Heller 1/72 Caudron C.714
KIT #: 80218
PRICE: $3.00 on sale
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas

The Caudron Renault 714, or C.714 Cyclone, was the final evolution of the C.710 series of light fighter aircraft developed by Caudron-Renault for the French Air Force just prior to the start of World War II. The C.714 featured a strengthened fuselage and a new wing airfoil profile, with four 7.5 mm MAC 1934 machine guns in the wing gondolas. It was powered by the latest version of the Renault 12R V-12 air-cooled inverted piston engine, which could operate in negative g due to a special carburettor design.
Heller introduced this kit in 1967, reissuing it from time to time ever since (also reboxed by Reflex, Centaur, SMER, ZTS Plastyk and Mistercraft through the years) with the molds totally unchanged. My copy was the 1993 edition, discovered (together with some other Heller/Airfix similar kits) in a small town’s book/toy shop on my way to vacations in summer 2004, at killer prices. Needless to say I bought them all, five in total, costing me less than a good decal sheet...

The C.714 kit comes in the typical small attractive Heller top opening box, with a very nice box art of artist Serge Jamois, portraying a C.714 having intercepted what looks like a Do-17 at the very distant background. Upon opening the box I was greeted with the ever so familiar Heller kit image: just 28 light gray styrene parts, arranged in two sprues: one containing the top wing halves and the other containing everything else.

General shapes look correct, with the external details being, of course, raised all over. Fabric representation is good, as is the general molding with not that much flash. A number of ejector pin marks were spotted (some at visible areas that have to be removed - like the ones at the exact middle of the stabilizers). The delicate telescopic sight is molded together with one of the fuselage halves and will most probably pose some issues during filling, sanding and painting, so you might consider shaving it off and attach it at later stages

There’s no interior to speak of, just an oversize rudimentary seat, not even a pilot to fill the empty space: some beefing up will be desirable there, especially when taking into account the relatively extensive glazing. Similarly, there are no wheel bays at all, though the landing gear parts are sufficiently represented. The radiator intake is merely represented as a concavity, looking unrealistic and the same can be said for the distinctive exhausts, which are represented as protrusions.

The canopy is quite well molded but to the thick side (the latter not necessarily being a disadvantage, as it will distort the interior’s emptiness…). Instructions chrome to the typical Heller b/w folded A3 size paper, containing a short history of the type, with the construction depicted in two assembly drawings, each (especially the first) containing a good number of assembly/attachment actions, nothing that even the novice cannot handle, though. Color callouts are provided where applicable, but only in Humbrol codes (meaning having your conversion charts or your relative net application handy!).

Only one scheme is provided, for a I/145 Group De Chasse machine as it stood in June 1940, featuring the familiar French WWII shades, i.e. intermediate blue-gray topsides with green and brown disruptions and lighter gray (“steel” gray) undersides. Decals, while not perfectly registered, are acceptable and look usable after 30 years!

The first “multi-step” of the instructions includes joining the fuselage halves, attaching the top cowling, the canopy, the vertical stabilizers, assembly and attachment of the main wing with the pilot’s seat trapped-in and attachment of the nose with the prop also trapped. The canopy is shown attached at this step, too. The second multi-step deals with attachment of the landing gear, the guns and the ventral antenna, ending a seemingly easy and uncomplex build.

Cannot be more “Heller” than this: an old mold of a French WWII fighter that leans towards the “esoteric” category, acceptable overall shapes, sparse details at key areas, relatively well molded with not too much flash, low parts count, acceptable decals and sufficient instructions that promise an uncomplex build. With the detailed but more expensive modern tool RS offering being the other 1/72 altetrnative, the venerable, simplistic Heller is still a decent, unpretentious kit that will produce an equally decent representation of the petite fighter.

Happy Modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

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