Click on any of the links below for a summary of that company and any kits produced.

BredaCaproniCantIMAM RomeoRosatelli FIATGabrielli FIATCMASA & CANSA

MacchiPiaggioReggiane Savoia Marchetti SAI AmbrosiniSchneider seaplanesTrainers

Other points of interest.

The fasce symbol, adopted by the Mussolini regime, has an interesting history attached to it. Thought to have Estrucan origins, it was adopted by the Romans to be used by magistrates as a symbol of power. They were carried by lictors before the magistrate and is essentially a thick bundle of reeds tightly bound by a red leather strap into a cylinder, encasing a single-headed axe. The protruding blade symbolised the power of capital punishment.The wing insignia used on Regia Aeronautica was based on this device, where the blades always faced towards the wing tip. The full colour fuselage fasce is applied as a decal (as is the Savoy Crest) and I have yet to see a printed fasce or Savoy Crest decal in any kit that accurately depicts these complex graphics. The blue background, in most cases, is usually far too bright and the crest way too simplified. The best I’ve seen are those printed for Pacific Coast Model kits.

Aircraft designations.
Some, but not all, Italian aircraft manufacturers used the initial the aircraft designers surname in its designation. Hence ‘Z’ for CANT aircraft designed by ing. Zapatta, ‘G’ for FIAT’s designed by G. Gabrielli and ‘C’ for Castoldi’s Macchi designs. Ing. Rosatelli’s FIAT aircraft featured a lower case ‘r’, hence Br.20, Cr.25, Cr.32, Cr.42 and so on. There are exceptions though. Reggianes were designed by ing. di Longhi, but used the ‘RE’ suffix. Breda, Caproni and Piaggio are similar examples.

Unit insignia.
An attractive feature that was often inspired or designed by pilots, unit insignia were found on nearly all aircraft. Most widely known is the ‘cavallino rampante’. It first appeared on the aircraft of Italy’s WWI air ace, Francesco Baracca. Practically all 10° Gruppo had this device. It was donated to Enzo Ferrari by the Baracca family. Other long lived symbols, such as ‘diavolo rosso’, ‘the archer’, ‘scarecrow‘ & ‘black cat’ are still seen on modern day AMI aircraft. The ‘vespa arrabiata’ has been adopted by this site. Pacific Coast Models adopted the ‘gigi tre osei’ symbol.

Published material.
Despite the rather specialist nature of the Regia Aeronautica, there is a surprising amount of printed material. Some have since gone out of print and may be hard to track down. The best reference source, for me, has always been the bi-lingual titles published by GAE and La Bancarella Aeronautica. This includes the ‘Ali d’Italia’, ‘mini Ali d’Italia’, ‘Ali e Colori’, ‘Ali Straniere in Italia’ series and ‘Aerofan’ magazine.  Other books to mention are: Chris Dunnings ‘Courage Alone’, J. Thompson’s ‘Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945’, and U. Postiglioni & A. Degl’Innocenti’s ‘Colori Schemi Mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943’.  Honourable mention also must go to IBN Editore, their Aviolibri dossier series and the modelling guides authored by Maurizio di Terlizzi, in which he showcases his extraordinary modelling expertise and great depth of knowledge. Books published under the ‘Aeronautica Militare - Ufficio Storico’ banner are Italian language only. Osprey also printed a series of booklets, mainly on the theme of air aces.

Allied and Axis aircraft in Regia Aeronautica service.
Aircraft either supplied or commandeered from other air forces would normally have their ID markings over-sprayed with what was to hand with the rest of the original scheme left intact. Such aircraft included the Dewoitine D.520, Leo 451, Bf.109G’s, Bf.110, Dornier Do.17 & 217, Storch, Ju.87 & Ju.88. One exception was a captured Yugoslavian rag-wing Hurricane which had a full Regia Aeronautica scheme. The Pacific Coast Models’ 1/32 kit, the Classic Airframes 1/48 kit and the new 1/72 Airfix rag-wing kit are a suitable canvas for this scheme.

Regia Aeronautica theatre of operations.
Their first campaign took place in Ethiopia, where it met little opposition. Aircraft were also sent to Spain as part of the ‘Aviation Legion’, alongside the Luftwaffe. Operations in the Middle East and East Africa were to follow, but perhaps the most intense was the Western Desert campaign, aided by and then in support of Rommel’s Axis forces. Other campaigns were the Battle of Britain, Malta, Greece & Yugoslavia and the Eastern Front. The final campaign, before disbandment, was around Sicily and the very last mission, before the Armistice, was in defence of Frascati, Rome during September 1943.

... and fInally
After the 1943 Armistice, the Regia Aeronautica was no more. It was split into the ANR, to support the Axis campaign in Northern Italy, and the Co-Belligerante, to the South, in support of the Allied campaign.
In 1946, the monarchy of Italy was abolished and the ‘Kingdom of Italy’ was no more.
What was left of the surviving airforces was to become the Aeronautica Militare Italiana.

....but that’s another story!

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