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  1. Well here it is, the RFI thread for my Morane Saulnier Type G as flown by Captain Pjotr Nesterov of the Imperial Russian Air Service, the WIP thread of which can be found here. Before I show some pics of the finished article, I thought it might be appropriate to give a bit of background info on the man: (Image in the public domain) Pjotr Nikolayevic Nesterov was born on 27th February 1887 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, the son of Nesterov Nikolai Fedeorovich and Margaret Fiodorovona. In 1897, Nesterov entered into Nizhny Novgorod cadet military school (where his father had previously worked) to train and work as a soldier. He completed his training in 1904. Initially specialising in artillery, his first exposure to aviation came in 1909 when he was posted to a balloon observation regiment as an observer. In 1911 he built and flew his own glider, before being accepted into the St Petersburg Aviation School at Gatchina. He graduated from there in October 1912, and very soon after he passed the examination to become a military pilot. In May 1913, Nesterov was appointed commander of the XI Corps Air Squadron based at Syretzk Aerodrome near Kiev. On the evening of September 9th 1913, he set off in his 70hp Gnome Rotary-engined Nieuport IV monoplane and climbed to 1,000 metres. Shutting off the engine, he put the aircraft into a near vertical dive. At about 600 metres he pulled back as hard as he could on the control yoke, and simultaneously restarted the engine, powering the aircraft through a loop. Eventually the aircraft returned to a normal horizontal path; Nesterov had performed the first complete aerial loop in aviation history. Upon landing, he was promptly arrested, charged with "useless audacity" and "taking undue risk with a machine, the property of his government". When 12 days later, French aviator Celestin Adolphe Pegoud emulated the feat to wild acclaim in Paris, the charges against Nesterov were dropped and he was promoted to Staff Captain. A short while after, he was awarded a medal by the Central Aero Club of Russia. With the outbreak of war less than a year later, the various armed forces lost no time in making use of aircraft, albeit solely for scouting initially. Nesterov, by now flying another French design (a Morane-Saulnier Type G), was himself actively engaged in monitoring and reporting on Austrian troop movements. On the 27th August 1914, returning from a scouting mission he happened to pass over some of his own soldiers at low level. These ground troops, very few of whom had ever seen a flying machine, were unable to tell whether the aircraft above them was friend or foe; some of them panicked and opened fire. Fortunately the resulting damage to the aircraft was slight - a hole in the fuel tank - and Nesterov himself was not harmed. He was, however, rather annoyed! He landed his aircraft adjacent to the regimental HQ, and having immediately sought out the embarrassed senior officers, proceded to lecture them, using some very choice language, regarding the differences between Russian and Austrian/German aircraft markings! Having already arranged to have a serrated steel stake fitted to the tail skid of his aircraft with which to rip open enemy observation balloons, Nesterov announced his intention to bring down an enemy aircraft. He had formulated a plan to bring down his adversary by ramming it, and fatally damaging it with his undercarriage. His chance came on the 8th September when an Albatros B.II of the Austrian 11th Flieger Kompanie (piloted by Feldwebel Franz Malina, and carrying Oberleutnant Friedrich Baron von Rosenthal as the observer) was seen over the Russian lines near Żółkiew (now Zholkva, Ukraine), at too great a height to be troubled by Russian artillery. Nesterov took off and quickly climbed to meet the intruder. His colleagues on the ground witnessed the slower Austrian aircraft weaving to avoid the attentions of Nesterov in his smaller but faster mount. After several failed attempts, Nesterov finally succeeded in damaging the Austrian's upper wing, whereupon it plummeted earthwards in flames. Nesterov's aircraft, initially entangled in the Albatros' wreckage as it fell, became free at some point during the descent. However, all 3 men perished; the first casualties arising from an aircraft-to-aircraft confrontation. There is some conjecture as to the exact circumstances of Nesterov's death - some claim to have witnessed his aircraft turning upside down about 25 feet off the ground, causing him to fall from the cockpit (as was common practice at the time, he was not wearing a seat belt). Others, perhaps more fancifully, claim he managed to survive just long enough to crash-land his aircraft - minus its undercarriage - at his airfield. In any event, he died from a broken spine the following day. His body was laid to rest in a tomb in the historic cemetery of Askold, in Kiev, on the banks of the River Dnieper. It became a place of pilgrimage for fellow Russian aviators on each anniversary of his fatal encounter, even beyond the chaos of the October Revolution. His method of ramming an enemy aircraft, known as 'Taran', was never recommended as a tactic by the military hierarchy. Nevertheless, several other Russian pilots (Kozakov among them) were known to have resorted to it and survived. It was even employed during the Second World War by a number of Soviet pilots, with a modicum of success and without loss of life. Nesterov's memory lives on to this day; his name has been given to many streets of major Russian cities, several monuments, and even an asteroid. In 1962, the Central Aero Club sponsored the Nesterov Cup, to be awarded to winners of the World Aerobatic Championships, a name that the cup still retains. Here then, are some (ok, a lot!) photos of my own humble tribute to the man, a 1:72 scale model of his Morane Saulnier 'G', s/n 281: Hope you enjoy them, I had a whole lot of fun making this little kit and learning more about the life - and death - of the man who flew the real thing.
  2. Hi folks, Well, it's a matter of some embarrassment that having been a member of this great forum for nearly a year now, and I've only managed one WIP thread. Truth is, I've not actually built much during this period, mainly due to a lack of spare time! Further, even those few things I have managed to put together have been pretty ordinary by the standards being shown on here by others, so I guess you could say I've spared you! So, in thinking about what I could contribute, I've been trawling my stash looking for a not-too-complicated (for my benefit), but unusual (for yours) subject. In this particular model I believe I have something. Having made extensive use of the forum search facility, I have found no other references to this particular aircraft! Please, please, don't now tell me that there is but I missed it! OK, so the traditional opening pics, external box-art, sprueage, destructions etc. Box front: The rear of the box shows the available options for livery/insignia/markings, including 2 Russian, one Belgian, one Swiss: From a modest bit of research it transpires that one could, with appropriate third-party decals, also add French, British, Spanish and indeed German to those options. Finally, given the aircraft's civilian, pre-WW1 origins, a completely insignia-free option would be entirely feasible. For me, I am going for the option as depicted on the box front: the mount of Captain Pjotr Nesterov of the Imperial Russian Air Service. Nesterov distinguished himself, in the days before aircraft with mounted weapons, when in August 1914 he became the first airman to bring down an enemy aircraft - by ramming it. Sadly this encounter proved to be his own undoing, as he and the 2 occupants of the German aircraft he rammed, crashed to earth and died from the resulting injuries. The parts inventory is fairly compact - one sprue: As seems to be typical for AZmodel, the instructions and parts list diagram are brief! It appears, from the instructions and indeed the parts supplied, that it is possible to make a Type G or a Type H as is one's fancy. For me, it's got to be 'G'! I am hoping to add as much detail as I can to an out-of-the-box build, but it will of course be within the confines of my own limited abilities, so it's not likely to be much. So that's where I will leave it for now. Hopefully this will be of modest interest to someone in the days/weeks/months/millennia to come!
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