Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 Dewoitine D.500
By Matt Bittner
Taken from Wikipedia:
"The Dewoitine D.500 was an all-metal, open-cockpit, fixed-undercarriage monoplane fighter aircraft designed and produced by French aircraft manufacturer Dewoitine.
"Developed from a specification issued by the French Air Ministry during 1930, the D.500 was developed to be a more capable replacement to the Nieuport 62. Ordered by the French Air Force during November 1933 and introduced in its initial model during 1935, the design was developed into several variants, most notably the D.510, which was re-engined with the more powerful Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs powerplant. It proved to be a relatively popular aircraft during the Interwar period; in France, in addition to the French Air Force's units, a specialised model of the type, the D.501, was also procured by the French Naval Aviation for carrier operations. Beyond its use in France, the D.500 saw several export sales and evaluations by prospective major customers including the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom.
"The D.500/D.501 saw combat with several operators. During the Spanish Civil War, it was surreptitiously supplied to the Spanish Republican Air Force; it was also flown by the Republic of China Air Force against the invading Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War. During the late 1930s, the type was largely superseded by a new generation of French fighter aircraft, these typically featured further innovations such as enclosed cockpits and retractable undercarriages, and included the design's direct successor, the Dewoitine D.520. Despite being largely obsolete, both D.500s and D.510s were operated by the French Air Force during the initial months of the Second World War, the latter remaining in use up to the end of the Battle of France and signing of the Armistice of 22 June 1940 between France and Nazi Germany."
I know of two other D.500-series of kits: the venerable one from Heller and the more recent one from Pavla.
The Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) 1/72 Dewoitine D.500 consists of 68 pieces of gray injected plastic and one clear windsreen. Because KP made all sprue frames for all three types (D.500, D.501 and D.510) there will be plenty of leftover parts for your spares bin. In this release are decals for three D.500s:
- 3C2 Navy Squadron, French Navy, 1935 (finished overall in aluminum)
- GC I/4, Reims airfield, French AF, February 1937 (finished overall in aluminum with a green forward fuselage and top-of-the-wing)
- CIC (Operational Training Unit), Avord airfixed, 1940; This aircraft was used for training purposes by the Czechoslovak pilots during the French campaign (Light Grey undersides with Dark Blue Grey, Dark Brown and Green upper surfaces)
Decals are nicely printed and appear to be in register. Also included on the decal sheet are seat belts.
As with most aircraft models, construction starts in the cockpit. Unfortunately KP doesn't include any color/paint information on the insides so you'll need to perform some research I'm not sure, but I think the cockpit was a "green" with a black instrument panel. If anyone knows exactly what colors the cockpit was painted, please email me.
In any event, once the painting is out of the way then the cockpit is constructed of a separate floor, seat, rudder pedals, lower instrument panel and control column. Once it's all glued together - and the decal seat belts added to the seat - then it can be added to the painted starboard fuselage half. The upper instrument panel is also glued in then the fuselage halves can be assembled.
Now the instructions must be followed closely as there are separate upper noses for the D.500 and D.501. After that is glued on then the antenna is added, although this is best left off until the very end.
Glue the wing halves together then glue the wings to the fuselage. Note this is a butt-joint so you might want to add pegs for strength. The separate rudder and horizontal tail surfaces are also added, along with the stab's struts. The underside nose-radiator is allso added at this point with the parts that go in and on it.
Again, the next stage of instructions is based on which version you're building, the D.500 or D.501. Be aware the D.500 specific instructions doesn't show adding the undercarriage as this is part of the D.501 specific step. It appears the items specific to the D.501 are the underwing guns while the D.500 has nose gune. I think everything else is common to both, e.g. landing gear, spatz, wheels, etc. The D.500 uses prop part #23 and 49 while the D.501 uses prop part #24.
Now that everything is together, painting and decaling can commence.
This is an excellent release from KP and is crisply molded, unlike their Sopwith Triplane. The level of detail is really nice and the model will look great when finished.
Just be sure to study the instructions as there are parts mentioned for one version that aren't for the other. You'll have to look closely to see what parts are for the D.500 versus which are for the D.501 and then go with the rest of the construction steps. The instructions could have been a little more clear on this but it still can be figured out.
Many thanks are sent to Kovozávody Prostějov for the D.500 to review.