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1:32 Morane-Saulnier Type N "RFC Service"


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1:32 Morane-Saulnier Type N "RFC Service"

Special Hobby
Catalogue # SH32017
Available from MPM for 34.43 €





Much of the history of Morane-Saulnier's Type N has been recently documented by James H in his review of Special Hobby's 1:32nd Scale version of the French Aéronautique Militaire Type N, and thus I intend commenting on the Type N's appearance for the Royal Flying Corps and the corresponding highlights of the model by Special Hobby (No: SH32017).




Nicknamed "The Bullet" the Morane-Saulnier was originally designed as a race plane but when hostilities broke out it was quickly rushed into service with the French Aéronautique Militaire, the 19th Squadron of the Imperial Russian Air Force and 1st, 3rd and 60th Squadrons of the Royal Flying Corp. Here they were equipped with an unsynchronised Lewis gun which was fired through the propeller arc; the propeller itself was protected from damage by way of "deflector wedges"



Type N thought to be of 60th Squadron


An RFC Type N Equipped with it's Lewis Gun


Sadly, this graceful and elegant aircraft was not easy to fly (belying its true racing heritage where instability equates to speed and agility) due to its (a) stiff controls because its wing warping technology and (B) it's propensity to nose over on landing due to the high landing speed required. The engine was also prone to overheating caused, in the main, by the attractive "wok" like spinner which give the aircraft much of it's elegance.


Although difficult to fly and, therefore unpopular with it's understandably reticent pilots, the N Type compared favourably against the Fokker E.III in almost all respect which lead to the myth of invincibility which surrounded the Fokkers to break down.

The Type N's of the RFC saw action over Cambrai and the Somme where No 60 Squadron (having been shipped out to France with the war barely a month old) were badly mauled in the skies above the Battle of the Somme; they were reequipped with more advanced aircraft from there on. Those that survived the early stages of the war with the other two Squadrons were replaced or put out of service due to the shortage of spare parts


The Kit



I have to say that I immediately fell in love with this little kit the moment I saw it – that is, what there is of it, for it really was a small, uncomplicated aircraft in real life and so it is with the kit.




That being said, this short run, low-pressure moulded kit is no push over. It comes in three different media: plastic, resin and photo-etch and will certainly keep the average modeller amused for some while. Definitely not flush with youth this model carries its age very well indeed. We know there will be some flash associated with low-pressure moulding but despite that, and its age, there's not much evidence of anything other then the usual here. The moulding is crisp, the panel lines ahead of the cockpit and around the engine area are sharp and the attempt to replicate fabric strips over the wing ribs is very good indeed. Likewise, the wheel covers are nice and subtle as is the buttoned leather seat cushion. I expect (and I will duly find out) that all these will take paint very well.


The plastic components are arranged on three plain grey sprues; the first holding the fuselage halves, the main wing section, seat, "Wok" spinner, cowling and wheels whereas the second sprue houses the inner workings of the aircraft; i.e. the cockpit framework, headrest, wire braces plus rudder and tail surfaces; and the third sprue contains the Lewis Gun (which, in effect differentiates the RFC Type N from it's French counterpart).






The Resin parts, cast in a yellowish polyurethane, comprised of the Le Rhone 9C rotary engine, propeller and sundry mounting blocks come packed in a small re-sealable bag and are very nicely cast indeed. There's a little flash to be cleaned away but nothing to write home about.






Finally, the Photo Etch fret contains the engine's ignition wiring loom, pedal straps, ammunition belts and feeds, cockpit sides fairings and rigging turnbuckles etc. All are excellently crisp and sharp as by now we would come to expect from this kit.


The single sheet of Decals printed by Czech company Aviprint are extremely nice and totally in register, the brightness of the roundels are such that when toned down by the inevitable wash, should show through sufficiently but not gaudily as do some I've seen.






This leads us on to the 9 page Instruction Booklet which are printed in black and white. Neat and concise, they lead you logically through all aspects of the build along with a full rigging guide – no complaints there – and include colour callouts from the Gunze paint range plus schemes for 3 different machines; 2 from No 60 Squadron and 1 from No 1 Squadron. Full colour guides are downloadable from www.cmkkits.com








I said at the very beginning of this review that I fell in love with this kit the moment I laid eyes on it and nothing to date, or anything in this analytical exercise has changed my mind. For its age (consider that it came before the glories of Wingnut Wings) it is an extremely well engineered, cast and moulded scale model of a very attractive war machine that was never intended as such. The aptly named "Bullet" may not have the laurels of a Fokker but in its short service life, it gave them a run for their money and this certainly won't put me off building it for the current Large Scale Modeller Great War Group Build.


Recommended, but not for the complete novice.


Grant L.

Our special thanks go to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample used here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.



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