Caproni Bergamaschi

Based in Bergamo the Cantieri Aeronautiche Bergamaschi started up in 1927 and became a subsidary of the Caproni empire in 1931. With ing. Cesare Pallavicino now installed as its chief designer the company was renamed Caproni Aeronautica Bergamasca in 1933 and went on to become the most advanced and productive division of Caproni during WWII.

Caproni AP.1. The AP.1 started out as a single-seat fighter design, powered by a 9-cylinder Piaggio IX radial engine and first flew in 1934. It was then converted to a two-seat configuration. The AP.1 II, fitted with the more powerful Alfa Romeo radial and increased wing dimensions, soon followed. Although on strength at the start of WWII, the AP.1 did not see any action. LF Models have produced two variants of the AP.1 as 1/72 resin kits, but are hard to recommend. One major error I found on mine was an inverted aerodynamic profile to the wings, i.e. flat upper surface and curved lower surface and, no, I did not glue them on upside down! Both Dujin and Legato issued 1/72 resin kits but are OOP.

Caproni Ca.135. Bergamaschi took over development of this aircraft from its parent company, so its original Ca.135 designation was retained. Built for export, this twin-engined medium bomber was fitted with various types of engines during development but it was the Piaggio radial engined aircraft, as supplied to Hungary, that had any useable performance. ItalianKits re-issue the Cunarmodel 1/72 resin kit of the Asso inline engine variant on an occasional basis. It is a highly detailed resin kit with good interior detail.

Caproni Ca.308 Borea. This is first aircraft in the 'Borea' lineage. All subsequent types took up the bulk of Bergamaschi production throughout WWII. Alitaliane released 1/72 resin kits of both the civil and military versions of this aircraft. Now thought to be OOP.

Caproni Ca.309 Ghibli. This elegant plane was a major step up in the the Borea programme. An evolution of the Ca.308, this twin-engine multi-role aircraft had a revised fuselage and was fitted with Alfa Romeo inline engines. The 1/72 Old Wings resin kit was re-issued by Vintage Models, but quality was not that great. Current availability is unknown.

Caproni Ca.310 Libeccio. Developed at the same time as the Ca.309, it differed only in having rectractable undercarriage and higher powered Piaggio radial engines. Intended for export only but it did enter Regia Aeronautica service. Issued via their Azur label, Special Hobby have produced the first ever 1/72 scale kit of this aircraft. Has very nicely moulded parts, including resin pieces, with very good fabric effect and engraved panel detail. Also released in separate boxings with markings for aircraft in either Norway, Peru, Croatia, Hungary or Yugoslavian service.

Caproni Ca.311. Powered by uprated Piaggio radials, the distinctive 'glass-house' canopy of this aircraft, taken from an experimental Ca.310bis, was profoundly disliked by pilots, so a revised stepped canopy was introduced during production (Ca.331M). Special Hobby released both versions of this aircraft in 1/72 scale and, just like their Azur Ca.310 kits, are highly recommended. One neat trick with this model is the clear fuselage pieces with vinyl masks supplied for the glazing. This model practically relegates the elderly 1970 Italeri kit to the ‘collectable’ category. A useful reference guide is the Ali d'Italia book.

Caproni Ca.313/314. A Delta engined variant of the Ca.311. It had a troublesome development with engines prone to catching fire. Sweden solved this after experiencing the same problem with the 84 Ca.313S they had ordered. There is a Ca.313 replica in the Flygvapenmusuem in Linkoping. Italeri produces the only kit of this aircraft which shares many parts with the sister Ca.311 kit. Both the RCR etch set and Falcons replacement canopy can be used to improve the model to some degree.

Caproni Ca.316. This is a floatplane variant of the Ca.310 intended to replace the Ro.43 but it never got past the prototype development stages. Broplan did a 1/72 vac-form kit but it is thought to be OOP.

Caproni Ca.331 Raffica. This elegant aircraft was Bergamaschis first all metal design. The Germans were hugely impressed by this aircraft, but efforts to get it into full scale production failed. LF Models have produced 1/72 resin kits of both the O.A. & C.N. prototypes. They  are not the best examples of a limited-run resin kit. The feature article in Aerofan #76 serves to hi-light the kits shortcomings, ie: non-existent panel detail, incorrect aerofoil section to the wings (too blunt) and a rather difficult vac-form canopy installation.

Caproni Ca.335 Maestrale. A 1937 tandem two-seater prototype intended for the fighter/reconnaissance role. This single engined monoplane design was eventually sold to the Belgian SABCA company, who gave it the designation of S.47. They were unable to start production due to the German invasion. Omega Models produce 1/72 resin kits of both the Ca.335 and S.47, which are essentially the same kit but with different decals.

Caproni Ca.355 Tuffo. This 1941 dive-bomber prototype was a scaled-down variant of the Ca.335 that, despite successful trails, did not receive any production order. Omega Models have a 1/72 resin kit of this aircraft in their catalogue, with decals for two aircraft.

Caproni Vizzola

Starting out as Caproni's flying school Scuola di Aviazione Caproni, Caproni Vizzola S.A. was modernised in the mid-1930's and started production of their own aircraft with their designer ing. Fabrizi.

Caproni Vizzola F.4. The F.4 prototype was developed in parallel with the F.5. Fitted with a DB.601 engine instead of the intended Delta, the project stalled when the F.6 got priority. The sole prototype saw action in the defence of Rome. Available as a 1/72 resin kit from LF Models.

Caproni Vizzola F.5. Developed alongside the F.4 this neat radial engine aircraft was the first to get off the ground. Sufficient units were built to enable it to be used as a Rome defence fighter just before the Armistice. Dujin produced a 1/72 resin kit of this aircraft, but the Alphaflight 1/72 kit is far, far superior. Both are OOP. The last two images show the Alphaflight kit on its own and with LF Models F.4 kit

Caproni Vizzola F.6. This was an F.5 fitted with a more powerful DB.605 power plant and the F.6M ‘metallico’ was an all-metal variant as all previous aircraft were of mixed construction. The F.6MZ was powered by a 24-cylinder Issota Frascini Zeta engine. LF Models do both the F.6M and F.6MZ variants as 1/72 resin kits.