Revell 1/72 Nieuport 28C-1

KIT #: H-70/04189
PRICE: Current issue is $6.75 MSRP
DECALS: Three options in the old kit, one in the recent issue
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: A very good old kit.


When the United States entered the First World War, France was going to equip the American squadrons with SPAD S.VIIs.  However the U.S. told the French that they were going to build their own fighter and that would be what they would equip the USAAS (United States Army Air Service) units with.  As it turned out the US had over estimated it’s ability to design, produce and field it’s own fighter or as they were called, pursuit aircraft.  The earmarked SPAD S.VIIs were immediately put to urgent use in French Escadrille which left the USAAS looking for a fighter it enter into combat.

Contrary to popular and a somewhat religiously held belief; the Pilots of the Lafayette did not like the SPAD.  After effortlessly zipping around the sky in their Nieuport 17s they considered the SPADs flight characteristics to be “that of an asthmatic truck”. It had no dihedral and no wing stagger.  This resulted in “an almost negative inherent stability”.  The SPAD required a very high landing speed that was not good when trying to land on a wartime airfield.  In flight maneuvers the SPAD was nowhere near as maneuverable as the Nieuport.  In fact Arch Whitehouse said, “it was foolish to duel for any length of time with Fokker, Albatros and Pfalz single-seaters.  The routine was to attack from advantageous levels and if the pass did not come off, it was wise to remember the rugged construction of the SPAD and keep on diving.”

When the Pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille stationed at the Ham Aerodrome learned that the Nieuport firm was now producing the Nieuport 28, all the pilots wanted to do was dump their SPADs and get Nieuport 28s.  For a while the pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille flew around happy until a note from the Issy-Le-Molineaux Nieuport factory arrived and said that all of the Nieuport 28s were grounded and that they were to be withdrawn from service.  The Lafayette reluctantly went back to the SPAD. 

After the Nieuport 28s were pulled from French service the Russians asked to buy them since the Russians had always had a hard time getting aircraft to support it’s air service.  The French put Russian insignia on the Nieuport 28s and boxed them up for the trip to Russia.  However in February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar) the Tzar abdicated, effectively leaving the Provisional Government in power.  The provisional government supported the war but much of the military was in a constant state of rebellion.  Because of this turmoil the French didn’t want to send the Nieuport 28s to Russia.  The fear was that Russia could pull out of the war and take all the desperately needed French built equipment with it.  After all the Nieuport 28 was a good aircraft to have in war reserve if needed.  In November 1917 (October in the Gregorian calendar) when the Bolsheviks took over the government and that is exactly what had happened.  Russia signed a peace treaty with Germany and Russia was out of the war.  The Nieuports would stay boxed up for now.

About a year after the Nieuport 28s were pulled from front line service.  The USAAS abandoned all hope of the American made miracle fighter.  Now the USAAS wanted the SPADs but France had already absorbed the badly needed SPADs into their Escadrilles.  So the USAAS bought up all of the best French fighters that they could get.  That would be the Nieuport 28.   Since the aircraft already had the Russian red blue and white roundels painted on them and these are the same as the US national colors they just kept them since the US wanted to get in to the fight as soon as possible.  Later on the Russian tail flash of white, blue and red was dropped and the US tail flash of red, white and blue was adopted.  The Roundels were kept until after the war when the US changed its roundel to a white star in a blue circle with red dot in the center of the star.

The first missions the USAAS flew were without guns since they didn’t even have them yet.  Later they had enough to mount one gun per aircraft.  As has been said since the down of time “You go to war with what you have not what you want”.  

The Nieuport 28 was very maneuverable in the classic tradition of other Nieuport fighter aircraft.  It incorporated some features of the Sopwith Snipe.  If it had it been built a little more sturdily it may have become an important fighter in the air war.  Instead it developed very dangerous structural weaknesses, including its habits of shedding fabric in steep dives and a propensity for engine fires.


Also see the preview of the most recent boxing by Scott

Here is another oldie but a goody.  27 pieces parts of childhood memories.  This is an old Revell kit.  One of my earliest and most treasured memories from way back in the fog of time is building this exact kit with my Grandfather.  In fact I must have built this kit a minimum of eight times, more likely fifteen in all. 

Like most kits of this era they are dated and not considered the pinnacle that they once were.  This kit's moldings were in a brown plastic.  The newer kits are gray while the original kits were light blue (among collectors the color of the plastic is important for collecting proposes).  Whichever color of plastic you get, except for the stand that was in the earlier kits they are all the same.  As a kid I use to give these stands to my little brother so he could use them as enemy airplanes and since the stands were far less maneuverable I would always shoot him down.

Now this kit is not perfect.  If you want to improve it you can get a datafile and make it better.  For me, only one thing really needs to be fixed and it is the shape of the kits engine cowl.  The kits cowl is too square in profile.  The actual cowl is more rounded.


Well if you want a difficult build you won’t find it here…..unless you want to make it difficult……but that’s up to you.  I decided to just build this one straight out of the box. 

You don’t get a detailed cockpit and I didn’t want to put the pilot in but on the other hand at this scale it’s hard to see into that little opening.  Other then the pilot’s seat you just can’t see much.  In short I left the cockpit empty except for the seat.  The only real work I did on this model was the cowl. It needs to be rounded.  A few minutes with a sanding stick will take care of this problem.  If this is not for you, you can get the Rosepart resin replacement cowling and you’re good.  I’ve done it both ways but this time I just sanded the original cowl down with the help of a drummel.  After I got the shape I wanted I carefully cut the cooling holes into the cowling and viola I was done.  I think that a somewhat simple bit of work like this can sometimes makes a big difference.

I got everything together and drilled the little holes for the rigging.  Then I painted the whole thing.  Lastly I put on the top wing.  A somewhat simple process since the struts are already set in an inverted “U” that makes getting them right a lot easier.  For rigging I used 2lbs fishing line but if you don’t want to do rigging just leave it off the model still looks really good unrigged. 


The paint is the standard French five-color camouflage of beige, light green, dark green, brown and black.  The kit was the old collector’s choice kit with decals for three aircraft.  I used the kit decals and they went on great.  Considering that the decals were printed in the 70s I was a happy camper.  Last of all I weathered the little create using water based paint that is very thin.  I like to layer the colors until I get the degree of grime that I want and seal it with clear lacquer.


This was a very fun kit to build.  I’ve always liked the Ni.28 and I always keep my eyes open for this kit at model shows.  It is inexpensive (my local hobby shop sells the new Revell of Germany kit for $5.25) and can be built by just about anyone.  It is the only 1/72 scale model kit of this fighter that I know of.

If you don’t really want to build one for yourself then the next time you’re at a hobby shop pick one up for your kids or grandkids and build a memory that they just might carry with them for some forty-five years or so.


”French Aircraft of the First World War” by Dr. James Davilla and Arthur M. Soltan, Flying Machines Press

Nieuport Fighters in action” Aircraft #98 Squadron/signal publication

“LEGION OF THE LAFAYETTE” By Arch Whitehouse, Modern Literary Editions Publishing Company

“The Imperial Russian Air Service Famous Pilots and Aircraft of World War One” By Alan Durkata, Tom Darcey, Victor Kuhkov, Flying Machines Press

Kyle Bodily

October 2008


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