Someone once called the SPAD XII "the most exclusive WWI fighter". But if you really want to have THE MOST exclusive WWI scout, you must choose a Nieuport 25.
At first designed as a refined version of the Nieuport 24 with a 200hp Clerget 11E engine. But after the failure of the Clerget 11E project, it was equipped with the less powerful 168 hp engine of the same manufacturer – probably some version of the Clerget 9Bd.
The total number of airframes built and exact performance specificationss are unknown, except for the remark that the climb was slightly better than in earlier Nieuports.
However one thing is for sure: The Nieuport 25 became personal warhorse of the famous French Nieuport ace, Charles Nungesser. In known photos we can see his Nieuport 25 with two different serial numbers: originally marked N5324 and later repainted as N1895, which Nungesser had taken from his earlier Nieuport 17bis and used on many of his planes. N5324 was in typical Nieuport silver painting, with French tricolour diagonal stripes on wings and fuselage, and with the famous Nungesser black heart with skull, bones, coffin and candles on it.
That marking corresponded well with Nungesser's frontline aviator experience: The French ace faced death many times, eventually scoring 43 air victories, and having sustained an equally impressive amount of injuries: "Skull fracture, brain concussion, internal injuries (multiple), five fractures of the upper jaw, two fractures of lower jaw, piece of anti-aircraft shrapnel imbedded in right arm, dislocation of knees (left and right), re-dislocation of left knee, bullet wound in mouth, bullet wound in ear, atrophy of tendons in left leg, atrophy of muscles in calf, dislocated clavicle, dislocated wrist, dislocated right ankle, loss of teeth, contusions too numerous to mention." (From Nungesser's medical record, quoted from The Aerodrome Forum).
Some sources state that 1895 was a second Nungesser's Nieuport 25, with similar marking, but finished in typical late war French five color camouflage.
Kits by Choroszy are all very good, and this one is no exception. Moulded in tan resin, all 35 parts are very well detailed, all surfaces are very clean, and even smallest details are very good, which is not so common in mainstream resin kits in 1/72 scale.
Fuselage halves have precisely moulded, and very complex internal and external structures, so there is not much work left even for a superdetailer. One side contains precisely placed locator pin (another thing not so common in resin kits) which makes joining fuselage halves much easier.
One thing here is doubtful for me: both fuselage halves have on their internal front area (between engine and cockpit) a little strange detail - ladder-like 'thingie' which looks like too big bracket to hold the engine mixture control. If my intuition is right here, it should be only on port, not on both sides, but in completed model that area won't be very visible, so there is no real problem with it.
The fuselage fits the drawings well, it is properly deep and only 1mm too short, but this is not very important mistake. More interesting is that the instruction sheet contains a more serious mistake: it gives the length as 5.40m, which is 47cm too short, in comparison with data given by all other sources.
Interior details are very precisely done, and consist of seat, rudder, instrument panel, nicely detailed stick and very good – and so typical for Nieuports – kickboards for pilot's feet, under the rudder pedals. You only need to scratchbuild the used ammo belt drum and seatbelts.
Wings (with proper sweepback at last!!!) are extremely good. Trailing edges are as sharp as a knife, wing ribs are visible but very delicate, and there are holes for separately (and perfectly!) moulded aileron cranks. Leading edge needs some sanding, but that is normal with all resin kits. Span and all other dimensions are correct.
Tail surfaces are very good too, only the fin has one pinhole on its front corner, and also another hole, looking like a well known resin pinhole too, but surprisingly it is shown also on instruction sheet. I was looking carefully on the photographs in Nieuport Datafile Special, but haven't found any trace of that hole. So fill it with putty, or not, as you like.
Other details are many. Vickers machine gun (my kit contains two) is good, but you can replace it with new Part PE one, which seems to be even better. Interplane struts are decent, but can be refined a little with careful sanding. Undercarriage legs are correct in general shape and dimensions, but are just the same as in Nieuport 24 and 27, and in Nieuport 25 ones should have a little broader chord fairings. Wheel axle is exceptional, with very thin details. Wheels are OK., but I've seen better. Engine and propeller are good, and the engine cowling looks excellent: it is very thin, the best I've ever seen. (I must admit, that in case of engine cowlings Advanced Modeller Syndrome strikes me the most severely...)
The decals are very sharp and thin, containing four big and two small French cockades in proper colours (I love that pale blue!), similar tricolor rectangles for fin and rudder, Nungesser's black hearts and a set of very sharp serials. Pity there is no "lever ici" label, but nobody's perfect...
All is packed in cardboard box, which contains also a piece of clear plastic for windshield, instruction sheet with short specifications, dimensions and performances, exploded view of parts placement, and 1/72 three-view plans with painting scheme in black and white. Exploded view shows one part which really don't exist in real model – a footstep. Manufacturer Tomasz Choroszy told me, that modeler must scratchbuild it from wire or even more easily from stretched sprue.
This kit is much more than very good. Even compared with great Ardpol kits, it is for sure the best resin model I've seen. Perfect dimensions and shapes, very delicate details and ease of building makes Choroszy's Nieuport 25 the perfect resin model kit, which can be build even by modeler with no experience with resins. It is funny coincidence that name of manufacturer, "Choroszy", means "good" in Russian.
I would like to thank Tomasz Choroszy for making the model kit available for review.