RVHP's 1/72 French
Nieuport Triplane

By Matt Bittner


While the Germans and the British were experimenting with - and using - triplane designs with success, the type never saw favor with the French.  Even so, the Nieuport company experimented with a number of types of theirs in the triplane configuration.  The first was based on a Nieuport 10, but the most famous were those based on the Nieuport 17.

The first Nieuport (17) Triplane was tried by the French and quickly abandoned, coming on line October 1916 and was considered obsolete in November 1916 and discarded.  It was finished overall in the two-color, early French camouflage and had a Lewis gun mounted on the center, forward fuselage firing through the propeller.  There were other types built by Nieuport and delivered to the British - another based on the "standard" Nieuport 17 and one delivered to the RNAS based on the Nieuport 17bis with the rounded fuselage and larger, Clerget engine.  The British held both in low regards.

While the forward and upwards vision was very good - due to the high wing being behind the pilot - the forward and downwards vision was horrid due to the middle wing being attached directly to the upper fuselage right at the cowl line.  While controllability was decent - minus taxing - stability was very bad, being quite directionally unstable.

Even though it was not a machine put into production, and nothing anybody truly wanted to fly, the Nieuport Triplanes are definitely conversation starters due to their unique design of the three wings.

The Kit

The RVHP French Nieuport Triplane consists of 21 pieces of resin and one piece of brass strut material.  Decals consist of roundels for the wings and stripes for the rudder.  The Nieuport Triplane is marketed as two distinct types - British and French.  It appears the primary differences are the top-most wing, armament and decals.  The one I bought is - naturally - the French one, which also had a coné de pénétration.

Overall the kit is fantastic.  I'm a stickler for accuracy on all Nieuport kits, and this one hits the mark almost everywhere.  The only parts I'm not 100% satisfied with are the landing gear struts - I'll replace mine with those from Rosemont.  Otherwise all the kit parts will be used.  It's very important to note that the fuselage is accurate!

I don't like the colors of the decals, but I also adhere to the dull red/powder blue theory on French WW1 roundel colors.  They may be good enough for most other modelers.


This is a wonderful kit.  While the inside of the cockpit may need "Dremeling" back - since it's a one piece fuselage and solid from the rear of the cockpit back - I foresee very little in terms of work on this kit.  I truly like the way RVHP slots the lower and middle wings into the fuselage.  Highly recommended!

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