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FIAT CR42 CN NIGHTFIGHTER CAMOUFLAGE : WHAT COLOR ? 

Ing. Riccardo Trotta

Gruppo Plastimodellismo Fiorentino – IPMS Italy – CMPR

July, 2006

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Image 1. Color Photo of Fougier climbing from a Fiat Cr.42CN 

This short article is the result of an e-mail discussion with a friend Pierliugi Moncalvo who recently issued an article about the same topic in IPMS Italy Flash Publication #188.

If we consider  the instructions relevant, the application of Tavola 10 colors, which stated what were to be the new camouflage colors for the Regia Aeronautica, concerning the Grigio Azzurro Scuro (Dark Blue Gray) color we can find reported:

“ Quando richiesto, superfici laterali, dorsali e ventrali degli aeroplani bellici , per impiego notturno”.

This can be translated: “ ... when requested, on the sides, upper and lower surfaces of combat aircraft ... for night operations”.

We know that these rules became applicable gradually from the Autumn of 1941.  Moreover, it is to be highlighted that in a note relevant to the paints used, dated March 20th  1941, it is reported:

“ per il colore grigio azzurro scuro si consentono variazioni verso tonalità più scure ma non verso tonalità più chiare” this is translated as:

“ concerning the dark blue grey color, variations are allowed towards darker shades but not towards  lighter shades “

My friend Moncalvo has found recently from various notes from which results that “ only Arson Sisi (firm which produced paints) started producing removable dark blue grey  (firm denomination : night blue) in 1941”.  Another reference for the use of Dark blue grey color for aircraft operating by night is reported in the Turin D.C.A. circular note, F° 1898-B.2.10 dated July 21st 1941, specifying that this color must be easily removable.

This is what is reported by directives, however what was the actual use? It is very hard to discern the correct colors from b/w photos; in these cases, it is quite appropriate to refer to a witness pilot, Ten.  Gino Del Bufalo, in which he writes in his diary; and included by Aerofan #82; the diary reads:

“ In this period (first days of December 1941), I flew  a night-fighter Cr.42 four times; it is a beautiful airplane, just new and overall painted blue”:

Subsequently: “ In the afternoon the commander sent me alone, with the faithful blue Cr.42 ...”

Then, because Del Bufalo could not know that 65 years later a group would discuss the exactness of Cr.42 CN night-fighter camouflage, it is perhaps correct to believe that these writings represent an opinion; for interest two photos are provided here: the first one is a color photo (Image 1 above); the photo is reproduced from the magazine “Tempo” issued during the war period and, according to the caption, it shows Gen. Fougier, who was Chief of Staff for Regia Aeronautica in 1942-1943. The quality of the photo is rather poor and surely cannot be used to state the exact color shade, however what is interesting is the fact that the color is very near to the color of the officer's uniform (which was not black). Also the attached b/w photo (Image 2) quite likely belongs to the same image sequence (as the above color photo), taking into consideration the badge visible on the Cr.42  fin (Chief  of Staff) and in this second photo the Cr.42 color  looks black, this is just to highlight the difficulty of discerning the correct color.

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Image 2. Fougier removing his flying suit next to the same Cr.42 CN
(above) in a Black and White Photo

In conclusion, we can deduce with some confidence, that before the issueance of Tavola 10, the color used on the Cr. 42 CN was black; for the subsequent period both camouflage colors were likely in use, considering the state of the Italian aeronautical industry and the possibility of applying the rules, but I should be inclined for the dark blue gray in cases of new aircraft constructed or those refurbished, in compliance with the applicable rules, as happened for other colors, as, for instance, Nocciola Chiaro 4.

References

[1] CMPR "Colori e schemi mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943", 1979.

[2] IPMS Italy Notiziario,1975.

[3] Aerofan (n°82).

[4] Dimensione Cielo.


Riccardo Trotta was born in Florence (Italy) on January 15th , 1947 and lives with his wife Anna Maria in a neighburhood of the town; he completed a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pisa in 1973. He now works in Quality Control for a Space products plant in Florence for a well known Italian company.  He has a

son 30 years old (also an Electrical Engineer) and a daughter (26) who has recently completed a degree in Architecture at the University of Florence.

Riccardo remembers when he assembled his first kit in 1959; it was an Airfix 1/72 Bristol Fighter which was soon followed by an Airfix 1/72 Stuka. However his most memoriable event occured when a Macchi C205 was transported to Florence, having touched the aircraft on the occasion of the first model show in October 1960.

During high school and the first years of University, modeling had taken a back seat to his studies. It was for his 1971 birthday that some of his friends presented him with an Italaerei Reggiane RE.2001 1/72 kit (the name of the firm then was Supermodel) and subsequently, in a short time, the series of Dimensione Cielo, dedicated to the Regia Aeronautica was published; and his love of Italian aircraft was revived.

From that period he began to collect all documents he could find regarding the Regia Aeronautica/ANR and later he became the first member of Gruppo Plastimodellismo Fiorentino (Plastimodelers Group of Florence) and subsequently a member of IPMS Italy and Club Modellismo Plastico Ravenna.

Today Riccardo continues modeling aircraft which flew with the Italian insigna and contributes to the CMPR and IPMS Notiziario; he also contributes to the Italian model magazine Air Kit News.


 
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