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Hi-Tech Breguet Bre.14B2

 

Multi-media 1/48 kit

 

By Franco Poloni

 

The Aircraft

The Breguet 14 was the most succesful French bomber of WW1, and when it entered service, was more advanced than the comparable machines used by British and Germans. The prototype AV1 made its first flight on 21 November 1916, and by January 1917 the test flights were completed and the Bre.14 was ready to enter service. The Breguet 14b2 was a two seater tractor biplane, powered by a 300 hp inline Renault engine, could carry 730 kg of bombs and fuel, climb to 4000 mt in 26 min., and fully loaded could fly at 165 km per hr at that height.

The Kit

The only drawings of the Breguet Bre.14 I have are from the book "FRENCH AIRCRAFT OF WWI" by James Davilla & Arthur Soltan - published by Flying Machines Press, which are good, they only need to be scaled up to 1/48. Keeping this in mind, let's give the kit a look; the box is in the Eduard shape, with a beautiful b/w photo on the cover, showing the aircraft in three quarter rear view. In the box there are 27 plastic parts, six white metal, five resins, 33 photo etched, and decals for one aircraft.

Fuselage

Nice, with good fabric covering and lacing details, but it lacks the rear presentation of the covering and it is completely flat, while in the actual aircraft should be slightly convex. It also lacks the transparent panel that enabled both pilot and observer to look below. Of course, all these minor faults are easily repaired with some cutting and sanding, a great help here is the fact that the plastic is quit soft and thin. The resin radiator is very good also, and great idea from HI-TECH to rappresent the engine cowling with panels in photo-etch, that reproduce very well all the details and grilles of this area.

Cockpit

Beautiful, and complete: The tubular structure is depicted with a cage of circular section plastic rod, floor and instrument panel and various details in photo-etch, with the pilot's seat in resin. Unfortunately the control column is in flat photo-etch, but this is really the only shortcoming of this zone of the kit. I think that the only thing to add here are some cables, that's all. Very good are the observer's Lewis machine guns, and their gun mount, while the pilot's fixed Vickers should have a photo-etched jacket, instead of being in white metal.

Flying surfaces

These have a good ribbing detail (like Blue Max) and thin trailing edges. The lower wing has a photo-etch panel that represents the Michelin bomb racks. The model is completed by plastic wing struts, white metal propeller, undercarriages and tail skid, and resin tyres and engine exhaust.

Decals

The decals (by Aeromaster) depict a Breguet Bre.14 of Esacadrille BR.117, and consist of national insignas for wings and tail fin, black numeral "3" for wings and fin, and a unit insigna - a red cock with bomb in his claw in white circle - for fuselage , plus a white circle (without cock) for the upper wing. This detail is shown in the box photo, which was taken before the painting job was finished.

Final Thoughts

Well, this is, in my opinion, a wonderful kit - not only because it is highly detailed and complete, but because all the materials involved are used while keeping in mind their characteristics: White metal's characteristic is strength, so it is used for undercarriage; Photo etched parts are flat, so it is NOT used to reproduce 3-D parts, such as the cockpit structure, but is used for flat, or 2-D parts such as the instrument panel. The plastic is light and stable, so the wings will not bend after a couple of years, and resin can be moulded in very detailed parts, such as the radiator.

With all these merits, one could think this kit is highly expensive; well, it is not. I found it cheaper than many other short run kits.




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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
87199-0933
USA

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