Caproni Bergamaschi

Based in Bergamo the Cantieri Aeronautiche Bergamaschi was founded in 1927 and became a part 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. Derived from the Ca.301 single seat prototype, the two seat AP.1 (Assalto Pallavicino) was powered by an Alfa Romeo 126 radial and first flew in 1934. The Regia Aeronautica ordered a second series with a larger wing and more powerful engine. They were obsolete by WWII, even in the reconnaisance role. 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 the 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 which was to take up the bulk of Bergamaschi production throughout WWII. Alitaliane released 1/72 resin kits of both the civil and military versions of this 1930s 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. LF Models do a 1/72 kit of the Kaproni Bulgarski Ka.309 Papagal, a license built Ca.309, so any Regia Aeronautica markings will have to be sourced from spares or home made.

Caproni Ca.310 Libeccio. Developed at the same time as the Ca.309, this variant was the first to have a retractable undercarriage and was powered by Piaggio radial engines in place of the inline engines. Overall performance was disappointing and was therefore used mainly for reconnaissance by the Regia Aeronautica. It was also exported to Norway, Spain, Hungary, Peru, Yugoslavia and Croatia although 33 Ca.310s were returned by Hungary and reassigned to the Regia Aeronautica. 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. It was released in various boxings to cover all the nations it served under.

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.311M modificato). 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 1/72 Italeri kit to ‘collectable’ status. A useful reference guide is the Ali d'Italia book.

Caproni Ca.312. Norway were so unhappy with the C.310s they ordered they refused to take on any more, so 12 uprated Ca.312s were built to fufill the order but unfortunately, due to the German invasion in 1940, they were never delivered.  

Caproni Ca.313. A Delta engined variant of the Ca.310, intended as a replacement for the Ca.311. With a smaller frontal profile, it had a higher top speed and was used by the Regia Aeronautica in the transport, trainer and reconnaissance role. Export orders were made by France and Sweden, who suffered engine fires with their Ca.313S export model because the alcohol/fuel mix they used was found to be corrosive. France only received 5 before the onset of WWII. There is a Ca.313 replica in the Flygvapenmusuem in Linkoping. Italeri produces the only kit of this aircraft, which shares many parts with its 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.314. Essentially a more advanced and heavier armed Ca.313, various versions were built including the Ca.314-Scorta, the Ca.314-Ricognizione Aerosilurante and the Ca.314-Combattimento, which was the most numerous version, thus making it the most widely used type in the Regia Aeronautica. Italeri's combined both the Ca.313 and Ca.314 into one 1/72 boxing, even though the Ca.314 had a slightly shorter wingspan.

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 prototype was the first all metal Bergamaschi design but the Regia Aeronautica did not show any interest. The Germans, however, were hugely impressed but any effort to get it into full scale production failed. LF Models have produced 1/72 resin kits of both the Osservazione Aerea & Caccia Notturna 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. Click on the kit image to find out more.

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, but 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 a 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.

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 Fraschini Zeta engine. LF Models do both the F.6M and F.6MZ variants as 1/72 resin kits.

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