The first successful Nieuport sesquiplane design was the two-seater Ni.10. Later this was enlarged slightly and given a larger engine . . the resulting aircraft was known as the Nieuport 12. As with the earlier Ni.10, the Ni.12 saw service with most of the Allied air services. Armament was a machine gun for the observer, who was now seated in the rear (in the Ni.10, the pilot sat behind the observer and the observer could stand up and fire through a cutout in the centre-section). With the change in position the pilot now had no upward view, therefore a clear cellon covered opening was fitted to allow a modicum of visibility in the upward sector.
The Nieuport 12 was used as a frontline aircraft by at least 36 Escadrilles as well as at least eight British units, it was withdrawn from active service in early 1917. There were derivatives of the basic Ni.12 developed by the British and built by Beardmore as the Ni.20, these can be distinguished by the different cowl and fin.
I must admit I had never given the Nieuport two-seaters a second thought until I visited the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa in 1996 and saw theirs in the restoration shed .. ever since I have had a soft spot for these nearly forgotten aircraft.
Formaplane has a Ni.12 in its line of vacforms - and it is a very nice kit, but this is the first injected or resin 1/72 Ni.12 I am aware of, and as such it was with much anticipation that I placed my order for this kit.
The kit consists of the usual light tan resin parts, these consist of fuselage halves, wings, floor, wheels, struts, Vickers and Lewis gun, bulkheads, instrument panel, cowl. Starting with the fuselage. The interior of it is clear of detail and is commendably thin. This will allow the builder to detail the interior to their own desire. The exterior detail is poor, especially the fairings from the rear of the cowl. These should be open to allow the gases to exit, however they are molded as solid, and are slightly dimpled, so they will require work to fix.
The wings are a mixture of good and bad .. the detail on the upper wing is nice, however the wing itself is quite thick on the trailing edges. The lower wings are thin, but both will benefit from a few swipes of the sanding block. The tail surfaces are fine and will just need minor cleanup.
The interior details are all 'soft' and could stand a little work with needle files or a sharp ex-acto blade.
A decal sheet is included with generic Imperial Russian Air Service markings.
To round off the kit, a double sided page of drawings and photos is included. this contains a four-view plan of the aircraft, two camouflage schemes as well as six photos and an exploded drawing showing all the parts.
The new Eduard Nieuport gunring as well as other aftermarket parts will go a long way to improving the kit. But even OOB, and with a little work, the Ni12 can be made into a nice part of anyone's collection of Nieuport aircraft.