Nieuport 17

Eduard 1/48 Russian Nieuport 17 By Tony Adams

After all the trials and tribulations I had with hard metal finishes on Thunderjets (see last months update) my next project turned out to be another silver finished model. This was slightly different as being a WW1 fighter I wasn’t trying to replicate a metal finish but silver doped canvas – so no need to resort to foil.

This was my second Eduard WWI fighter (after an Albatross DV) and I was thoroughly looking forward to it, I really like the basic look of these early fighters. Now a little history: the Nieuport 17 was probably the best allied fighter of 1916 equipping more French and British squadrons than any other type. It was manufactured under licence in Russia where it was deployed in Poland and Austria with great success. After the Russian November revolution if fought on both sides of the resulting civil war.

The kit provides decals for pre-revolution Russian aircraft and Red Aviation machines. I chose the pre revolution type as due to the novelty of having Russian aircraft with roundels (the fact that it had a painting of a nude mermaid had nothing to do with it).

The build started with the cockpit and my first challenge in getting a good wood effect for the pilot seat and the cockpit inner walls. The walls were supposed to be mahogany this was achieved by spraying the fuselage inners with brown (Tamiya XF-9) and once dry hand paining with dark umber oil paints, before this was dry a stiff bristled brush was drawn across the surface. [1] The seat was created from photo etch being bent around the handle of my modelling knife to produce a the rounded seat back. This and the cockpit floor was sprayed a light tan (XF-55) shade before the dark umber and brushing was applied to represent a light wood effect. [2] This had to be repeated on the floor after I handled it far too soon (next day) and deposited a great big fingerprint! The rest of the sparse instruments were built up to produce a reasonable looking cockpit [3] A little Promodeller wash made it look suitably dirty. 

[1] [2]

The fuselage halves were joined and the lower wind and tail plane attached. A reasonable amount of filler was required to close a gaps forward of the wing joint. [5]. The joins were covered with Mr Surfacer 1000 and then rubbed down with successively fine sanding sticks.

[3] [4]

The Engine was painted Alcad aluminum again washed with Promodellers [6], Photo etch push rods were painted Alcad chrome and the exhausts pale burnt metal with the tops near the cylinders washed with black to represent heat staining [7].

[5] [6]

The photo etch fixing for the tailplane control wires were to be added. I tried to “surface mount them first but it was clear they would fall off with the lightest knock. So drilled a small hole in the tail surface and left a small metal tab on the photo etch that would normally be trimmed off to act as a locating pin. Once these were glued the joint was reasonably strong.

The engine cowl was cleaned up and together with the main model was given a coat of Humbrol primer straight from the can, which I had decanted it to my airbrush and sprayed it as it ended up going on really thick, this needed a lot of rubbing down before I was happy. [9]
At this point I cleaned up the propeller ready to give it the wood treatment. When I came back the next day the propeller was nowhere to be found! I looked high and low not believing that I could loose such a large piece, but the pixies have run off with it. I almost decided to call it a day on the model but when I calmed down I decided that I should be able to obtain a replacement from my spares box, fingers crossed.

[7] [8] [9]

Now for the silver doping which was achieved with a couple of coats of Alcad Aluminium [10]. The wing stringers were over sprayed with Alcad Dark Aluminium to replicate the stressing of the fabric wing covering. The whole aircraft was then given a good coat of Klear for later decaling. 

I constructed the single machine gun [11] with photetch firing handle and ammo feeds, this was pained semi gloss black and then brushed with Tamiya gunmetal and silver  power , the ammo feeds were dry brushed with gold before the whole thing was sealed with matt varnish [12].

Wood effect was created on the main wing spars and tail skid ( Tamiya XF60 light brown undercoat then brown oil paint was applied which was distressed with a course pain brush) [13]

The undercarriage was constructed and the wheels painted using the very handy supplied masks. The decals were now added as this would be difficult once the upper wing was mounted. For the first time in ages there are no dramas to report in the decaling process[14].

I started the rigging process by drilling small holes at the points the cabling passed through the fuselage and attached nylon dressmakers thread. This was pulled taught and glued to the tailplane brackets, the thread was then coloured black through running a indelible marker along it.[15]

Now it was time to mount the upper wing and do the rigging. I decided that this could be achieved by gluing the wing supports and attaching most of the rigging before attaching the upper wing [16].

However this proved to be much more difficult than I expected. When I offered up the wing I found it to be twisted in respect to the bottom wing when located on it’s supports. I attempted to glue the centre supports first and the once dry pull the outer supports into position, securing the assembly with clamps and electric bands. This looked as if it would work, until the whole thing collapsed to a barrage of rude words. I left the kit for a few days for me to calm down and then had another go, this time attaching the outer supports before the centre. This worked fine, and I was able to complete the rigging without further pain.  

The rest off the construction proceeded quickly and I was ready to perform some weathering. I decided I wanted the aircraft to look fairly dirty so I smothered the plane with promodellers dark wash. On looking at this in the morning I felt that I had over done it so I took the model to work for a second opinion from Paul and Dale. They advised that the wings certainly did look over done, so that night fully 24 hours after applying it I removed some of the wash with a damp q-tip (I love pro modellers wash). Finally happy, the model was given a coat of matt varnish to seal the wash and the MIG pigment mud I had added to the wings and under surfaces.

All in all I am very happy with the result, I now have a number of Eduard WWI subjects to build so I better work out a less stressful method of rigging. I never did find the propeller but fortunately found a close match in my spares box which was even already painted in a wood effect – bonus.

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