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Fiat CR.32
Foreign Service

Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 4106 - Fiat CR.32 Foreign Service
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 33 parts in gray styrene, 22 parts in cream colored resin, 12 pre-painted and 26 unpainted etched metal parts and 1 clear injection molded windshield. Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide with markings for 5 aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$40.00 (available online for USD$35.96 from Squadron)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: 95% new tooling, painted etched metal.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Fiat CR.32 will be available online from Squadron




The Fiat CR. 32 was introduced in April 1933 and immediately became known for its superlative maneuverability.  Not only was it perceived as an excellent fighter, but it was also the star of Italian aerobatic performances. 

With its twin .303 Vickers or 0.50 cal Breda machine guns and excellent handling it was one of the preeminent fighters of the pre-war period, becoming known simply as the “Italian Fighter”. 

The CR in CR.32 stands for Caccia Rosatelli, or Rosatelli’s Fighter.  Celestino Rosatelli was Fiat’s chief designer. 



In 1/48 kit form, this Classic Airframes issue is the third offered to modelers.  Although I have no direct knowledge, I understand that a European vac kit was available many years ago.  The first kit was the SMER kit in approximately 1/50 scale.  The second was the Classic Airframes kit issued circa 1995.  Now Classic Airframes has once again brought out the CR.32, and it is a clear improvement on its predecessors. 

Having built two of the old SMER kits, spending hours sanding down the kits 2x4 struts and scratch building many other parts, I truly welcome this reissue.  This is especially so, as I had only one of the earlier CA offerings in my stash.





As I noted in the overview section above, this is actually a partial new tooling, but what is new amounts to 95% of the kit.  All that was retained from the previous issue are the upper and lower wings.  All things considered, they still look pretty good with very fine ribbed fabric surfaces. 

The big news in this kit is the one-piece resin forward fuselage and cowling.  In the previous issue of this aircraft, the forward part of the fuselage was a bit of a nondescript blob with just the forward face, with the gills and intake, in resin. 



The new forward end is a joy to behold.  The gills and intake are very finely done and the machine gun blast tubes are beautifully represented, needing no drilling. 

Test fitting appears to show that virtually no filler will be needed when attaching the resin nose to the aft portion of the fuselage.  One point must be noted.  The pour plug on the nose flares out so it cannot be used as a fitment to the fuselage.  You will either need to cut it off and shave down the lower portion, or sand it down so that it straight. 

The fine engraving on the parts in the rest of the kit are also a marked improvement over the previous issue.  The wheels and wheel covers are now molded as separate parts.  The struts also are more finely molded. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Another benefit of this new issue is the tail planes and rudder. They are all molded in fine resin.  The elevators are cast as separate pieces. 

Although they were rarely used in practice, the kit includes the lower wing-top machine gun coverings and barrels for the bis model.  In practice, these were found to erode the performance of the nimble CR. 32. 

Taking out the Ali D’Italia monograph on the CR.32, and setting the new pieces on the 1/48 drawing, the pieces seem to match nearly exactly. At this time, I’ve not heard that the Ali D’Italia drawings are inaccurate.


The decals are printed by Microscale and are well printed and in register. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

  • Austrian Air Force 1938 – Silver doped fabric, natural metal aluminum panels, and black struts.  I believe that this aircraft had the lower wing-top machine guns. 

  • Luftwaffe Fighter Trainer (Ex Austrian) – Silver doped fabric, natural aluminum panels, and black struts.  The swastika is in the white circle on the red fin band.  If you wanted, you could paint your CR.32 in a Luftwaffe camouflage scheme of ….?  You make the decision.  In the picture, is the first aircraft 70/71 or just a single green?  Is the Second aircraft in 61/62/63/65?  I believe these aircraft are from II Gruppen / JG 54

  • Royal Hungarian Air Force 1940-1941, 2 /3 “Wespe” Squadron – The aircraft was repainted in Hungary in a Medium Gray, Medium Brown and Dark Green topside camouflage with a Light Blue-Gray underside.  The aircraft carries the chevron national marking of the early war period.  There are decals for the colorful Wasp emblem. 

  • Royal Hungarian Air Force 1943, Pilot Training School (aircraft formerly of 1 / 3 “Puma” Squadron – The aircraft was repainted in Hungary in a Medium Gray, Medium Brown and Dark Green topside camouflage with a Light Blue-Gray underside.  There is a yellow fuselage band and lower under-wingtips.  This aircraft carries the cross style national markings as well as the red, white and green striped empennage. 

  • Chinese Air Force, Shanghai, 1943 – The instructions call for overall Olive Green.  However, I don’t believe that the exact colors are known.  It could have been a random Dark Green or even the Italian Verde Mimetico 3. 





With all due acknowledgement of my personal prejudice, I am quite glad to see a model of the CR.32 back in production.  This new issue looks particularly nice.  This may be an even better kit than the CR. 42 for a novice bi-plane builder.  The cockpit, in resin, appears far less fiddly than the intricate metal cage of Classic Airframes CR. 42. But like the CR>42, inter-plane rigging is minimal. 

Highly Recommended.



  • The Fiat CR.32, Profile Publications Number 22, Profile Publications Ltd., Berkshire, England.

  • Fiat CR 32, Ali D’Italia, La Bancarella Aeronautica, Torino 1996.


Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.

Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright © 2005 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 07 December, 2005
Last updated 30 March, 2006

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