AZ Model 1/72
Breguet 14 A2 and B2

By Pedro Nuno Soares


Introduction

The Breguet 14 ranks, without a shadow of doubt, amongst the most famous and important French aircraft of world war one.

Designed in 1916 and put into production in 1917, it would play a very important role in the last two years of the war to end all wars both as a reconnaissance aeroplane – Bre14 A2 – and especially as a bomber – the Bre 14B2 – that would form the backbone of the French bombing campaign in the last year of the conflict, when the Breguet groups, according to the entry in the old Harleyford “Reconnaissance and bomber aircraft of the 1914-1918 war”, dropped no less than 1,853 tons of bombs over German targets.

This important Breguet design would also see service in large quantities not only with Belgian and American units during the war, but also in the years that ensued with a plethora of air forces from such different corners of the globe as China, Denmark, Japan, Lithuania, Persia, Spain, Romania, Brazil, and a good handful of others, including the country from where these letters are being written – Portugal.

The Breguet 14 would also inscribe its name in gold in the history of civil aviation, where it appears associated with such names as Jean Mermoz and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the magnificent saga of the Latecoére line/Aeropostale.

A google search on Breguet 14 yielded a total of 1,030,000 results so I will not waste much time space on historic notes that can easily be obtained.

But, one of the schemes that AZ models has included in their 14A2 kit is of particular interest to this writer since it represents an aircraft that would be associated with a flight that in a way marks the beginning of the great flights that intrepid flyers from the incipient Air Arms of the Portuguese Army and Navy would carry out in the 20’s. This was not just one more flight, and I hereby promise to return to this topic with a full build up article of the Bre. 14 A2 Cavaleiro Negro in which Sarmento de Beires and Brito Pais would try to fly from Amadora, a town close to Lisbon, to the island of Madeira, on the 18th October 1920.

The kits

When trying to assess the accuracy of AZ models new rendition of both main versions of the Breguet 14, the reconnaissance aircraft A2, and the bomber B2. I’ve consulted plans in FMP’s big French tome (French Aircraft of World War 1), and Aircraft Archive Vol 1.

Checking the parts against the drawings I found out that the fuselage is generally ok for both versions, although about one fat mm short. The cowling section could be about 1mm higher in plan view too.

Correcting the odd missing mm on the length of the fuselage would be a matter of adding some plastic to the front and to the rear end of the fuselage, since the cowling panels are correctly located.

To me this is not a matter of concern, though, since I think that one mm in a model 123mm long is well within my tolerance levels.

The top wing is spot on for the earlier type without balanced ailerons, and tailplane, elevators, fin and rudder are also perfect matches to Ian Stair’s and Colin Owers Drawings.

As to the lower wings, the A2 wing matches quite well the Stair drawing (Aircraft archive) but if you go by the Owers drawing (FMP) it should be about 1 mm longer. The B2 wing, by its turn, is about 1mm short for both drawings.

Again I don’t think that this will be a matter of great importance once the model is finished, and is not the type of “inaccuracy” that I would waste time with.

It should be also noted that the kits are correctly engineered so as to leave a gap between the fuselage and the root of the lower wing as on the original. This poses a problem of strength for the wing to fuselage join and I think it’s advisable to reinforce it with some piano wire or some such gimmick to avoid nasty surprises.

The injected parts are well defined and crisply molded, being generally flash free.

Both kits share one sprue with the top wing and other parts common to both versions while the different fuselages and lower wings are part of a sprue specific for each version.

It should be noted that the kits do not include alternative parts for the later type wings, so maybe we haven’t yet seen the last of the AZ Breguets.

The important side (on the B2) and underside (on the A2) “windows” are provided as part of a PE fret that is also common to both versions which also includes some detail parts for the cockpit, a gun ring and bomb clips for the B2.

Some resin parts are also provided and for the B2 these include two types of bombs.

The decals are well printed without registration problems but I’ll come back to this later.

The B2 is served by a decal sheet that has markings for three French aircraft with Humbrol codes being provided for the colours used.

The A2 is more interesting in terms of schemes provided since as the box art says this is an “in European service” issue. As such we get not only the aforementioned Portuguese all black Cavaleiro Negro, but also markings for a a Czech and a Turkish aircraft.

There is a problem with the decals though and it affects the Turkish and Portuguese examples. In fact the Portuguese crosses and the Turkish squares are printed on a separate sheet and this, at least on the review sample, shows a red that is much darker than the one that is used for the rest of the insignias on the main decal sheet.

I’m also suspicious about the type of cross provided for the Portuguese insignia, since the flats on the arms look too broad to me. This is only a suspicion that will have to be further investigated, though. That I know of , there is only one picture of the Cavaleiro Negro which is reproduced in the book “Homens e Aviões na História da Amadora”, published by the municipality of Amadora, The quality of the reproduction will not clarify this doubt, so, as I said, this is something worth looking into.

The instruction sheet is common to both kits and further to the usual construction diagrams it also provides a useful rigging diagram.

All things considered I think AZ models Breguet kits will produce a fine model of this famous aircraft and I think that they can be fully recommended to the WW1 modeler,


Thanks to AZ for the review samples.

 

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