Societá Italiana Caproni, Milano
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 had nothing to do with the Regia Aeronautica but it gets a mention anyway. 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 the Caproni company to focus solely 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 knicknamed 'caproncino'. Choroszy Modelbud produces 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 OOP. GAE printed a useful mini reference source for this aircraft, but it is out of print. Click on any of the model images on the right to find out more about these Choroszy kits.
Caproni Ca.101. This late 1920 trimotor aircraft was the first in a series of three Caproni transport aircraft to see widespread use in the early years of the Regia Aeronautica. Italiankits re-released the RCR 1/72 resin kit but is it best left to experienced modellers to attempt. Fly Models 1/72 injection moulded kit has its smaller parts cast in resin and looks good enough in the box but on closer inspection it is rather disappointing. It has softly moulded parts, thick tail pieces and very thick trailing edges on the wing. The resin engines are poorly detailed and too small. LF Models re-released the same kit, with their own decals, but no attempt was made to rectify the kits shortcomings. Not even the Brengun etch detail set will be of much help.
Caproni Ca.111. A variant of the Ca.101 tri-motor used for reconnaissance duties. It was powered by a single inline 18-cylinder Isotta Fraschini Asso 750 R.C. engine and actually had a higher top speed than the Ca.101. Broplans 1/72 vac form kit is thought to be OOP and is the only kit known of this type. Despite the relatively thin plastic and rather crude injection moulded parts it managed to capture the distinctive look 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 biggest user was the Bulgarian Air Force, where Caproni established the Kaproni Bulgarski divison to build 107 "Chuchuliga" aircraft that were used up until the Soviet invasion in 1944. Planet Models have produced a nicely moulded 1/48 resin kit of the single seat version of this aircraft with decals for a Peruvian machine and the sole surviving single-seat variant of the aircraft 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 aerodynamics, but Peru placed an order for 12 aircraft where they 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 served with the Ala Littoria and the last example was retired in 1947. Aviation USK produced a 1/72 vac-form kit of this plane but has been OOP for sometime. EVA Models released a 1/48 resin kit in 2018 but they have since ceased production.
Caproni Ca.134. Only 2 examples of this reconnaisance 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 variant which was a specially modified Ca.113. He flew a bis version a year later to reach 56,032ft, a record that still stands. Although now OOP, the Brach Models 1/48th resin kit is highly detailed, is of excellent quality and includes 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. Dujin produced a 1/72 resin kit as do Choroszy Modelbud. Click on the kit image to find out more about this kit.
Caproni Ca.165. This single prototype was built in 1938. Intended as a fighter, it showed much promise when flown againt the FIAT Cr.42 in mock dogfights. It was faster but engine reliability issues and unfavourable comments from the pilots meant it was sidelined in favour of the Cr.42. There are no known kits of this aircraft.
The aircraft listed below were all experimental prototypes.
Stipa-Caproni/Caproni Stipa. 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. Dujin released a 1/72 resin kit of the sole prototype but it will be hard to find now and will need a lot of work to correct. Click on the image on the right. When built and put on your display shelf it is bound to provoke some kind of reaction! The image used by Dujin on their packaging 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.
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 order was placed. Dujin released a reasonably good 1/72 resin kit. Issue 88 of Aerofan has a good in-depth article of this aircraft which showed that Dujin have modelled the canopy incorrectly, perhaps the only serious fault on the model. Click on the kit image to find out more.
Campini-Caproni. ing. Secondo Campini developed his 'thermo-jet' theory throughout the 1930s and was finally able to join forces with Caproni to build this 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 and gained a lot of publicity from it. However 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 and the airframe 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. Delta 2 produced a crude toy like 1/72 injection moulded kit which is OOP. So is the mini Ali d'Italia booklet, which proved just how inaccurate the Delta2 model was. Valom released a limited run injection moulded kit in 1/72 scale but, despite looking pretty good in the box and with nice surface details, it did not match any published plans and looks if it is based on the Delta2 kit, which is a shame
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. No kits are known of this aircraft.
Model images are linked to detailed write ups and, in most cases, are archived SAMI reviews.