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The Sentinel of Verdun


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I had in mind a scratch build but with several GBs colliding I settled for something simpler. 


This will be my starting point:





I bought it as it contained, as far as I could tell, the only Nieuport RFC markings readily available. I was mildly disappointed finding this inside today:





No trace of Albert Ball. They must’ve put the wrong sheet in the box.


No matter, it makes it fit this GB even better. The sheet has French cockades and enough serial numbers to allow puzzling together the serials of the Nieuports of the first official French ace, Jean Navarre, la sentinelle de Verdun.


Navarre’s story has been told elsewhere - let’s just say it is the opposite of boring. He was young, aggressive, daring, even reckless, and made an impression on the air service and army and society at large - and on the Germans. When he didn’t get in trouble with the gendarmerie or borrow a plane to impress the ladies, he made his mark over the skies over Verdun. Donning ladies’ nylon undergarments instead of a flier’s cap, he painted his Nieuports in stark colours and performed aerobatics over the trenches. He figured, that he could at least cheer up the men below even of there were no foes to intimidate.


Navarre flew several flashy Nieuport 11 and 16. I haven’t decided yet, but right now the plan is to built Navarre’s last Nieuport 16, N1130, in which he crashed and effectively ended his career as a fighter pilot. This plane was stark red, with a linen upper wing and camoflagued lower wing. 


Kit contents:




In summary, the wings and fuselage  are very nicely detailed, and the Prieur rockets are considerably better than Airfix’s take. Other parts are less refined, especially the crude landing gear which looks like 1960s Airfix. The cockpit is rudimentary - a seat and pedals, not even a stick. The Rhone 9J (9C for a Nieuport 12 - from a modelling perspective the only difference between the types is the engine and cowling) engine I will replace with a Roden spare.



The Nieuport 11/16 is *small*, as illustrated with this wing comparison with an Eduard Nieuport 17/21. The 17 is not big to start with:





The fuselage contains some details I’ll get rid off, especially the wind screen which I shall replace:




Edited by Torbjorn
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I have the same decs in my Nieuport 11 boxing so as you say perhaps they have mixed them up. Yes, the moulded "windscreen" is a really silly idea that Toko had and I will be replacing mine as well.



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On 7/22/2021 at 2:48 PM, PeterB said:

I have the same decs in my Nieuport 11 boxing so as you say perhaps they have mixed them up. Yes, the moulded "windscreen" is a really silly idea that Toko had and I will be replacing mine as well.



It’s the same plastic I suppose, so not a terrible mixup.

There is quite a wide spread in quality between the different pieces: the rudder for example is thin and delicate while the V-struts are thick and clumsy. The engine I shall replace with one of their later attempts under the Roden guise:





Quite an improvement I would say.


I’ve put the fuselage together with wings and tailplane. The characteristic control wire slots in the tailplane were opened and the elevators positioned downwards as seen in many photos of parked machines.

 The lower wing dihedral was asymmetric, but a bath in hot water and some bending sorted that. I also altered the undercarriage quite a bit, to look a bit more like the real thing







One more update. Attached engine and cowl and found some brass enhancements: PE windscreen and gun mount from an Nieuport 17 or 21, brass rod for tailplane braces, and control horns cut from a PE sheet. Ready for paint.


Edited by Torbjorn
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With 7-8 different colours - plus the engine - there’s a lot of masking. Finished the linen undersides and the upperwing green-brown-dark green camo, and put a first layer of red. The second later will gave a tad more blue in it, to appear more like all images I’ve seen.


Now I have to find the rudder, which I misplaced. 


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  • 4 weeks later...

Added the upper wing. The strut bands are modelled as too wide and protruding: they should be flush. I carved those away and represented them with blue decal strip. The front cabane struts do not fit that well: the hole are spaced too wide (or was it too narrow? I forget) so I filled them and redrilled.


Rigging is in place. The gun mount is a left-over PE piece from an Eduard kit.



I now have to figure out what to do with the markings on the rudder: it was after all not possible to piece then together from the kit sheet.




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