Building the Spad XIII

Dragon 1/48 scale

by Claudio Kalicinski © 2010 Modeler Site

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The Spad XIII is one of the most famous WW1 fighters as it was the main mount for many of France s top aces including Rene Fonck and Charles Nungesser as it was for many of the US aces including Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke.


It was a development of the obsolete Spad VII with a considerably more powerful engine which made it faster than all of its contemporaries including the Sopwith Camel, double the firepower of the VII (two machine guns instead of one) and a redesigned wing that improved maneuverability. However, it did not have the best low speed maneuvering combined with a steep glide angle and sharp stall that made landings difficult for novice pilots.


The kit is Shangai Dragon’s Spad XIII (#5902). It is a mixed media kit and consists of injected molded plastic, one fret of steel photo-etch detail parts, and a decal sheet for building a colorful Spad XIII flown by Lt. Reed Chambers as part of the US occupation forces in Germany during 1919.



I replaced the kit’s decals with the Aeromaster Spads set (48-075). I chose to represent an early Spad XIII (S1893) of the Escadrille Spa.48 flown by the Adj. Jacques Roques during April-May of 1918.


This was an almost straight out-of-the-box build of the kit since it is highly accurate and no additional parts are really necessary to produce a quality model.

The only problems is that the photo-etch material is rather difficult to work with because it is quite hard. I softened it by annealing (heat in a flame until red-hot) the parts that require bending.

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