Improving the Eduard Nieuport Ni-17 (RFC) - 1/48 scale

by Claudio F. Kalicinski  © Modeler Site

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The Nieuport 17 was a French biplane fighter aircraft of World War I, manufactured by the Nieuport company. It was a slightly larger development of the earlier Nieuport 11, and had a more powerful engine, larger wings, and a more refined structure in general. At first, it was equipped with a 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône 9J engine, though later versions were upgraded to a 130 hp (97 kW) engine. It had outstanding manoeuvrability, and an excellent rate of climb. Unfortunately, the narrow lower wing was weak and had a disconcerting tendency to disintegrate in flight.

Initially the Nieuport 17 retained the above wing mounted Lewis gun of the "11", but, at least in French service, this was generally replaced by a synchronised Vickers gun. In the Royal Flying Corps, the wing mounted Lewis, by now on the improved Foster mounting, was usually retained.

The type reached the French front in March 1916, and quickly began to replace the Nieuport 11 in French service. It was also ordered by the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service, as it was superior to any British plane at that time. Worthy of note is the fact that during part of 1916 the Nieuport 17 equipped every fighter squadron of the Aviation Militaire. The Germans supplied captured examples to several of their aircraft manufacturers for them to copy - the Siemens-Schukert D.I - a Nieuport copy, actually went into production, although the improved German fighters of late 1916 soon surpassed it.

Many Allied air aces flew Nieuport fighters, including Canadian ace W.A. Bishop, and Albert Ball. 28 out of 72 kills were earned by Captain William Avery Bishop of 60th Squadron RFC, in the cockpit of Niuport 17, B1566 from the 20th of April to the 20th of July 1917. With this aircraft he also made an air-raid on a German airport on the 2nd of June, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The markings of this aircraft changed during its service.

The kit

This kit is a release from Eduard company (kit 8024) and represents the version used by the Royal flying Corps. The box supplies decals for two versions but I chose the one flown by Captain William Avery Bishop


This is a high quality kit which can be improved even more, a good help for this was the PE set from Eduard (48249). However, and due to the fact that Eduard used only one mold to release several versions of Niuport 17, some details typical of each version were omitted since each company equipped their aircraft in a different way, this is why the kit needed some changes, modifications and improvements. The first was to replace the Lewis gun since the kit provides a “French “ Lewis.

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