I have is the side-opening box the kit comes in. And even that has some great artwork on it.

ike Grant Decals: Italian “Smoke Ring” Camouflage

When Mike sent me this CR.42, he tucked a nice little surprise in the box- a sheet of his smoke ring decals.

They’re ALPS printed decals, which Mike’s website says allows for soft-edges. I can testify to that- these little decals look great.

They are very, very thin, but go on easily, and an application of Pollyscale Decal Softener snugged them right down.

I did have to treat them with care, just as the instructions cautioned. I found that cutting them out with a new #11 blade, using a sheet of wax paper to protect the rest of the sheet worked best.

If you are planning to build any italian aircraft with the unusual smoke ring markings, get these decals. They will truly make your build stand out!

Visit Mike’s website to see these decals and more!

I started, of course, as described by Inter-Galactic protocols, with the cockpit. The parts for a simple little “tub” that fits nicely into the fuselage. For me it was the right balance “just enough” without being over-engineered. I did have one mental clutch slip… there is a little side panel that has a decal. I put the decal on the part, glued the part on- and realized I had the decal on the bottom of the part. Oh well…….

The fuselage went together well, with minimal sanding to hide the seams. The engine is a nicely cast, two-piece unit, with a nicely busy exhaust ring that is ultimately hidden by the cowl.

As this was only my second biplane build, I was a little gun-shy of wing alignment and strut construction after my CR.32 experience. Hats off to Italeri… everything just fits. I glued the struts on the lower wings and fuselage, allowed them to set a bit, added the top wing- and it was done. Once the glue dried, it was a stable little unit.

I added the wheels, tailplanes and a few other bits, and was ready to paint.

The kit comes with several interesting marking sets and choices of paint schemes. However, this kit came to me by way of Mike Grant, who graciously included a set of smoke ring decals. And the aforementioned pamphlet included with the kit had a color profile of a CR.42 with the smoke ring camo. Decision made!

I applied light gull gray to the bottom of the fuselage, and a coat of Italian hazel tan to the upper surfaces, both of the Pollyscale variety. I then put down a layer of Future, and added Mike’s smoke ring decals (see sidebar) to the upper surfaces. It took a little while, but I really, really liked the result- to my eye, it just looks pretty cool.

After those were down, I added the rest of the markings. As with other Italeri kits I’ve built, the decals were very good. They were thin and settled down nicely, needing just a little Pollyscale Decal Softener to fully snug down into panel lines.

I finished things off with an oil wash, and a coat of Pollyscale Flat.

What else can I say? This is simply a great kit. Even if you’ve never been interested in biplanes, Italian fighters, or Italian biplane fighters- you might want to pick this kit up. It’s truly an enjoyable experience.

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

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