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Azur's 1/72 Potez 452

 

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

 

History

The French Navy needed a new floatplane in the mid-1930s and Potez stepped up with their 452 floatplane. This was a high-winged single-engined floatplane designed to be launched from ship catapults. A pilot and an observer made up the crew. In February 1936 Spain obtained a license to begin manufacture of the type, but due to the civil war production did not start, making France the only operator of the Potez 452. The plane found its way onto the catapults of the battleship 'Lorraine' as well as the cruisers 'La Galissonière' and 'La Motte-Picquet'. Several sloops also carried the type. After the armistice in 1940 some Potez 452s saw service in the Far East against Thailand, with a few taking part in the battle of Ko-Chang. The plane remained in service until 1944.

The Kit

By now 1/72 modelers should pretty much know that the name Azur means that the kit will be an obscure French subject, and this kit is no exception. Until this company came along there was absolutely no hope of an injection plastic Potez 452, but now we have one. It's a rather bizarre-looking plane with its odd engine nacelle and bulging crew section. The wings have outboard slats that seem to be more of an afterthought. Azur seems to have captured the odd look of this plane well, though, and while it will be a somewhat complicated build, it will definitely turn heads when done.

The interior is pretty basic, with a floor, two seats, a control stick, rudder pedals, and two instrument panels being all there is. A rear gun is also included. What else there is for the inside on the real thing I don't know, as I haven't been able to find a picture that gets anywhere close to showing details of this plane. The cockpit openings are small, though, so probably the only additional detail needed would be some seatbelts.

The wing is split into an upper and lower half, with the odd slats being provided as resin additions. This is a nice addition as it makes for some thin edges on the slats along with crisp sides for the mounting pieces. Some care will be needed in removing them from the main plug, though, due to this thinness. With the wing being a high-mounted one, with struts everywhere, getting everything aligned will be tricky indeed. To this end, Azur has included a piece of plastic to set between the wing and the fuselage to get the proper spacing. This template will help out considerably in getting the wing at the proper point above the fuselage, but you'll still need to take great care in making sure the wing is set level.

The struts for the wing are an odd arrangement and hold both the outrigger floats and the wings in an intricate arrangement. Luckily the instructions do a good job at showing what goes where and how everything is supposed to be aligned. It will still take some careful fitting and gluing, though. Since the plane is all one color except for the bottom of the hull, you won't have to worry about masking around these struts, which is a good thing.

The decal sheet gives you three choices of Potez 452s. The first one is from the battleship 'Lorraine' and features the cross of Lorraine on the nose. Like all the Potez 452s, the finish is overall light blue gray with the bottom of the hull and outrigger floats painted black. The second choice adds quite a bit of color to the plane in the form of Vichy red and yellow stripes on the cowling and tail surfaces. In addition to this, the wings also have red/white/blue stripes running diagonally on both the upper and lower surfaces. The third choice is a more basic one with French Navy roundels complete with anchors in all six positions (the other two just have the anchor on the rudder).

Conclusion

This is a nice kit of an odd French plane and if you're into either French aviation or floatplanes in general you should definitely look into this kit. It will take a little work in getting that wing set up, but once it's done it'll look really good.




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