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

BREGUET 14.B2 OF THE 96th AERO SQUADRON, U. S. AIR SERVICE, 1918

by George Grasse

HI-TECH 1:48 SCALE PLASTIC INJECTION MOLDED KIT HT4803 OF THE BREGUET 14.B2

HI-TECH KIT RHT4803 BOX ART



 BREGUET 14 THREE-VIEW DRAWING

This 3-view drawing is credited to J. D. Carrick or F. Yeoman and appeared in Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War compiled by W. M. Lamberton and published by Harleyford Publications Limited.  This French aircraft appeared in both the reconnaissance (14.A2) and bomber (14.B2) roles.  For the longest time, France diverted all of the Breguet 14 series aircraft to their own escadrilles until 1918 when small lots were released for use by the U. S. Air Service.

The intended bombing aircraft of the USAS was to be the de Havilland DH.4 but the Breguet 14.B2 was superior in all respects and was sought as the preferred bombing type.  In the end, just enough Breguet 14s were acquired to equip just two USAS squadrons: the 96th Aero Squadron for day bombardment and the 11th Aero Squadron for night bombardment.  Consult American Military Aircraft 1908-1919 by Robert B. Casari for additional details (see bibliography below).




THE MODEL TO BE BUILT
The model to be built is Breguet 14.B2 4018 side number red '18' of the 96th Aero Squadron flown by, among others,  1/Lt A. H. Alexander (P) and 2/Lt J. C. E. McLennan (O).  Credit for this color image is Alan E. Durkota from French Aircraft of the First World War by Dr. James J. Davilla and Arthur M. Soltan, page 603.  For the accompanying text for this image and additional information,

CLICK HERE
 


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 1
    
FUSELAGE BEGINNINGS: This photo shows the first somewhat timid step in building this kit.  The injection molding is good but a bit bulky.  The cockpit "cage" shown above is, so far just three kit components with a thin .005 plastic "floorboard" added for strength. 


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 2
    
FUSELAGE COCKPIT DETAILING:  The kit comes with a PE sheet some of which applies to the cockpit interior.  The resin pilot's seat was replaced with an Eduard PE seat and Eduard seat belts.  The gunner/bombardier's seat was from the kit and was built up to its proper height using scrap plastic.  The object to the left front of the seat is the bomb aiming device which is purely fictional on my part.  Ammunition drums for the Lewis guns came from Roden's DH.4 kit. 


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 3a
    
          FUSELAGE COCKPIT PAINTING: The colors used to paint the cockpit are:

                     1) fabric - Vallejo VC0847 Dark Sand
                     2) wood - Vallejo VC0981 Orange Brown
                     3) metal - Andrea ANAC24 Union Blue
                     4) seatbelts - Vallejo VC0987 Medium Gray
                     5) ammunition drums - Vallejo VC999 Metallic Gray mixed with semi-gloss black
                     6) miscellaneous parts - semi-gloss black
                     7) seat cushions - Vallejo VC0818 Red Leather (with darker wash)


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 3b
    
COCKPIT ALTERNATE VIEW No. 1: Note the instrument panel.  The kit provided a PE panel.  On a separate plastic card, I outlined the panel and marked the openings.  For each opening I found an appropriate instrument from my stash and glued them in place.  When all instruments were in place, I glued the plastic to the PE panel.  Bevels were added and the panel was carefully painted in the wood color.  Each bevel was painted in Vallejo VC0864Natural Steel.  The center piece on the panel is the scrolling navigation map cut out from the decal sheet. 

Note also the panel in front of the gunner/bombardier's seat.  This as entirely fictitious.  It represents a bomb release panel for individual clusters of bombs.  I have no idea how they were actually released.


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 3c
    
COCKPIT ALTERNATE VIEW No. 2:  The compass is a raised post made from round plastic rod with an Eduard PE compass glued to the top. 


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 4
    
MAIN LANDING GEAR:  Rather than using the plastic landing gear from the kit, I decided (as I almost always do) to make my own landing gear struts to support the model.  It took a while to figure out how best to do this and I came up with the "U" shaped landing gear sub-assembly shown.  A single brass rod is bent to the configuration shown in Windsock's Breguet 14 reference.  Then, I cut brass tubing from Albion Alloys Ltd 1.4mm diameter stock, making one piece for each part of the "U" strut (three pieces for each).  The brass rod was "unbent" and the tubing was placed into position after which the brass rod was bent back into position.  Each landing gear was then "pounded" gently to form an aerodynamic strut.   There is enough brass rod overage to serve as the "pins" that will fit into holes drilled on the underside of the fuselage to anchor the landing gear.  The tail assembly is discussed in the next panel
 

CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 5
    
TAIL UNIT:  The main parts were glued to the fuselage starting with the horizontal stabilizer/elevator.  I let this dry overnight.  The vertical stabilizer/rudder was then glued and it too dried overnight.  Piano wire was used to fabricate the tail unit braces.  The tailskid was modified by having its frail support rod removed and replaced with a brass rod.


PAINTING TABLE FOR THE FIVE-COLOR FRENCH CAMOUFLAGE SCHEME OF 1917-1918

COLOR NAME  NUMBER AND NAME
Chestnut Brown Misterkit MKFR05 Chestnut Brown
Beige Misterkit MKFR10 Beige
Dark Green Misterkit MKFR11 Dark Green
Light Green Misterkit MKFR12 Light Green
Black Vallejo VC0950 Flat Black
Ecru Misterkit MKFR03 Light Yellow (undersides)


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 6a
 
FIRST PAINTING - FUSELAGE LEFT SIDE:  The colors are (front to back): Chestnut Brown, Light Green, Beige, Light Green, Dark Green, Chestnut Brown, Beige.
 

CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 6b
 
FIRST PAINTING - FUSELAGE RIGHT SIDE:  The colors are (front to back): Chestnut Brown, Light Green, Beige, Light Green, Dark Green, Chestnut Brown, Beige.

CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 7a
    
FIRST PAINTING - LOWER WING UPPER SURFACE:  The upper surface of the bottom wing colors are (left to right) Light Green, Black, Chestnut Brown, (fuselage) Dark Green, Beige, Medium Green .


CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 7b
    

FIRST PAINTING - UPPER WING UPPER SURFACE:  The top photo shows the scheme with one coat of each of the five main colors (left to right) Dark Green, Beige, and Light Green.  The black "footprint" will be applied after final coats of paint and application of insignia.

 
 
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 8
FINAL CAMOUFLAGE PAINT:   This photo shows the second or final coat of Misterkit French 5-color camouflage paints.  Also shown are the hand-painted rudder stripes: overall Vallejo VC0951 Flat White first, then Misterkit MKFC02 French Roundel Blue followed by Vallejo VC0909 Vermillion.  Later, not being satisfied with such a 'light' blue, I added a drop or two to my palette mix to darken the shade which you will see in subsequent photos.  The darker shade closely resembles the French national insignia decal roundels.  Of course, as additional components and rigging are added, a bit of touch-up paint will occur but the major painting is now completed (top wing done but not shown).
 
  
 
CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS No. 9a and 9b
DECALS APPLIED IN TWO VIEWS The kit's decals supplied the French roundels and the only useful ones were the 'Lever Ici' (lift here) markings.  The squadron insignia of the red devil holding a bomb was copied from the Monogram book on the US Air Service and US Army Air Corps,  page 190 (see Bibliography below).  It was enhanced as best I could, sized, and printed on clear decal paper.  The white color was painted over with acrylic white.

All of the other decals were painstakingly made and printed on clear decal paper.  The rudder markings were based on drawings in Alan Toelle's Windsock Special "Breguet 14".  I typed the letters and numbers in WORD.  Then I sized them, i.e., large capital "B", small lower case "r".  I moved the cursor over the letters and ran down the drop-down list in WORD for the different fonts until one or two struck me as being close enough.  The second serial number line was done in the same way.  The weights table was copied directly from "Breguet 14", page 79 using the Michelin format.

The number red "18" was printed in two sizes, two for the fuselage and a smaller pair for the wings (to be described in a future panel).  When all of the decals were applied, I oversprayed the entire model including the wings with satin polyurethane. 
 
   
 
CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS No. 10a and 10b

TOP WING INSTALLED IN TWO VIEWS The process of installing the top wing was much more difficult than first planned.  I decided early on that the cabane and wing struts would be brass tubing with brass rod insert lightly pounded to an aerodynamic shape.  The top wing was prepped by 1) painting the underside in the French yellowish CDL using Misterkit MKFC03 Light Yellow which took two coats; 2) all of the rigging holes were drilled out using a hand twist drill and #74 twist drill; 3) small eyelets from Eduard's PE sheet glued in the rigging holes; 4) Each .005 monofilament thread was secured to each eyelet; 5) the upper side of the top wing was painted in two coats of Misterkit French colors; 6) decals were applied.

Installation nearly always begins with the cabane struts.   Each brass rod was pre-fitted and a dry run with the top wing in place had to prove that it fit without distorting the angle and inclination of top wing to the bottom wing.  This took several tries and adjustments to the cabane struts.  Then, the outer aerodynamic brass tubes were fitted and the whole was glued in place.  It turned out to be a rather strong structure.

The last step was to pre-cut all of the brass rods and brass tube struts.  The inner wing struts were glued,  first one side and then the other, checking alignment.  There were allowed to dry for some time to be sure that the super glue was completely set.  The outer struts were glued in place.   Note that the cabane struts are not yet painted in French Beige.

 
 
 
CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS No. 11a and 11b

RIGGING COMPLETED:  These two views show the completed rigging system using .005 monofilament charcoal thread which was painted with Andrea's Union Blue.  The top view shows the completed propeller.  I'm still working on a dual Lewis gun arrangement for the observer/bombardier.   

 
 
 
FINISHED PHOTO No. 12a
 
  
 
FINISHED PHOTO No. 12b
 
 
FINISHED PHOTO No. 12c
 
 
FINISHED PHOTO No. 12d
 
FINISHED PHOTO No. 12e
 
 
 
FINISHED PHOTO No. 12f
 
 

-------------------------------  FINIS -----------------------------
  

Bibliography:

Archer, Robert D.  The Official Monogram US Army Air Service & Air Corps Aircraft Color Guide, Volume 1, 1908-1941.  Sturbridge, Massachusetts:  Monogram Aviation Publications, 1995.

Casari, Robert B.  American Military Aircraft 1908-1919.  Aeronaut Books, 2014.

Leiser, Edward L.  Red Devil in a Breguet (David A. Young, 96th Aero Squadron).  Cross and Cockade US, Volume 12, Number 2, Summer 1971.

Maurer, Maurer, editor. The U.S. Air Service in World War I, four volumes.  U. S. Government Printing Office, 1979.

Lamberton, W. M., Compiler, and E. F. Cheesman, Editor.  Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War.   Los Angeles, CA: Aero Publishers, 1962.

Ruffin, Steven A. Major Harry Brown and His "Lost Flight" of the 96th Aero Squadron.  Over the Front, Volume 19, Number 3, Fall 2004, pages 196 - 221.

Toelle, Alan D.  Breguet 14, Windsock Datafile Special.  Berkhamsted, UK, Albatros Productions, 2003

 

GO TO?

BACK TO US WW1 AIRCRAFT INDEX

BACK TO WW1 AIRCRAFT INDEX

HM JOURNAL INDEX HISTORICAL MINIATURES HOME
NAVIGATE TO OTHER PAGES TOP OF PAGE

� Copyright by George Grasse