Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino
FIAT was founded in 1899. It built its first airplane, a license built Farman, in 1914, as part of the Societa Italiana Aviazione. The Societa Anomina Aeronautica Ansaldo (builder of the SVA series in WWI) become the main FIAT subsidiary in 1926. FIAT had two principal designers working for them during the Regia Aeronautica years. This page concentrates on those of ing. Celestino Rosatelli.
FIAT Br.1. This is a modified version of the FIAT B.R. and the first to utilise the Warren strut arrangement that ing. Rosatelli was to use on all FIAT biplanes thereafter. Choroszy Modelbud have recently added this aircraft to their ever expanding range of 1/72 scale aircraft.
FIAT Cr.20 The first of Rosatelli’s many notable biplane fighter designs. It was the principal fighter of the early years of the Regia Aeronautica. It had many qualities and was built in a variety of types including an idrovolante. The Choroszy Modelbud kits are good examples of resin kit production, being accurate and highly detailed. All four versions can be highly recommended. The first image is one of the Choroszy kits. Aeroclub produced a mixed media kit, but is OOP. Kora released a 1/72 injection moulded Cr.20bis of which there are 10 boxings of which two cover Italian subjects.
FIAT Cr.32. Regarded as the pinnacle of Italian biplane design, this aircraft was an evolution of the Cr.30 and was extremely popular with its pilots, principally for its excellent flight controls which made it a very aerobatic aircraft. The 1/32 Silver Wings resin kit is perhaps the ultimate choice. It is a very good looking model in the box, but probably needs a good modeller to get the best out of it. The original Classic Airframe kit, as seen in the second image, was re-issued in three separate boxings (Export, Spanish and Regia Aeronautica) with a few notable improvements, such as a solid cast resin piece for the front section of the fuselage and the CMK resin detail set, which has parts for trainer, bomber & desert variants (see third image). Has since reappeared in a Special Hobby boxing. It makes into a nice looking model but care is needed with the Warren struts. Other injection moulded kits still kicking around are the poor SMER 1/48 kit and Italeri’s re-issued Supermodel 1/72 kit, which does suffer from rather crude detailing but is dimensionally accurate. A better choice in 1/72 scale would be AZ Models all new 1/72 injection moulded kit, which has more refined detail.
FIAT Cr.42.This aircraft was, quite literally, the ultimate FIAT biplane design. It had many good qualities but it struggled against the rising tide of superior monoplane fighters. Silver Wings have produced a good looking 1/32 resin kit but it is rather expensive. A cheaper option is to wait for the ICM series of all new 1/32 injection moulded kits that are due for release soon. The best choice in 1/48 is the Italeri kit despite the poor fabric effect. It can be seen in the fourth image on the right. The fuselage shape is closer to the real thing when compared to any of the Classic Airframe kits, note the biposto image on the right. In 1/72, the Italeri, Misterkit and Pavla kits are all worth a look.The Pavla kit is shown in the fifth image. Although OOP, AlphaFlight produced 3 interesting conversion sets to build the biposto trainer, the Daimler Benz prototype and the idrovolante prototype. Italiankits do a 1/72 DB conversion set as well.
FIAT Br.20. This was Italy's principal bomber but it quickly became obsolete at the start of WWII. Alphaflight issued two excellent, highly detailed 1/48th resin kits covering both the early and "M" series but were very limited in supply. The Br.20 is also available in 1/48 injection moulded form, with Classic Airframe and Special Hobby sharing the tooling for the early version and SH covering the ‘M’ variant as well. Various online builds, however, hint at them being difficult to build. Italeri's elderly 1/72 injection moulded kit is OK, considering its age, and here the modeller can choose to build it as either the early version or the 'M'. Removal of all the rivets & crude fabric effect on all control surfaces will improve it to some degree, as well as re-scribing panels lines and improving the appearance of the crudely moulded engine cowlings. The image on the right shows the model I buillt for SAMI sporting a somewhat disputed Japanese scheme!
FIAT Cr.25. Although it drew highly favourable comments from all who flew it, the Cr.25 was inexplicably sidelined in favour of the disastrous Breda Ba.88. Enough Cr.25 were built to equip one squadron and it had an exemplary safety record. The two Special Hobby 1/72 injection moulded kits would be an easier modelling choice over the Airmodel kit, but the cowlings and undercarriage will need to be worked on. RCR produced a 1/48 resin kit, but it is OOP. Both Alitaliane & Italiankits produced a variety of upgrade sets for the Special Hobby Cr.25 and there is a 'mini' Ali d'Italia of the Cr.25, which is a useful reference source. The last two images on the right are the Special Hobby kits.