Author Topic: Roden 1/32 scale Spad XIII Early  (Read 165 times)

Offline Dave W

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Roden 1/32 scale Spad XIII Early
« on: July 16, 2021, 05:14:39 PM »
Roden 1/32nd scale SPAD XIII (Early)

Reviewed By: Rick Geisler

Roden SPAD XIII 1/32nd scale. Kit No. 634
Review sample provided by Roden
Price: 56.69 UK ( 47.24 export price) $43 to $54 via Ebay sources.

The SPAD XIII was a development of the highly successful SPAD VII fighter of 1916. As the SPAD VII began to be outclassed by the newer German fighters in speed, armament, and maneuverability an improvement was sought utilizing the Hispano Suiza 8Ba engine and arming the fighter with twin synchronized Vickers Machine Guns. The engine suffered from teething problems but the aircraft eventually saw wide spread use and the engine issues were mostly solved. The early model that this kit represents had rounded wing tips which were eventually replaced with a slightly shorter span squared off wing tip variant.

The kit contains 8 Frames molded in grey styrene plus one frame of clear parts Decals and color plates are provided for 4 aircraft. Parts are virtually flash free. The instruction booklet is 8 pages in the usual black and white expanded view form. All are loosely packed in a plastic bag container, and packaged in a top opening box.

The molding on the kit seems to this reviewer to be more crisp than previous efforts by Roden. The SPAD VII and Albatros come to mind. Roden has included an engine, although the cylinder banks, cam covers, and piping are from the SPAD VII kit.  The rounded wing tips are separate parts which is more or less what I expected in order to facilitate the late model XIII to come. All of the major components match the Data File  1/48th drawings enlarged to 1/32nd scale nearly perfectly.

The Good:
This being the first 1/32nd scale WW1 aircraft model that Roden has produced in about 11 years I think we all had our own expectations. Here is what I think Roden has done well.
The panels and louvers are fairly well done and are molded close to scale. The seat is very accurate and represents the shape, especially for a Bleriot built machine, very well. The wings are commendably thin and represent the ribs and surface detail in a scale manner. The interior is comprehensive and includes a relatively accurate array of instruments ( Most will want to replace the molded on dials), Ammo Boxes, all of the engine support framework, seat supports, and good interior frame representation. Another nice detail is the fuel lines located inside the cockpit which are included and accurately located. Exterior fuselage detail is also well done, as are the tail surfaces. One surprising detail, or lack thereof, is the ejection chutes on both sides of the fuselage near the wing roots. I was ready to complain about their absence but upon further research realized I could find no photos of an Early SPAD XIII that had them present!

In Need of Improvement:
First and foremost there is a slight mold misalignment that creates a very small edge on most parts, the rudder and tail surfaces being the most obvious. Strut location could still be an issue. As for mistakes in accuracy the left fuselage stands out. The kit contains the "Photo" panel on the left fuselage half. The early variant did not have this feature so to be accurate this must be handed off to match the fabric on the rest of the fuselage. The spreader bar is a very well done version of one entirely stripped of fabric covering. I think Roden followed the drawing in the Data File a bit too accurately. Covering this will be necessary for an accurate model. Finally, the fin and rudder are too thick and most may want to sand them down losing the nicely done detail in the process. Some sink marks where the interior framework is located will need to be filled and sanded.

Not so Good:
The decals are the real weak point in the kit. In my kit there were strips of bluish ink running through the roundels, some bleeding on the British serial numbers, and a dark ring around the outer surfaces of the French/ Italian roundels. Also, Roden did not include the white outline for the Baracca Personal Horse marking. If one looks at the sheet in good lighting the outline of what should be white is visible. The backing appears to be thick on all of the serials and smaller decals.
There is some good news here. I did a quick test of a marking I would not use. The decal came off of the backing with no issue, was flexible, and was not fragile. No tearing or cracks appeared even when I handled them roughly. They conformed well to the surface details also and were not as thick as I feared.
So although one would certainly have to replace the roundels the Unit and personal insignia should work well.

The Burning Question:
Many modelers have asked if this kit is "better" than the older Hobby Craft kit. In my opinion the answer is yes. The extra details in the cockpit and of course the engine will give the modeler more leeway for super detailing. Just a few specifics that are better would be the wings, finer panel detail for the louvers, wings and rib representation . Also the H strut is more accurately shaped and far sturdier than the Hobby Craft item. Will it be a more complex build, yes. I can make no comment at this time reference fit of this kit.   Having built 3 of the Hobby Craft SPAD XIIIs' last year I can attest that they had some fit issues, in particular lower wing/fuselage center section,and upper cowl cockpit coaming fit involved in the build.

In My opinion Roden has taken a Small step forward. It is not quite what many hoped but overall, it looks to be an excellent kit. I haven't seen it at a stockist yet but the E Bay prices from the Ukraine are very reasonable at $45.00 US plus shipping.

I recommend this kit for any WW1 enthusiast with a bit of experience. To me well worth the price.

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« Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 10:04:50 PM by Dave W »
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