The Officine Meccaniche Reggiane S.p.A, based in Reggio Emilia, was founded in 1904 by Caproni. They started aircraft production in 1937, working on the Piaggio P.32bis with ing. Giovanni Pegna. In the same year, ing. Roberto Longhi and ing. Antonio Alessio joined to start work on the RE.2000, which was inspired by the Seversky P-35. All subsequent Reggianes demonstrated an evolutionary design process that culminated with the RE.2005, considered by many as the one of the finest fighter aircraft of WWII. The company exists to this day as Reggiane Cranes and Plants S.p.A.
RE.2000. Although the RE.2000 proved to be a fine aircraft design, most were exported to Sweden and Hungary with only a few entering service with the Regia Aeronautica who did not trust its 'wet-wing' fuel tank system. It was also high maintenance and its Piaggio engine proved unreliable. A popular model subject for kit makers though. The elderly and inaccurate 1/72 Supermodel kit, which resurfaced as a ‘re-tooled’ Italeri kit, is best ignored. Special Hobby issued a range of types in the same scale; the Serie I, Heja 1 & Serie III, all based in the same tooling. They are as good as we can expect in this scale with cockpit detail that surpasses some 1/48 models. Click the top two images to find out more. Sword also issued a pair of decent 1/72 kits. The best 1/48 option is the Special Hobby update of the Classic Airframe kit which has an all new fuselage and detail parts. However, the wings remain unchanged. These parts were shared with Classic AIrframes RE.2001 kit and will need to be rescribed. There is a very useful Aviolibri guide (IBN Editore No.6) on how to get the most out of this kit. Silver Wings also released a pair of 1/32 resin kits of the RE.2000, covering the two main types. It is a nicely detailed kit but checking the parts against plans indicates some dimensional and shape errors to the cowling and wing.
RE.2001. This was a re-design of the RE.2000, to be powered by a license built DB601 engine and the wing structure revised to have self sealing tanks instead of the 'wet-wing' of the RE.2000. These changes meant it entered service a year behind schedule. It was a very capable machine and more than a good match with Allied fighters such as the Spitfire. Kits of this aircraft are rare though. Only Swords good quality 1/72 kits, including the Caccia Notturna version, are current. Alitaliane did have a range of 1/72 scale resin kits based around Supermodels vintage 1/72 kit but were of indifferent quality. Their Delta engined variant is shown in the third image. All too briefly, the RE.2001 appeared in 1/48th thanks to E.P. Originals high quality resin kit that was well worth it's high purchase price. Classic Airframe also produced a very nice 1/48th scale multi-media kit, which sold out very quickly. Ali d'Italia printed a very good reference book for this aircraft but it too is OOP.
RE.2002. With engine supply issues for the RE.2001, the Regia Aeronautica decided to revisit the RE.2000. This aircraft is a strengthened RE.2000 fitted with a modified RE.2001 wing and just like the RE.2001, it is rare in kit form. Sword have added a pair of injection moulded 1/72 RE.2002 kits to their extensive Reggiane range, including the 'ultimo' where the engine thrust line was lowered and the cowling profile changed to give the pilot an improved view. See the fifth image. The E.P. Originals 1/48 resin kit was, in the past, the only decent model available but has been OOP for some time. It can be seen in the fourth image. Italeri released a 1/48th scale kit but, despite including a useful reference booklet, the model appears to have all kinds of shape problems. Quickboost produced a corrected spine and Vector Resin have released a variety of correction sets. It is entirely possible to use these sets to convert Classic Airframes RE.2000 into an RE.2002.
RE.2003. The RE.2003 was intended for the reconnaissance role. Two prototypes were built, one based on an RE.2000 fitted with a tandem cockpit. The second prototype appears to be a modified RE.2002. RS Models produced a very disappointing 1/72 resin kit and is OOP, so will not be missed. Both Special Hobby and AZ Models released 1/72 multimedia kits of the RE.2000 version. AZ Models has delicate, restrained panel detail but the SH kit has superior cockpit detail. See the sixth image on the right.
RE.2004. This prototype was more or less an RE.2005 powered by an air-cooled Isotta Fraschini RC24/60 (24 cylinder X engine). The project was abandoned when the RE.2005 was close to completion. Was once available as an Italian WIngs 1/72 resin kit.
RE.2005. A very fast machine which had that perfect blend of grace and power. Its fuselage was made as compact and as steamlined as possible and coupled with the DB605 engine, it proved to be the fastest aircraft Italy had. It easily outperformed most rival aircraft but, due to its complexity and expense, only 49 were built. Its nearest rival, the FIAT G.55, was cheaper and built in greater numbers (274). Being such an appealing design has made the RE.2005 a very popular model subject and numerous kits have been produced of the years. Pavla released a reasonably accurate 1/72 injection multi-media kit, although most of the resin parts, especially the wheel wells, were a poor fit. It is shown in the seventh image on the right. Cunarmodel, Dujin and LF Models issued 1/72 resin kits of variable quality and both RS Models & Sword released much improved 1/72 injection moulded kits. A number of years ago Falcon produced a 1/48 vac-form kit which they subsequently re-released as a limited run, low pressure injection moulded kit that required some modelling skill to overcome the crude moulding technology and rather hard plastic. In 2001 Flying Machines released a fine 1/48 multimedia injection kit, using resin detail parts (click on the eigth image to find out more) but both Sword & Special Hobby have since released all new 1/48 kits and, out of the three, the Special Hobby kit displays the most finesse. Another great choice is the Pacific Coast Models 1/32 injection moulded kit, with resin and photo etch detail parts. I had a small part to play in this kit, being responsible for the decal sheet artwork. It builds into a lovely looking model.
RE.2006. A popular ‘what-if’ subject even though it did exist. It was a highly secret project where a RE.2005 was taken from the production line and re-designed to fit around the very powerful DB 603 engine. It was scrapped before it ever got a chance to fly. Available in 1/72 from RS Models as a limited run injection kit. I used a 1/48 Falcon kit as a basis for an RE.2006 conversion project. Click the last image to find out more.
Model images are linked to detailed write ups and, in most cases, are archived SAMI reviews.