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SPAD 510 7eme Escadre & At War (FR0049 & FR0050) 1:72


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SPAD 510 7eme Escadre & At War (FR0049 & FR0050)

1:72 Azur Frrom




The SPAD 510 was an interwar biplane fighter that was half-way between the stringbags of old, and the modern monoplane fighters, insofar as it was primarily constructed from metal alloys, with only the wing and flying surfaces covered by fabric.  It was a development from an earlier SPAD design that was made in response to a requirement from the French Air Force in 1930, and was the only biplane offering due to the encroachment of the monoplane into fighter design.  It had an unusually long gestation for the period, entering service six years after the initial design, with many of its earlier problems resolved, and powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs V12 engine that drove a two bladed prop and propelled the fighter to a maximum speed of 230mph, which was respectable at the time, and met with Armée de l'Air requirements.  It was intended to fly with either two cannons or four machine guns, or a combination of the two, but practically only four machine guns were fitted, while the last two off the production line were equipped with a single 20mm cannon between the cylinder banks to fire in a synchronised manner through the prop.


Fewer than 70 were made, and by the time WWII was on the horizon they were already being phased out in favour of more advanced monoplanes, often the capable Morane Saulnier MS.406, although other types were used.  With a comparable performance envelope to the British Gladiator, it was clearly outclassed by the enemy Bf.109Es that it would encounter early in the war, although a skilled pilot could possibly achieve a kill despite the disparity.  Although many were withdrawn from the frontline to training units, some were initially lined up against the Axis forces as coastal defence before they were ousted and had to move to another more suitable locations.  A few were taken on charge by the Germans after the armistice, although they were of little practical use as a fighter.



The Kit

This is a brand-new tooling from Azur Frrom, with two boxings released initially, one depicting the first squadron to take the 510 on, 7éme Escadre who also provided the pilots for the Weiser Circus aerobatic team, which was named after their squadron leader.  The other boxing is an ‘At War’ issue that includes the aircraft that were charged with protecting the coastal areas at the beginning of WWII.  The kits arrive in identical-sized end-opening boxes in their usual blue theme, but with different box art on the front and the decal options on the rear.  Inside the boxes are two identical sprues of grey styrene, a small clear sprue, the same multi-purpose decal sheet, and an instruction booklet that looks very similar, but is in fact different depending on which boxing you are looking at.  This is what I sometimes refer to as “medium run”, as although it does have some aspects of a short-run kit, it is quite accomplished, but not quite up to mainstream in terms of finish to the sprues etc.  Don’t be put off one iota by that fact though, as it’s a nice kit and has some good detail moulded-in.






Construction begins identically, and doesn’t diverge until right at the end when differences in the exhausts are pointed out in a scrap diagram in the At War boxing, which the modeller would have to scratch build.  The cockpit is a flat floor with some details moulded-in, which is added to by fixing a control stick, seat, rear bulkhead, front bulkhead and the instrument panel frame with foot well added, the latter also receiving a decal to depict the instruments.  The fuselage halves are closed up around the cockpit once painting is completed, and here you will notice that the halves have engraved panel lines throughout.  The lower wings and elevators are all single parts, as is the engine cowling, which has some nice perforated grille detail moulded into it.  A scrap diagram shows that the wings and elevators are all intended to be fitted as 90° to the rudder, so get your EBMA wing jig out if you can’t trust yourself to get everything aligned correctly.  The small wrap-around windscreen and clear gunsight are added on pegs to the forward section of the cockpit, then it’s time to double the number of wings.


The interplane struts are substantial and low in number, resembling an italic capital I, with N-shaped cabane struts mounted on the top cowling in front of the cockpit.  These are best aligned with the upper wings during setting of the glue in order to avoid fit issues, and although the rigging is ignored for now, there are full rigging diagrams toward the rear of the instructions to help you make a more accurate model.  Everyone has their own technique, so we’ll leave that up to the individual and move on.  The main wheels are moulded into their spats and are fitted on long tapering struts, fixing on pegs to the underside of the fuselage, then braced by a pair of wires that attach to the lower section of the legs and a raised area of the underside.  The lower wings have blisters on the top surface that have hollows on the underside, which are filled by the gondolas that have the guns moulded into the front, the barrels of which you can drill out for a bit more realism if you wish.  At the tail is a skid, and further forward is a stirrup for the pilot’s access, a pair of shackles for stores under the centreline, with a rectangular radiator fairing just beneath the pilot’s feet.  After a page and a half of rigging diagrams, the two-bladed prop and a pair of aerial masts are the last parts to be glued in place.  As previously noted, the At War boxing has a different exhaust layout depending on which decal option you choose, so be prepared to undertake some DIY to achieve the proposed layout.




Each boxing has three decal options printed in colour at the rear of the booklet, all with the same basic scheme that has green upper surfaces with a high demarcation on the fuselage, over a silver underside.  The option with the red rudder fin will need to be painted to accept the white 1 in a circle, which is the only variation in painting that I could see.  From each box you can build one of the following:


7éme Escadre (FR0049)

  • Nr.26, Red 1, 1ére Escadrille GCI/7 (Spa 15 Bayard’s Helmet), Lt Ozanne, esc. Leader, June 1938
  • Nr.14, White 5, 3éme Escadrille GC II/7 (Spa 73 Japanese Stork), Dijon, Spring 1939
  • Nr.25, 4éme Escadrille GC II/& (Spa 78 Black Panther) Dunkirk show, 1937




At War (FR0050)

  • Nr.9, White 8, DIAP (Dépot d’Instruction de L’Aviation Polonaise), Lyon-Corbas, May 1940
  • Nr.44, White 14, 3éme Escadrille GARC II/561, Le Havre-Octeville, November 1939
  • Nr.56, Red 6, CIC Montpellier (Fighter Training Centre), June 1940






The decals are identical for the two boxings, so if you change your mind and can find the schemes, you can build any of the above options.  You’ll need two boxes if you want to build one from each boxing though.  The decals are well-printed, in good register with dense colour and sharpness, including a number of stencils and the instrument panel decal, which is printed in white and hides particularly well in the middle of the sheet.




It’s a charming little aircraft from the Blériot-Spad stable that was caught between the transition from biplane to metal monoplanes.  It’s an unusual aircraft that we don’t get to hear of often, but it is an appealing kit.


Highly recommended.


Both kits are available from Special Hobby’s webshop, and it’s Special Hobby that moulded the kits in conjunction with Azur Frrom.


7éme Escadre (FR0049)



At War (FR0050)



Review sample courtesy of


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