Nieuport 17 WW1 Centenary Special Edition
Recently Academy has jumped on the bandwagon of World War 1 related items by re-releasing a couple of their older 1/32nd scale aircraft. This one is the ubiquitous Nieuport 17. This new commemorative edition features new decals for three aircraft, a little string for rigging, and a small photoetch sheet for details.
Having built this model a number of times over the years, I still consider it one of the best offerings Academy has ever done of a WW1 aircraft. It captures the lines of this scrappy little fighter quite well. The only notable exception is the upper wing gun, which doesn’t to my eye come close to representing a Lewis gun, or any other aircraft gun of the period, for that matter.
In general, the model builds quite easily with a minimum number of parts, and the fit is such that little, if any, putty is required. This release includes a new photoetch control panel, which takes care of a glaring absence in the original kit, although it’s hard to see in the finished model. Being a total klutz with photoetch I elected to pass on the fuselage stitching and metal straps and supports for the wing V-struts, all of which I found frustrating to try to fit. I would have much preferred if they’d offered photoetch wire wheels or the perforated metal seat back so common to French aircraft of the period.
Now on to painting. Like the Ford Model T, the choice of painting options is somewhat limited (any color as long as it’s black). In this case there’s still argument over whether these aircraft were light gray or silver doped. I’ve done both, but wanted to do this in the somewhat more appealing silver doping with a nicely polished engine cowling. In addition, I wanted a version that didn’t require the dubious wing gun, which was unreplaceable from my spares box. I chose a colorful set of decals left over from a previous conversion project, as they fit the bill nicely. Still, as can be seen, the choices from the kit are appealing as well, although the blue is really too dark for French Blue. Your call, although if you do choose one of the kit offerings you may want to do something about the wing gun.
Unlike the Sopwith Camel from this series, no attempt has been made to oversimplify the rigging attachment points. Consequently, I just drilled tiny holes and inserted eyebolts where needed for a more accurate appearance. Rigging itself was with the perpetually useful fishing line with tiny pieces of brass tubing to represent the turnbolts, and the model was finished.
Of the two offerings in this new line, this is by far the more accurate. It really looks like a Nieuport and is just loaded with charm. At the price, it’s a bargain worth getting.
My thanks, as always, to IPMS/USA and Academy Models for the chance to build and review this little gem.