Classic Airframes 1/48 double build
by Tom Dungan
Reggiane Re.2001 CN
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The Reggiane Re.2001 was a development of the company’s radial-engined Re.2000 design in which a German DB.601 engine was married to the original design. The Re.2001 kept a similar empennage and wings, but had new fuselage. A “Caccia Notturna” (CN) version of the Re.2001 was developed for night fighting, and normally featured MG151 20mm cannon in underwing gondolas, flame dampers on the exhausts, and no wing cannon. Not all Re.2001 CN’s had gondolas or flame dampers, as most ended up in the ground attack role.
This is a “second-generation” Classic Airframes kit, which means fine engraved panel lines, resin cockpit and other minor details, vacuform canopy, thick trailing edges for wings, and no locating tabs or alignment features. Classic Airframes offers both the Re.2001 and Re.2001CN boxings of the kit, although there is no difference between the two other than the decals – i.e., 20mm cannon gondolas and flame dampers are not present in the CN kit.
Knowing that this would not be a shake-and-bake kit, I thought a double build might be useful. Any learning on one kit could be immediately applied to the second kit – and so 2 kits could be completed in a time closer to 1!
Not much to tell here. It was a limited-run kit with resin details, which means I had to do the usual thinning of plastic to fit the resin bits, lots of test-fitting, filling and sanding despite the test-fitting, and the obligatory cursing.
My only additions were some Evergreen strip to detail the featureless wheel wells, Evergreen sheet to fill the gear retraction bay (the bottom of which is actually the lower surface of the wing), and a gear retraction legs from rod.
For the CN model, I swiped the underwing 20mm cannon gondolas from a Fujimi Bf109G kit. The gondolas shown on plans do not appear to be Bf109 gondolas, but they are close enough for me.
Frankly, color schemes for the Re.2001 are fairly boring. The overwhelming majority of Re.2001’s were finished in the Oliva Scuro 2 on Grigio Azurro Chiaro scheme. I chose a relatively colorful yellow-nosed machine from 150a Sq.(22°Gr.), which is featured on the cover of the Squadron In Action title and has also been done by several modelers on the web (including Brett Green).
Oliva Scuro 2 and Grigio Azurro Chiaro came from the Polly Scale range. Distilled water was used as thinner (60:40 paint:water). White was incrementally added to the paint mixes and run over fabric-covered control surfaces and random panels to simulate fading.
Like Brett, I used Sky Models’ “Caccia Reggiane” decal sheet for the aircraft codes. Unlike Brett, I found that the decals silvered even on a good gloss coat. Solvaset did not eliminate the problem. The kit decals were used for the remaining markings, and they worked fine. A silver artist’s pencil was used to add wear to the wing roots and the cowl access areas, after which a final coat of semi-gloss was applied.
If you thought the Re.2001 was boring, then the CN can be a real snoozer as the true night fighters were painted black with minimal markings. However, I found several photos in my references of evaluation aircraft MM.90760 in a very light color. This color is variously described as natural metal or possibly bright yellow! There is eyewitness and anecdotal documentation evidence that some evaluation aircraft were painted yellow (see AeroFan No.60). However, in looking at the in-flight photos of my subject (p33 of the Squadron In Action) vs. the example known to be yellow, I believe it more consistent with natural metal.
Other features of this aircraft include a worn/peeling white fuselage band, painted control surfaces, and a very dark wing fillet/exhaust stain area. Perhaps the fuselage band may be peeling due to the white being applied on unprimed metal? (Normally the Regia Aeronautica white band is applied over camouflage colors). I simulated this by using random dabs of Maskol in the band area prior to painting the white, then peeling off the mask afterward.
As for the very dark wing fillet/exhaust stain area, I agonized over this for some time. Was this just heavy exhaust stain, which seems unlikely on an aircraft with low flying hours? Was the entire upper wing painted Oliva Scuro 2? Well, in looking at the Squadron In Action title, I found a picture on page 28 of MM.90755 – only 5 aircraft removed from my subject – that also appears in natural metal and has a dark wing root upon close inspection. At first I thought it was shadows from the ground crew or the aircraft, but the sun angle is wrong and the shadow seems to exactly match the wing fillet panel. My conclusion is that the wing fillet unit is painted – probably OS2, but for reasons unknown.
After priming, the model was coated with Talon SNJ Acrylic Aluminum then various panels were masked and sprayed with Talon Dark Aluminum. Some panels were polished using SNJ Metal Powder, and others were buffed with a Dremel tool. It was experimentation time with Talon, and I liked the results (and the ability to spray indoors!). Final tonal variation was provided by using gloss, semi-gloss, and flat coats on random panels and in random streaks.
I used Microscale clear decal paper to create custom serial number decals for the fin. The MM number was inked onto the decal paper using an extra fine tip Sharpie permanent marker. After drying overnight, the decal paper was cut, wet, and applied like any other decal.
Both aircraft received a panel line wash on select panel lines using black & sienna oil paints. The wash was applied into the panel lines with a brush, allowed to dry, and then the excess wiped off with a turpentine-soaked Q-tip. Additional staining was done using an airbushed mix of black and brown, thinned 80:20 thinner:paint. Grey was added to the mix and exhaust stains were sprayed the same way.
My rendition of the CN in natural metal may be incorrect, but I think it matches up well with the reference photo. Any information to the contrary, or explaining the painting is welcome.
The double build wasn’t really a great idea on this kit – it doubled my frustration more than my efficiency. Having two dramatically different paint schemes negated any gains as well. But, I do like having two such different examples of the same machine in my collection.
Courage Alone, C.Dunning, Hikoki Publications, UK, 1998
Reggiane Fighters In Action (#177) ,G.Punka, Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrolton, TX, 2001
“The Reggiane Re2001 Falco II,” R.Caruana, Scale Aviation Modeler International Vol.10 Issue 8, SAM Publications, Bedford, UK, 2004
“Il Giallo del Reggiane,” Gregory Alegi, Aero Fan N.60 – March 1997, Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan, Italy, 1997
www.superaereo.com - Chris Busbridge’s Regia Aeronautica website
www.stormomagazine.com – Italian aviation website
Text Copyright © 2008 by Tom Dungan
Page Created 2 December, 2008
2 December, 2008
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