|KIT:||Eduard 1/72 Nieuport 17|
|NOTES:||'Flyboys' boxing. lots of extra bits|
The Nieuport 17 was the most famous of the many models of Nieuport fighters used in WW1. The N.17 first appeared in May of 1916, and was France’s frontline fighter until the SPAD series of aircraft began to replace it in early 1917. The Nieuport 17 was flown by the French, British, Russians, Italians, Dutch, Finns, and Belgians during the war. (It was also used as an advanced trainer by the Americans.) The Nieuport 17 was the aircraft first associated with a number of famous French aces, including Charles Nungesser, Georges Guynemer, and the pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille.
The Nieuport 17 was typically armed with a single machine gun—either a cowl-mounted Vickers, or a wing-mounted Lewis gun. (A few aircraft carried two guns.) Some aircraft had clear sections in the top wing over the cockpit for better pilot visibility. Some aircraft also carried a cone de penetration (a non-moving spinner), which was designed to improve aerodynamics, but it was uncommon.
Nieuport 17s generally came from the factory with an overall aluminum dope finish. This finish was adopted because experience had shown that the linen covering would deteriorate from the sun’s UV rays over time, and the aluminum pigments in the paint were found to give the best protection. The planes were called “Silver Hawks” by the troops on the ground. In general, the French aircraft had a variety of colorful individual markings, while the British aircraft were often more subdued, and were more likely to be camouflaged.
The story of the Lafeyette Escadrille was the inspiration behind the movie “Flyboys”. As a tie-in to the movie, Eduard has released a series of Limited Edition kits with movie box art, and decals for aircraft form the film. Eduard re-released their 1/48 scale Nieuport 17 and 1/72 scale Fokker Triplane as “Flyboys” kits. Best of all, they also introduced a new Nieuport 17 in 1/72 scale, something WW1 modelers have wanted for a long time.
Prior to the release of this kit, the options for a Nieuport 17 in 1/72 scale were the ancient Esci and Revell kits. Finally we have a modern kit of this important WW1 fighter! While the first release is with decals for the fictional aircraft of the movie, there are bound to be later releases with historic markings.
The kit consists of about 40+ parts, molded in a pale tan plastic. It is obvious that Eduard will offer a variety of Nieuport 17s when they do a non-movie version of the kit—there are a number of extra parts on the sprues that are not used for the movie models. Among the extra parts are three cowlings, a cone de penetration, and two top wings. There is also a little plastic bag with two different windscreens, molded in clear plastic.
The kit includes two different top wings. There is the standard wing, and one with the open section over the cockpit. The kit also includes an optional Lewis gun mount for the top wing. Three of the movie aircraft use the solid top wing, while the fourth has the open section, with the extra Lewis gun.
The moldings for the parts are terrific. The trailing edges are thin, and the fabric detail is very subdued, as it should be in this scale. There is no overdone fabric texture like you’ll find on the old Revell or Esci kits. The wing ribs are subtly represented, too.
The cockpit detail may be the weakest part of the kit—there is a nice floor, a seat, and a control stick, but that’s about it. The fuselage mounted Vickers gun is a little plain, but does include an ammo feed and cartridge chute. The Lewis gun is very nice, and the aileron bellcranks are separate pieces. Of course, the Vickers gun will be hard to see in its location, while the Lewis gun will be very visible.
The instructions are printed on the standard Eduard style. (Eduard now posts their kit instructions on their website, so you can view them there.) Also included is a separate four page, glossy, full color booklet showing the color and markings for the four planes in the kit. The instructions include a nice rigging guide, as you’d expect to find in an Eduard kit.
The decal sheet is jam-packed. In addition to the national markings, there is a full set of stripes, and stencils. There are also a full set of personalized markings to do the aircraft for four of the main pilots form the movie.
While the decals provide all the markings for fictional aircraft from the movie, the basics markings are separate, so you could build a “real” Nieuport 17 if you wanted to. I like that the rudder stripes and stencils are separate decals, so you can paint the stripes if that’s your preference. The decals are very thin looking, and very sharply printed.
Another great WW1 kit from Eduard. The kit is reasonably priced, and a good value for the money. I suspect that it won’t be long before Eduard releases the kit with some PE details as a profipack kit, with a variety of markings options. But in the meantime, this kit is so much better than the old Esci and Revell offerings.
With the release of this kit, and the Roden Sopwith Camel, we now have modern releases all of the major fighters from WW1 in 1/72 scale. If you’re not a fan of the movie, I’m sure this very nice Nieuport 17 will soon be available with “real” historic decals. If you can’t wait, you can leave the fictional markings off and just use the basic decals to do a historical aircraft.
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