Author Topic: Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 scale Nieuport Triplane  (Read 1607 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 scale Nieuport Triplane
« on: October 30, 2021, 05:46:17 PM »
Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) 1/72 Nieuport Triplane “France”
Reviewed by Brad Cancian



Item: KPM0256
scale: 1/72
Price: 10.70 Euros direct from Kovozávody Prostějov

Review kit kindly provided by KP Models at https://www.kovozavody.cz/

The Nieuport Triplane

Most folks are very famililary with the Nieuport series of fighters, made most famous by the Nieupor 11, 17, 21, 23, 24 and 28 models. Less well known are the series of experimental triplanes produced by the firm. Early in the war, triplanes were considered by many designers, with the theory being that a greater number of narrow wings would increase the pilot’s view whilst retaining the same wing area and thus lift. Aeronautics was still in its infancy, and many were still to learn the lessons of flow interactions between closely spaced wings. As a result, many designs were not successful. Starting in late 1915, and patented in early 1916, the Nieuport firm modified a Nieuport 10 into a triplane configuration, with the middle wing positioned well aft of the upper and lower wings, on the top fuselage longeron. The design showed sufficient promise to progress in 1916 to a design which utilised a Nieuport 17 fuselage. In this instance, it was the upper wing which was most rearward, with the middle wing well forward on the fuselage, in an attempt to further improve pilot view. This machine was powered by a 110hp Le Rhone, was armed with a synchronised Lewis machine gun, and sported a conical spinner was added to the front of the propeller.





The flying characteristics of the machine were not particularly spectacular. Though roughly on par performance wise with the Nieuport 17, it suffered from lateral stability problems, bought on in part by the airflow interactions between each of the wings. Even so, an aircraft (serialed A6686, possibly re-serialed from a French aircraft serialed N1388) was presented to the RFC for evaluation. This version mounted a 130hp Clerget engine, and carried a synchronised Vickers machine gun. The aircraft was allotted to 11SQN in March 1917, but again found unsuitable for combat flying. It was no longer on strength by the end of June. At least two French prototypes existed (one camouflaged, and one in silver dope, serialed N1388 and sporting a Vickers gun), and at least two for the British (the aforementioned A6686, and another, N1946, which utilised a Nieuport 17bis fuselage). Due to the troublesome handling characteristics (and possibly the ungainly appearance, which certainly does not inspire confidence), the type was not put into production by either the Aviation Militare’, nor the RFC / RNAS.

The Bits and Bobs

KP have recently released this little gem, in two boxings, one for the French version (KPM0256), and one for the RFC/RNAS version (KPM0255). The kit I am reviewing is the former, but the plastic for both is the same. Prior to the KP release, the only companies that released a Nieuport Triplane in this scale was Roseplane (who released the Nieuport 10 based version), and RVHP, who released two kits; one for the French and one for the British version of the Nieuport 17 based design. These kits were all done in resin, and are long out of production, though they do pop up on ebay every now and then. The KP kit presents a welcome release of this obscure yet very interesting type.

The kit consists of a single sprue of grey plastic, constituting just 28 parts, a decal sheet, and a small instruction leaflet. There is no etch, resin, nor any clear parts included.



The kit is nicely detailed, and has some nice features, in particular the representation of wing ribs and the small sub-ribs is nicely done. The wings all come as single pieces, as to the wing struts, which will very much aid in alignment later (nice work, KP!). Two upper wings are also provided; one for the French version and one for the British version (with additional cut-outs for pilot view) - another great inclusion. The fuselage is crisply moulded, with the appropriate slots for the single piece wings. Basic interior framing is also provided. Speaking of the interior, we’re also provided a nice little seat, an instrument panel with three nicely done instruments moulded in, a floor, and pedals, but the modeller is instructed to provide their own control column from plastic rod. This should all come together quite nicely. The wheels are quite nice, with crisp detail and very subtle impressions of spokes under the wheel covers. The engine represents a Le Rhone, and will benefit from some careful clean up and painting. The prop is also nice, with crisp prop boss detail. The Lewis gun is adequate for this scale, but the Vickers gun could benefit from an aftermarket replacement.

The only downside is that there is a bit of flash on some of the parts (nothing some sanding or a sharp blade couldn’t fix), and a slight roughness to the surfaces. This is reminiscent of some of Roden’s 1/72 efforts, and is likely a result of lower pressure injection moulding. Again, this will disappear under a light sanding so shouldn’t pose a problem.






Instructions

The instructions are printed in a nice little folded A4 sized leaflet, printed in colour. The instructions contain a description of the aircraft’s history (in this case, taken direct from the historyofwar.org website), a parts breakdown, construction sequence, and a very useful rigging diagram. Paint callouts are clear and concise, and Humbrol paint references are used throughout.





Colour schemes for one of the French machines (the camouflaged machine) is provided. Colours and decal placement are called out on the rear of the box; for this machine, markings are essentially 12 roundels (four for each wing), and rudder stripes, over a brown / green / CDL colour scheme (with wing and tailplanes edged in light blue).



For those so inclined, the second French Nieuport could also be built from this boxing, but the serial would have to be sought elsewhere. 

Decals

The decals are very nicely printed with solid colour and excellent register. The decal film looks nice and thin.



Accuracy

I don’t have a direct set of scale plans to compare to, but the kit looks dimensionally about right compared to some of the online plans I can find. The fuselage looks slightly deep and portly, but I don’t expect this will be quite so apparent when completed. The only other minor niggling omissions are the missing induction pipes for the engine on the fuselage sides, missing cooling holes in the cowl, and the holes in the horizontal stabilisers for the control cables, but these can easily be added.



Conclusions

I must say, this really is a delightful little kit of a wonderfully strange adaptation of the famous Nieuport design. It’s wing layout may put some builders off a little (and accordingly, I’d recommend this kit for those with a couple of WW1 types under their belt), but for me, this just entices me more. KP have done their best to simplify the build as much as possible, with single piece wings and struts making this as simple as it can be. Once completed, and with its green and brown livery, spinner, and armament, this little fellow will surely be an eye-catcher in the model cabinet, or on the competition table. I for one will certainly be building this little gem some time very soon!

Our very sincere thanks to KP for the review sample!
« Last Edit: October 31, 2021, 06:28:49 AM by Brad Cancian »
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