When the French Aviation Militare began searching for a replacement for their inadequate Renault AR.1 and AR.2s and the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, a request was made to French manufacturers to submit design proposals. Out of this request came two of the finest aircraft of thewar the Breguet Br.14 and the Salmson 2A2. In an era when most aircraft were powered by rotary, inline or 'V' engines, the Salmson 2A2 was fitted with the 230-hp Salmson 9Za radial engine. Originally intended as an artillery spotting and reconnaissance aircraft to replace the aging Renaults and Sopwiths, the Salmson was later fitted with bomb racks allowing it to carry 230-lbs of bombs. Armament was a fixed Vickers for the pilot and one or two Lewis guns for the observor.
First flown in early 1917, the 2A2 entered escadrille service with SAL.122 (formerly C.122) in October 1917. By the end of the war it was being used by 56 escadrilles and ten American squadrons. Postwar use was extended to Czechoslovakia (50), Japan (between 600-1000 licence-built) Poland, Soviet Union (nine?) and Spain (one). Today at least two examples are still in existence, one in Japan and one in Belgium.
newcomer to the world of WW1 resin kit manufacturers is Artur from the
Czech Republic. They are bringing out kits of aircraft that have been
lacking up until now, whether because of oversight, or because references
were unavailable is the question. Until now I am aware of just two other
1/48 kits of this important aircraft the Merlin kit of dubious
accuracy, and a vacform by Wings'48.
The kit consists of 38 resin parts moulded in a light yellow resin. All components were packaged in plastic bags with the various parts in separate pouches.
fuselage has nicely moulded stringer detail, however the nose appears
to be 1/8 inch too narrow to fit to the cowl and will need a spacer to
allow it to fit correctly. Interior detail is limited to a floor and two
seats, the second of which is most likely to have not been used. I recommend
using the Tom's Modelworks French PE set for this. The best reference
for Salmson interior details can possibly be found in WW1 Aero
exactly where I am afraid I can't say as I haven't added all of those
issues to my database as yet.
wings are in five pieces, the top is in two panels and has a separate
centre section. These have overlapping taps that will require some work
to make a smooth joint. The centre section also has one of the few air
bubbles in my sample, but this is easily fixed. The bottom wings will
also need a little work on them to produce a nice fit to the fuselage
but remember, wings on WW1 aircraft were rarely right flush to
the fuselage, so a little daylight visible is normal.
surfaces are thin for the rudder, while the elevators can stand a little
thinning down on their trailing edges. Mounting the elevators will also
be tricky as they are only attached by a single spar to the fuselage
on the real thing the entire tail surface is movable. I suggest replacing
the so-so stubs on the elevators with metal rods. You will also need to
construct the pylon that supports the front of the rudder.
final bag/wafer has all the struts, wheels, seats and blisters that adorn
the aircraft. On its own is the cowl, unfortunately here is where the
kit has its only real downside. The cooling louvres that are so prominent
on the real aircraft are hard to see on my sample. The same applies to
the radial engine detail on the front of the cowl. This may be fixed by
carefully deepening the lines radiating out from the centre or
by drilling it out and scratchbuilding cooling fins.
No Vickers or Lewis guns are supplied, but these may be acquired from either Roseparts or Aeroclub aftermarket accessories.
No instructions or decals are included. However three xeroxed pages give a brief history of the type, two photos and scale drawings which will help in the construction. Also on the drawings are colour notes and marking options. The markings are correct, but the colour notes are totally spurious and represent the time (1961) that they were written. These call for the aircraft to be finished in three colours light brown, light green and dark green, or in light grey overall. In reality the Salmson was finished in either the usual five-colour camouflage chocolate brown, black, ecru (beige), light green and dark green, or in 'yellow' overall. I will be illustrating examples of both when the full-build article is published in our pages.
I can heartily recommend the Artur Salmson to those who enjoy the actual building of a kit. My thanks to Lubos Vinar of VAMP Mail Order who supplied the review sample.