KIT: Special Hobby 1/32 Morane Saulnier Type N
KIT #: SH 32006
PRICE: $45.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Otis Goodin
NOTES: Multimedia kit with resin and P.E. bits.


            The Morane Saulnier Type N was designed as a racing aircraft, and was first test flown in May 1914 shortly before the outbreak of WWI. In June 1914 the plane appeared in public in a series of races held in Vienna piloted by Roland Garros. Garros was already a well known aviator, having been the first person to make a nonstop flight across the Mediterranean in 1913.

After WWI began, the Type N was withheld from combat in favor of the parasol-winged Morane Saulnier Type L. While flying the Type L, Garros became the first person to mount a machine gun to the front of his airplane and fire it through the propeller. This way he could fly and aim by simply pointing his aircraft in the direction he wanted to shoot. To protect the propeller he mounted steel deflector plates to it. In April 1915, armed with his new invention, Garros quickly shot down three German aircraft. Shortly afterward, however, he was shot down and landed his plane behind German lines where he and his aircraft were captured. Upon inspection, the Germans set about developing their own “fly and fire” system, perfecting the interrupter gear which they mounted to the new Fokker Eindeckers. The “Fokker Scourge” soon followed, wreaking havoc on Allied aircraft.

In the meantime, the French had decided to commit the Type N to combat, also equipped with a forward firing machine gun and deflector plates on the propeller. The Type N also equipped four RFC squadrons, where it was known as the “Bullet.” The N also saw limited service with the Imperial Russian Air Service.

Although aesthetically pleasing, the Type N was not an easy plane to fly, relying on wing warping rather than ailerons. Its high landing speed also made it hazardous to land, so it was not popular with its pilots. Ultimately only 49 were built as it was quickly eclipsed by other aircraft. Nevertheless, the Morane Saulnier Type N is worth remembering as one of history’s earliest fighter aircraft.

Technical specifications: Wing Span: 8.30 m, Length: 6.7 m, Max Speed: 165 km/h (102 mph), Ceiling: 4000m.


            This kit, just released by Special Hobby of the Czech Republic, represents the third kit in its line of 1/32 scale aircraft. To my knowledge, it is the first kit of this aircraft in this scale. The parts consist of plastic, resin and photo etch, along with decals for two options.

            The plastic parts are crisply molded in a medium gray plastic with a minimum of flash. Surface detail is good, even down to the buttons on the cockpit seat cushion. The cockpit is a highly detailed kit in itself, including framework, joystick, rudder bar, pump, various gauges, and photo etch seatbelts. About all that is needed are a few rudder cables. The wing ribs and fuselage framing are prominent, but don’t look overdone. There are a few prominent ejector pin marks on the fuselage interior that will need to be removed.

            Resin parts include the engine, a few ammo belts, and a highly detailed propeller complete with deflector plates and support hardware. Photo etch parts consist of detailed seat belts, engine pushrods, and various gauges for the cockpit. Also included are photo etch turnbuckles, although these will probably need to be built up in thickness, otherwise they are too flat.

            Decals are by Aviprint and provide markings for two aircraft, MS 394 of Escadrille MS.12, and MS 391, an aircraft based at Dunkerque. The colors look to be spot on.

            The instructions are generally good but a little confusing in spots, so read them carefully.  Pay particular attention in assembling the various rigging attachments which make up such a prominent part of this airplane’s appearance.


             I’m no expert on WWI French aircraft, but this looks to be a great little kit of an unusual subject that should build into a beautiful model. Special Hobby is to be commended for the quality, subject matter and scale. If this kit is any indication, I can’t wait until they release their 1/32 Albatros D-III.

 Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet.

March 2006

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