Author Topic: Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 scale Breguet Bre-14A and Bre-14B  (Read 111 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 scale Breguet Bre-14A and Bre-14B
« on: September 18, 2022, 04:04:41 PM »
Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) 1/72 Breguet Bre-14A and Bre-14B
Reviewed by Brad Cancian



Item: KPM-0321(Bre-14A) and KPM-0322 (Bre-14B)
Scale: 1/72
Price: 16.95 Euros each, direct from Kovozávody Prostějov

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

The Breguet Bre-14

The Breguet Bre-14 was developed in late 1916 as a reconnaissance and bombing aircraft. First flying in November 1916, the machine was offered in two versions; the Bre-14A model for reconnaissance duties, and the Bre-14B model for bombing duties. Both had a boxy shape that was complemented by a rectangular frontal radiator and the unusual negative or back stagger of its wings. It possessed a sturdy undercarriage, along with ailerons on the upper wing only. For the 14B bomber version, which was required to lift a heavier payload, the lower wing featured flaps along the entire trailing edges. These were forced into their raised position by the air, as the aircraft accelerated to its normal speed, being restricted from moving freely by a set of 12 adjustable rubber bungee cords.



The airframe's structure was quite advanced for its time. It was constructed primarily of duralumin, an aluminium alloy which had been invented in Germany only a decade previously. Many sections, such as the duralumin longerons and spacers, were attached using welded steel-tube fittings and braced using piano wire. The wing spars were of rectangular duralumin tubes with either oak or ash shims at the attachment points and wrapped in a sheet steel sheath.[5] The wooden box ribs had fretted plywood webs and ash flanges. The tail unit was built up from welded steel tube, while the elevators featured large horn balances. French officials were initially wary of the Bre-14’s innovative materials and methods due to a lack of experience with them.

Notwithstanding, the Bre-14 quickly demonstrated its abilities to French military aviation authorities. The aircraft was fast, sturdy, and reliable. In March 1917, the first official production order was received by Breguet for 140 14A reconnaissance aircraft, with an and an additional order for 100 14B bombers received in April. The Bre-14 was used in large numbers from May 1917 onwards, and at its peak equipped at least 71 escadrilles. The aircraft was widely deployed on both the Western Front, and in the east, on the Italian front.

The Bre-14 was also ordered by the Belgian Army (40 aircraft) and the United States Army Air Service (over 600 aircraft). Around half the Belgian and U.S. aircraft were fitted with Fiat A.12 engines due to shortages of the original Renault 12F. By the end of the war, the type was reportedly responsible for having dropped over 1,887,600 kg (4,161,400 lb) of bombs. A Breguet 14 played a role in one of the last actions of the war. During November 1918, one aircraft was used to transport a German military officer, Major von Geyer, from Tergnier and Spa. It was covered in large white flags of truce to avoid being attacked. The aircraft was operated extensively post war by countries all over the world, and the type was produced until finally ceasing in 1928. When production finally ceased, the total for all versions built had exceeded 7,800.

The Breguet Bre-14 in 1/72 scale

The Bre-14 has been relatively well served by kit manufacturers in 1/72. Classic Plane and Vac Wings did vacuform releases back in the ‘80s, and Merlin and Pegasus have done limited mould released in plastic in the ‘90s. CMR did a 14B in resin in the early 2000s. In 2006, AZ Models released a modern injection moulded kit of both the 14A and 14B aircraft; these have been re-released on and off since then in different guises, most recently in their ‘silver wings’ limited-edition boxings with resin and etched parts to complement the plastic. KP released their versions of the 14A and 14B in 2022. This kit shares its lineage with the AZ Models aircraft, being essentially the same plastic as the AZ kit, plus some minor additions.

The Bits and Bobs


Released in 2022, KP have produced three boxings of this kit; the two versions examined here, and a third, a Bre-14A “international” boxing. This continues KPs approach of releasing additional boxings with the same plastic and different marking themes.

The kit consists of three sprues of grey plastic and one clear sprue, constituting 55 parts, a decal sheet, and a small instruction leaflet. There is no etch or resin included. The fuselage / lower wing sprues are different for the 14A and 14B kits. Otherwise, the detail sprues are the same for all three kits.

The kit is quite nicely detailed. The first sprue consists of the main detail parts, upper wing, cockpit coaming, tail surfaces, radiator, and wheels. Detail here is quite crisp, though the sprues do have some flash here and there (nothing too major). The plastic here is smoother than in previous KP releases, demonstrating perhaps an incremental improvement in their moulding technology. The wing ribs are subtle and very nicely restrained.





The front radiator is very nicely done; this is a large piece that will be the focus of the front of the aircraft. The complex main undercarriage struts are likewise nicely detailed. Some details and struts will be tricky to remove, so care may be needed in removal and clean up. The cockpit contains enough to keep things looking busy; included is a floor, seat, fuel tank, instrument board, control column, and rudder pedals. There’s nothing forward of the instrument panel, so you may want to block this area off with card. The observer cockpit is a little sparse though, lacking any cameras, radios or ammunition storage.





The second sprue contains the fuselage and lower wings. These are different depending on wither you have the 14A or 14B versions. Both are very nicely done; the bomb carriers and flap bungee details on the 14B in particular look excellent. The moulded louvers on the fuselage nose are nicely done, as is the framing to the fuselage interior. Injector pins are in locations that won’t be seen, which is nice.

For the 14A:





And the 14B:





The third sprue is a smaller sprue containing detail parts. Again, detail is nice, with a little bit of flash to remove. The clear sprue is also common for both aircraft, and looks nice (noting that the fuselage windows won’t be needed for the 14A variant).



All in all, the plastic looks like it will do the job nicely.

Instructions

The instructions are different for both kits to account for the differences between the 14A and 14B models. They are printed in a nice little folded A4 sized leaflet, and are printed in colour. The instructions contain a description of the aircraft’s history, some specs, a parts breakdown, and construction sequence. Parts used for each model are well defined. A nice touch is the provision of rigging instructions through construction. Paint callouts are clear and concise, and Humbrol paint references are used throughout.

For the Bre-14A:





For the Bre-14B:





Colour schemes for three machines are provided in each boxing. Colours and decal placement are called out on the rear of the box. We get a nice mix of visually interesting aircraft:

KPM0321 (note the error that KP makes here; they call each of these 14Bs when they are actually 14As):
•   Bre-14A, White 3, French Air Force, 1918
•   Bre-14A, n.200 “VIII”, French Air Force, 1918
•   Bre-14A, Yellow 5, Belgian Air Force, 1920



KPM0322:
•   Bre-14B, “Leon”, Escadrille Br 504, Salonica, French Air Force
•   Bre-14B, no.12203 “16”, French Air Force, 1918
•   Bre-14B, no.17188 “II”, French Air Force, 1918



Decals


The decals are very nicely printed with solid colour and excellent register. Thankfully individual aircraft serials are printed separate from the rudder stripes (always a bug bear of mine). The decal film looks nice and thin. These should go down nicely.




Accuracy

Though I have a copy of the Windsock Datafile Special on the Breguet by Allan D. Toelle, released in 2003, oddly this datafile has no general arrangement drawings for me to compare dimensions to. Accordingly, I can’t say whether or not the general dimensions and details are accurate. I can say that in looking at other builds of this kit that it certainly looks ‘about right’, including the differences between the 14A and 14B types, which is as good a measure as I tend to stick with (this is a hobby, after all!).

For the 14B model, given the flaps were operated by air loads, you may want to consider scoring and bending these to have their natural ‘droop’ when sitting on the ground:



Buildability

By its nature, this will potentially be a tricky build. Care will be needed to ensure the correct stagger is achieved on the lower wing. That being said, wing root connection pins here look quite solid, so adjustment should be straight forward. The “A-Frame” nature of the centre section struts will make adding the top wing slightly tricky, so care will also be needed here also. Thankfully, struts look sturdy. The strut arrangement may make rigging a little tricky also, depending on your preferred method. In short, this kit should build fine for those with a little experience under their belt, though some planning will be required.

Conclusions

KP are to be applauded for putting out this kit. Yet again, they have done a splendid job putting out a nice package whilst keeping the price quite reasonable. Again, they have done a solid job in putting together a very nice package, whilst keeping a modest parts count. Though the kit may prove a little tricky to construct, the challenges are more than made up for in the subtle details and solid basis that this kit provides. The multiple boxings of this kit provide many different and interesting colour schemes. I intend on enjoying building these in due course. Highly recommended!

Our very sincere thanks to KP for the review samples!