Originally named Societá de Agostini e Caproni, this company was founded in 1908 by Count Battista 'Gianni' Caproni and was famed for its large WWI aircraft, such as the legendary Ca.3 bomber. In the inter-war period it reformed and was re-named Societá Italiana Caproni, Milano, incorporating Caproni Bergamaschi, Caproni Vizzola, Reggiane and Isotta Fraschini to become one of the largest group of companies in Italy... only FIAT was comparable in size. The company struggled post-war with the only surviving remnant being Caproni Vizzola, whose assets were obtained by the Augusta group.
Caproni Ca.20. This aircraft has nothing to do with the Regia Aeronautica but deserves a mention. Gianni Caproni had this prototype built in 1914 and is one of the earliest examples of a monoplane fighter design. Despite showing exceptional promise during testing, the Italian government rejected this proposal as they wanted Caproni to focus on bomber production. The prototype was found in a barn at the Caproni family home and sold to the 'Museum of Flight' in Seattle 1999, still in its original, untouched and remarkably well preserved condition. Spin Models released a reasonable 1/48 resin kit and Choroszy Modelbud a delicate little 1/72 resin kit.
Caproni Ca.100. A biplane based around the Tiger Moth for which Caproni had obtained a licence. With a short span upper wing, a feature that appeared on other Caproni biplanes, it was the standard trainer of the Regia Aeronautica and earned the knick-name 'caproncino'. Choroszy Modelbud released a multitude of Ca.100 kits in 1/72 scale, about 11 at the last count, covering nearly all engine types and floatplane variants. Legato also produced 1/72 & 1/48 resin kits but these are discontinued. GAE printed a useful mini reference source for this aircraft, but it is out of print.
Caproni Ca.101. Based on the Ca.97, this trimotor aircraft was originally designed as an airliner. The first series were powered by a variety of radial engines: Lynx, Piaggio P.VII or Jupiter radials. The bis variant had increased dimensions and the D.2 variant had more powerful Alfa Romeo D.2 radials. As well as airline duties, 72 Ca.101's were also used by the Regia Aeronautica as a bomber and as transport. They were all retired by 1939. Two 1/72 kits were released. The RCR resin kit, which has been re-issued by Italiankits, and the Fly/LF Models injection moulded kit, which share the same moulds but have a choice of 7 or 9 cylinder radials.
Caproni Ca.102. This aircraft was a variant of the Ca.101 trimotor powered by a pair of Jupiter radials. It earned the nickname of Pinocchio thanks to its altered nose profile, which had four machine guns and a bomb aimers window. The Regia Aeronautica had 34 built but they were retired by 1939. No kits are known but a donor Ca.101 kit could make an ideal conversion project.
Caproni Ca.111. A variant of the Ca.101 tri-motor used mainly for long range reconnaissance. First flown in 1932, it was powered by an Isotta Fraschini Asso 18 cylinder 'W' engine and more than 150 were built, including an idrovolante variant. It had a higher top speed compared with the Ca.101 & Ca.113 and was used extensively by the Regia Aeronautica. Broplans 1/72 vacuform kit is the only kit known of this aircraft.
Caproni Ca.113. A tidy looking two-seat trainer biplane with an elegant streamlined fuselage. Many records were set in various versions of this aircraft including those for altitude, distance & endurance. Its largest user was the Bulgarian Air Force, where Caproni established the Kaproni Bulgarski divison to build 107 "Chuchuliga" aircraft. Planet Models have released a nicely moulded 1/48 resin kit of the single seat version with decals for a Peruvian machine and the sole surviving aircraft I-MARY that resides in the Volandia Park and Aviation Museum in Milan.
Caproni Ca.114. A very capable 1933 single seat biplane design based on the Ca.113. It was not accepted by the Regia Aeronautica, despite good performance during evaluation tests. Peru placed an order for 12 aircraft which saw active service until the last machines were scrapped in 1944. Planet Models have produced a good quality 1/48 resin kit with Peruvian markings.
Caproni Ca.133. A more efficient development of the Ca.101 tri-motor that saw widespread use. First flown in 1934, its generous fuselage proportions made it ideal for the light transport role, although it was also used as a bomber in the early years and for troop transport & air ambulance duties. Post war it briefly flew with Ala Littoria with the last example retired in 1947. Aviation USK produced a 1/72 vac-form kit of this plane but has been discontinued, as has the EVA Models 1/48 resin kit which was released relatively recently.
Caproni Ca.134. Only 2 examples of this reconnaissance biplane were built in early 1937. Powered by an Isotta Fraschini engine, it was tested at Guidonia but not selected by the Regia Aeronautica. No kits are known of this design.
Caproni Ca.161. Lt. Col. M. Pezzi broke the altitude record for a piston engined biplane back in 1937 in this very wide-span aircraft, which was a specially modified Ca.113. He flew a Ca.113bis a year later to reach 56,032ft, a record that still stands. Although discontinued, the Brach Models 1/48th resin kit is highly detailed, is of excellent quality and it included a standing figure of a suited-up Mario Pezzi, complete with a separately moulded pressurised helmet.
Caproni Ca.164. A two-seat 1938 biplane design, complete with trademark smaller upper wing, that was intended to replace the Ca.100 in the training role. However, due to poor handling it was considered unsuitable for this role and used for liaison purposes instead. The Dujin 1/72 resin kit is discontinued but the 1/72 Choroszy Modelbud resin is still current. Fly Models have announced a future 1/72 injection mould kit.
Caproni Ca.165. This single prototype was built in 1938. Intended as a fighter, it showed much promise when tested against the FIAT Cr.42 in mock dogfights, but engine reliability issues and unfavourable comments from the pilots meant no orders were placed. There are no known kits of this aircraft.
The aircraft listed below were experimental prototypes.
Stipa-Caproni. Quite possibly one the oddest looking aircraft ever built. A veritable "flying barrel" prototype designed by ing. Luigi Stipa in 1932 after a lot of detailed research. His bold and original 'venturi’ concept worked extremely well, the machine showing very stable handling even at slow speeds. In fact its maximum speed was only 81mph. Stipa wanted to pursue his ideas further but could not get anymore backing. However his ideas have much relevance to modern day ducted-fan and jet propulsion technology. The image used by Dujin on the packaging of their 1/72 resin kit was that of a 3/5 flying replica built in Australia, which made a series of short flights in 2001, thus reaffirming Stipa's highly original research. The Dujin kit is now discontinued but it was not a very accurate kit.
Caproni CH.1. A short lived prototype biplane designed by ing. Antonio Chiodi in 1934. He piloted the aircraft on its first flight in 1935 where, despite being underpowered, it demonstrated a good rate of climb. After flipping on its back later that year in a landing accident, the Regia Aeronautica lost interest and no orders were placed. Issue 88 of Aerofan has a good in-depth article of this aircraft. Now discontinued, the 1/72 Dujin kit had modelled the canopy incorrectly, perhaps the only serious fault on the model.
Campini-Caproni. ing. Secondo Campini developed his 'thermo-jet' theory throughout the 1930s and was finally able to join forces with Caproni to build his experimental prototype. With an Isotta Fraschini piston engine driving a forward compressor in the front section of the fuselage, a burner in the rear section was used to increase thrust. First flown in 1940, it was thought to be the first aircraft to fly with jet propulsion, for which it gained a lot of publicity. However a Heinkel had already achieved this feat a year earlier. Flight tests did show up a few problems. The heat generated by the compressor meant the pilots had to fly with open cockpits to vent heat. The aircraft's structural integrity was not proven so speeds were kept relatively low. Its top recorded speed was a disappointing 320 mph. One complete aircraft is preserved at Vigna di Valle. Now out of print, the mini Ali d'Italia booklet proved just how inaccurate the discontinued 1/72 Delta2 model was. Maybe Valom should have used it to research their limited run 1/72 injection moulded kit because it does not match the plans either.
Caproni Sauro-1. Built in 1933, this prototype tourer was also known as TRICAP (Trigone Caproni), named after its designer Emmanuale Trigona and its builder Caproni. It was a clean design with an inverted gull wing, powered by a Farina radial but, despite successful trials, there was no further development or orders placed. There are no known kits of this aircraft.
Model images are links to a build article