HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
WORLD WAR 1 AIRCRAFT IN 1:48 SCALE

Early insignia to February 1917

NIEUPORT 17 Escadrille N.124 by George Grasse

EDUARD 1/48th SCALE PLASTIC KIT #8431 WEEKEND EDITION

EDUARD BOX ART

 

THE MODEL TO BE BUILT

The model to be built is Nieuport 17 N.1950, flown by Corporal Edmund Genet, Escadrille N.124 "Lafayette, late 1916, early 1917.  The artwork shown above is credited to Bob Parson and Albatros Productions, Ltd.  It is taken from The Windsock Specials Series, "Nieuport Flyers of the Lafayette" by Jon Guttman, Albatros Productions, 2006.

THE PILOT

Nieuport 17 N.1950 was flown by Corporal Edmund Genet seen in the photo above second from the left.  Also shown are (left to right) Adjutant Walter Lovell, Genet, Lt. Raoul Lufbery (with medals), and Sergent James McConnell.  (photo credit Greg Photo Gregory VanWyngarden via the French escadrille site Albindenis.free at  http://albindenis.free.fr/Site_escadrille/escadrille124Lafayette.htm.


PHOTO No. 1
BASIC BEGINNINGS: The kit has few parts as did the little Nieuport 11 "Bebe" and Nieuport 16.  There were no cockpit details in the kit other than throttle, seat, control stick, floorboard, and rudder pedals.  I added a rudimentary instrument panel, compass, seat belts, and a metal box.  I cut open the two horizontal stabilizer slots through which the upper elevator wires pass.

PHOTO No. 2
TAIL WORK:  I cut open the two horizontal stabilizer slots through which the upper elevator wires will pass.  I replaced the kit's stabilizer struts with brass rod.  The right elevator "horn" is the experimental use of heavy PE turnbuckles bent to resemble a moving surface horn.  The PE horn is thicker than Eduard horns and could be bent into the correct position and allowing for the attachment of monofilament thread for the control wires.

 PHOTO No. 3
LANDING GEAR: The kit's plastic landing gear struts and spreader bar are too flimsy for me.  I used brass tube bent to the correct angle and length based on one of the kit's  struts used as a template.  A brass rod was inserted into each half and the tube was gently hammered to an aerofoil shape.  The spreader bar is a thicker length of brass rod covered with lead foil. 


PHOTO No. 4
PROGRESS TO DATE PHOTO: This aerial shot shows all of the work completed to this stage.  Now, the model will be oversprayed with "aluminum" dope as by this time in late 1916 the French developed their new  overall doping technique "enduit metallise" in which aluminum powder was added to the pigment base at the rate of 40% of the pigment volume.

 
PHOTO No. 5a
OVERALL ALUMINUM FINISH: I sprayed the model with two coats of Tamiya 86512 Bare Metal Silver to represent the French 'enduit metallise' aluminum powered dope that came into widespread use in 1916.   The decals were made by me and will be discussed in the next panel.  However, I decided to create a small decal for the pilot just visible on the left side under the cockpit, 'Cpl Edmund Genet'.  It's probably not accurate but I like the personal touch.

The rudder stripes were hand-painted.  The whole rudder was painted with two coats of Vallejo VC0951 Flat White.  The blue is Misterkit MKFC02 French Roundel Blue.  The red is Vallejo VC0909 Vermillion.

 
PHOTO No. 5b
HOMEMADE DECALS: This Eduard 'Weekend' kit has limited decals for one aircraft - not the one I want to build.  Using the color profile shown above at the beginning of this article, I had to duplicate the French style of rudder markings and the early 'Lafayette' Indian-head insignia.  I found the style of the rudder markings in Nieuport Fighters, Volume 1 (see bibliography).  I found the Indian-head insignia on the French website cited in the photo above repeated here: http://albindenis.free.fr/Site_escadrille/escadrille124Lafayette.htm.

For the Indian-head image from that website I placed it in Microsoft Paint, increased the zoom, and removed the olive background color.  Next, I sized the image down.  This took several trial-and-error printings.  When the correct size for 1:48 scale was reached, I made a reverse image on my ACDSee software and printed them on Micro-Mark blue/clear decal paper.  It's hard to tell but note that the 'white' portions of the decal are actually clear and I will have to brush in with white acrylic paint.

For the rudder markings, the first step was to copy the image from 'Nieuport Fighters, Volume 1, Windsock Datafile Special, Albatros Productions, page 45.  Knowing I would have to insert the model's serial '1950', I separated the 'N' and the weights portion creating two separate decals.  I found that Century Schoolhouse font 7.5 worked for the '1950'.  These had to go through the trial-and-error sizing process.  When completed, I printed three of each of the rudder marking images. 
 

PHOTO No. 6
CLOSE UP: Much work has been accomplished in this photo.   The underside of the top wing was glued in place with its dangling rigging wires to be connected when the glue sets up.  The two forward center wing struts are of brass tube and rod construction but all of the other struts are right out of the kit.  Note the Eduard front post sight (barely visible) and the rear ring sight.  I made a simple "gas cap" just a bit off center near the front gun sight post.  The rigging wires for the landing gear are in place.  I made two brass rod replacements for the aileron connectors and these were in their fuselage holes but not glued.  When the wing's gluing set up, I used tweezers to manipulate them into pre-drilled holes in the top wing.  Note the decal '1950' near the lower lip of the cowling.  I wrapped a few loops of small diameter solder wire around the axle to represent the bungee cord suspension system. 
 

PHOTO No. 7
FINISHING THE TAIL UNIT: To review, the stabilizer struts are brass rod for strength.  I made all of the decals show in this view.  I described the rudder markings in panel 5b, above.  The underside markings were simple to do.  I used Century Schoolbook font because it closely resembles the French font style.  The '1950' and the 'Type 17' are separate decals printed each in its own row on Micro-Mark blue/clear decal paper.  I must have printed about 20 of each because the markings appear on the underside of both wings.  The purpose was to re-unite the flying surfaces to the correct airframe.  Note also that the rigging is completed.  By the way, I always 'sign' my work and you should too.
 

PHOTO No. 8
PROGRESS TO DATE OVERVIEW HOTO: This overhead 'ground' view summarizes the work to date.  The tires were painted with a mix of Vallejo VC0944 Old Rose and VC0992 Neutral Gray with a dash of VC0875 Beige Brown.  For a darker shade, use VC862 Black Gray instead of Neutral Gray.  Add more or less of these colors to get the shade to your liking. 

On the early Nieuport 11s and 16s, the fuselage side and top wing usually bore the initial of the pilot's last name.  The side marking on the 17s is the famous Indian-head insignia and I chose to apply the first version which had more brown in it.  This version lasted until about February 1917 when the second version appeared with substantially more blue in it.  The top wing may or may not have continued the practice of the pilot's initial.  I didn't make one for Caporal Edmund Genet because I haven't seen any initials on any N.124 'Lafayette' Nieuport 17 aircraft.

 
PHOTO No. 9
LEFT FRONT VIEW:  This view shows the following details finished in the last stage.  The Lewis machine gun was replaced from another in the stash.  The front barrel rest was fashioned from thin but sturdy wire.  All of the rigging was attached and the were painted in 'horizon blue' as were all metal parts on French aircraft.  The kit's wing struts were used as is.  The propeller has a hand-painted emblem representing an unknown French propeller maker but is one I have seen on several Nieuport 17 aircraft. 


PHOTO No. 10
RIGHT FRONT VIEW

 
PHOTO No. 11
RIGHT REAR VIEW
 

PHOTO No. 12
LEFT FRONT VIEW

 
PHOTO No. 13
LEFT SIDE VIEW

 
PHOTO No. 14
RIGHT SIDE VIEW

 
PHOTO No. 15
AERIAL VIEW

 
PHOTO No. 16
GROUND VIEW


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References:

Bruce, J. M.  Nieuport Fighters Volume 1, Windsock Datafile Special.  Color profiles and "Colours and Markings" section by Ray Rimmel, scale drawings by Ian Stair.  Berkhamsted, UK: Albatros Productions Ltd, 1993.

Cooksley, Peter.  Nieuport Fighters in Action, color by Don Greer, illustrated by Ernesto Cumpain:  Carrollton, Texas:  Squadron/Signal Publications, 1997.

Davilla, James J. Dr. and Arthur M. Soltan.  French Aircraft of the First World War,  illustrated by Carl Ahremark, Martin Digmayer, Colin Owens, Dennis Punnett, and Ian Stair:  Boulder, Colorado: Flying Machines Press, 2002.

Franks, Norman.  Nieuport Aces of World War 1, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 33, aircraft profiles by Harry Dempsey, line artwork by Mark Styling.  Oxford, UK; Osprey Publications, 2000.

 

 

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Copyright by George Grasse