Windsock Datafile 160, Nieuport Nighthawk

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Colin A. Owers
Other Publication Information
Softcover, 36 pages (including covers), historical text, color profiles, period photos, technical drawings
Product / Stock #
Provided by: Windsock Datafiles - Website: Visit Site

Many aviation history buffs and WWI model aircraft builders know it is not unusual for Albatros Productions to come up with something relatively unknown for a 2-4 page article in their quarterly Windsock Worldwide magazine. But, occasionally Ray Rimell and his team collect enough information to justify an entire publication on the subject, and that publication is known as a Windsock Datafile. That appears to have happened in the case of the latest one. In Datafile 160, Author Colin A. Owers has amassed and delivered a wealth of information in words and pictures (70 in total) in his study of the frontline fighter that never was: the Nieuport Nighthawk. The interesting presentation includes the story of the various often-forgotten types that were generated from that aircraft –the Nighthawk Racers, Nightjar, and Sparrowhawk.

As the product description on Albatros’ website says: "Had ‘The Great War' continued into 1919, the radial-engined Nieuport Nighthawk may well have ousted the Sopwith Snipe as the Royal Air Force’s premier Front-line fighter. It was not to be: a few examples went out to the Middle East, others converted to air racers, yet more to the Japanese Navy for shipborne trials. All this and more is carefully chronicled by Colin Owers in our 160th DATA FILE that includes over 70 rare archive photos. There are also detailed 1:48/1:72 scale plans, airframe sketches and superb profiles by Ronny Bar illustrating nine colourful examples of the Nighthawk from 1917-1923 - all topped off by Paul Monteagle's brilliant cover. Another great addition to this long-running and popular series!”

The narrative continues well into the 1920s, with Gloster manufacturing a number of aircraft in the Nighthawk family, decisions to offer a navalized version (that also was tested by the US Navy), the development of a two-place trainer, a number of export versions going to The Royal Hellenic Air Force, and, as noted above, the Japanese Navy’s use of a number of Gloucestershire-built Sparrowhawks as ship-born aircraft. It is a fascinating story, and one that justifies the author’s closing observation that “The Nighthawk cannot be called a success, but it was not a failure.”

An internet search confirmed that the obscurity of this might-have-been fighter is supported by the fact that only two plastic model kits have been marketed for the Nighthawk. And, those kits are of the limited run type and generally difficult to find.

For those who might have an interest, they are:

  • Airflow Resins 1/72 Scale – Resin (Kit #02)
  • Blue Rider Models 1:72 Scale – Vacuform (Kit # BR 106)

The Nieuport Nighthawk, Nightjar, and Sparrowhawk family would make attractive modeling subjects, so they just might make for an interesting project or two (or three) for scratchbuilders. If that is the case, Datafile 160 will provide all that would be needed to undertake such a project.

This Datafile is highly recommended. My thanks to Albatros Productions for providing the review copy and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review another edition of this excellent publication.


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