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. It had two principal designers working for them during the Regia Aeronautica years. This page concentrates on those designed by ing. Celestino Rosatelli, a gifted engineer who died in 1945.
FIAT Br.1. This is a modified version of the FIAT B.R. bomber design 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 modern fighter designs. It was the principal fighter of the early years of the Regia Aeronautica equipping 27 squadrons. Most were powered by the FIAT A.20 V12 engine. A few were powered by the Isotta Fraschini Asso engine. An idrovolante was built and the bis variant had a revised landing gear system. Quite a number of 1/72 kits have been released. The 1/72 KPL and Aeroclub kits are discontinued, but Choroszy Modelbud have 4 variants in 1/72 and Kora have multiple boxings of the bis variant.
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 discontinued Classic Airframe kit 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. When introduced in 1939 this aircraft was, quite literally, the ultimate FIAT biplane design. It had excellent manoeuverability and good speed for a biplane but lacked sufficient armament. It was the most numerous aircraft in the Regia Aeronautic with about 1,817 built. It saw active service in almost every theatre and was extremely effective in Hungarian service with a kill ratio of 12 to 1. It was exported to other countries including Sweden and Belgium. There are about four surviving examples, including an intact WWII aircraft at the RAF Hendon museum in London although it has spurious markings. Silver Wings have produced a good looking 1/32 resin kit but it is rather expensive. A cheaper option is the all new ICM 1/32 injection moulded kit. Practically all other kits are now discontinued. This includes the 1/48 Italeri & Classic Airframe kits, the 1/72 Misterkit, Pavla & Revell kits leaving just the 1/72 Italeri kit. Italian kits do a 1/72 Daimler Benz conversion set.
FIAT Br.20. When first introduced in Regia Aeronautica service in 1937, this was Italy's first modern all-metal bomber. It was used to good effect in Spain and Japan, but it quickly became obsolete by the start of WWII and reduced to a more secondary role as the war progressed. It's main rival was the S.79 trimotor which was more rugged and agile by comparison. All B.20 kits are now discontinued. This includes the 1/48 Alphaflight resin kits, the 1/48 Classic Airframe/Special Hobby kits and the sole 1/72 Italeri kit, although that does get an occasional 'Vintage' collection release.
FIAT Cr.25. The Cr.25 first flew in 1937. It displayed many fine qualities during trails but the Regia Aeronautica had already selected the Ba.88. After the total failure of the Breda Ba.88 in service, a production order was then placed for 10 aircraft. They served in one squadron where its proved to be a true multi-role aircraft. One Cr.25 was modified for regular passenger flights between Rome and Berlin. It was very popular with its pilots and it had an exemplary safety record. Most Cr.25 kits are now discontinued. This includes the 1/48 RCR resin kit and the Special Hobby 1/72 kit. Only the Airmodel 1/72 kit is available.
Model images are links to a build article