Formaplane 1/72 Moraine-Saulnier AI
|KIT #:||C 25|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Vacuform with plastic rod|
The AI was developed as a refinement of the Morane-Saulnier Type N concept, and was intended to replace the Nieuport 17 and SPAD VII in French service, in competition with the SPAD XIII, which it was built as a back-up for. Its Gnome Monosoupape 9N 160 CV rotary engine was mounted in a circular open-front cowling. The strut braced parasol wing was swept back. The spars and ribs of the circular section fuselage were wood, wire-braced and covered in fabric, and faired out with wood stringers. The production aircraft were given service designations based on whether they had 1 gun (designated MoS 27) or 2 guns (designated MoS 29).
A number of escadrilles were created to operate the AI, but by mid-May 1918, most of the aircraft were replaced by the SPAD XIII. After structural problems had been resolved, the aircraft were then relegated to use as advanced trainers, with new purpose built examples being designated MoS 30. Many were used post-war after having been surplussed off, as aerobatic aircraft, including one which was flown by Charles Nungesser.
Fifty-one MoS 30s were purchased by the American Expeditionary Force as pursuit trainers.
Formaplane was one of the premiere names in vacuform kits in the early 1970s. I actually built a couple of them and they were fairly basic kits that required a considerable amount of effort from the builder just to do a fair job of the subject.
This one is typical in that it comes in an oversize box with a single sheet of vac plastic and two lengths of plastic rod. This rod is used to make the struts for the wings, tailplanes and the landing gear. It is round so needs to be sanded to an airfoil shape. The vac sheet includes channels the modeler can use to make the various struts so it isn't like you are totally left on your own to shape these.
There are wheels, engine, prop, instrument panel, wings and fuselage halves. Interior bulkheads are provided along with a seat and barrel halves for the machine guns. To make an airfoil shape for the prop, you'll need to fill the back of the prop molding with filler of some sort and then shape it. Same with the engine as you only get the front half. Wings were pretty thin so you may not need to do that for the flight surfaces. The cowling has a number of openings in it that will need to be opened. There is no indication on the cowling just where these go so you need to use the box top or instructions to help in this area. The windscreen will need to be made from acetate.
Instructions consist of a typed build sequence along with an exploded view of where everything goes. Also supplied is a color and markings diagram. Markings will need to come from the spares box or painted on as no decals are provided.
There are few today who would even consider trying to build a kit like this. I obtained this in the IPMS Gateway kit raffle a few days back. One of the 'dangers' of plunking your funds down for raffles. There were several of these types of kit in the pile, undoubtedly from some vendor who bought a collection from a widow and knew he would never sell it.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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