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Eduard's 1/48 Nieuport 17 (RFC)

By Tom Cleaver


The Airplane

The Nieuport 17 was the best of the Allied scouts in 1916, until the advent of the Sopwith Pup and Triplane. This was the year the Albatros fighters first arrived on the Western Front and within a month destroyed the air superiority the Royal Flying Corps had established over the Somme battlefield during five months of hard fighting. When the Type 17 appeared in the late Spring of 1916 and the RFC was able to get its hands on one to test, their demand for the airplane exploded.

The Nieuport 17 was vastly superior to the Airco DeHavilland DH2, and soon became the mount of such aces as Albert Ball and Billy Bishop, who flew it as "lone wolves," a fighting style that would find its way into aerial mythology, but would soon demonstrate infeasibility against German units following the "Dicta Boelcke." Acclaimed the British Ace of Aces of the First World War, Bishop was later one of the founders of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a leader of the RCAF during the Second World War. Today, it appears that Bishop can more accurately lay claim to the title of "Greatest Truth Embellisher" of the Great War Aces. Awarded the Victoria Cross for a single-handed attack on a German aerodrome June 2, 1917, that resulted in shooting down several opposing German fighters, there has never been a German record found that would substantiate such an event. Of the 72 victories eventually claimed by Bishop, historians today are hard-pressed to put his actual score into double digits. Captain Albert Ball - who epitomized the "lone wolf" to the British newspaper-reading public of the time - seems to have been a more honest fighter, and no one seriously questions his score, even though almost all his victories were claimed on solo patrols where there was no one to back up his claim; German records after the war showed his claims were at least as accurate as most other pilots, and made in good faith.

The Kit

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The kit is the standard-release Nieuport 17, with the "solid" upper wing. The upper Lewis Gun mounting is the original French type that required the pilot to stand up in the cockpit to reload the weapon. Two sprues of medium-grey plastic provide all the parts. The decal sheet provides the option of doing two aircraft: B1566 - the airplane flown by Billy Bishop from April 20-July 20, 1917, in which he claimed 28 of his 72 victories and was flying when he made the attack for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, and a Nieuport flown by "C" Flight of 29 Squadron between April and June, 1917.



As has been stated regarding previous Eduard releases of this kit, a modeler who wants to try doing a World War I biplane should consider starting with this kit. It is simple to build, easy to rig, and makes up into a good-looking model of an important airplane in the history of the development of fighter aircraft. As with the other releases, this Nieuport is highly recommended.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM

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