by: Filip [ ]
INTRODUCTION EDUARD has recently re-released many of their older kits in new boxings. A new Legie limited edition SPAD mighty be truly interesting for WWI enthusiasts, who prefer rather uncommon paint schemes. For Czechoslovak aviation enthusiasts, the new Eduard`s release seems mandatory, since this boxing covers the paint schemes of the Bohemian pilots who flew the SPADs.
HISTORY The French SPAD XIII was a development of the SPAD VII. The SPAD VII was flown by Georges Guynemer, who was not particularly pleased with the type, especially when compared to the aircraft flown by his German adversaries. He took his concerns directly to the manufacturer. Because by this time, Guynemer was already well known in French life in general, his concerns were taken seriously. With that, the groundwork for the development of two more models were laid, the SPAD XII and SPAD XIII. While the SPAD XII was armed with a 37 mm cannon, and as such saw limited production and use by very experienced pilots, the SPAD XIII saw much more widespread use.
Thanks to the use of a more powerful Hispano-Suiza HS 8Be engine rated at 220 hp, and later the HS 8BEe (235 hp), the main drawback of the previous model in the form of inadequate armament could be addressed, and the SPAD XIII received two Vickers machine guns with 400 rpg. The head designer of the type, Louis Bechereau also enlarged the airframe slightly, and strengthened it. The first prototype of the SPAD XIII was flown by Second Lieutenant Rene Dorme on April 4th, 1917.
Due to a heavier weight, the new type didn’t achieve the maneuverability of its predecessor, but it did display a better rate of climb, and a faster speed of 215 km/h. The performance of the new type was such that contracts were immediately awarded for large production numbers. This was ultimately participated in by nine manufacturers (SPAD, A.C.M., Bernard, Bleriot, Borel, Kellner, Levasseur, Nieuport, and SAFCA). The new type began reaching units during the summer of 1917. The type was flown by a list of well-known and successful pilots - Frenchman Rene Fonck (75 kills), Italian Francesco Baracca (34 kills), Americans Eddie Rickenbacker (26 victories), Frank Luke (18 kills) and the aforementioned Georges Guynemer. Besides the French air force, the SPAD XIII was also flown by Great Britain, USA, Italy, Belgium, and, after the First World War, with Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. Originally, the aircraft had rounded wingtips, but these soon reverted back to the squared off tips of the SPAD VII.
For the purposes of collecting research material for this Limited Edition kit, invaluable assistance was provided by Mr. Zdeněk Čejka (French and Czechoslovak subjects) and Mr. Josef Studený (Czechoslovak subjects). Our sincere gratitude goes out to both of them.
Info from Eduard
THE KIT The SPAD arrives in a sturdy box with all the content packed in separate bags. There are two Czechoslovak SPADs in the box art at the background of both the flag and the emblem. The kit consists of:
three grey styrene frets (84 parts)
clear parts fret (3 parts)
Eduard masking set
one PE parts sheet (pre-painted)
one decals sheet
The parts are crisp and clean of flash. I have noticed just a few sink marks, most of them are located in such places, where no modeller`s intervention will be required. They are present, however, on both propellers and some filling and sanding will be necessary. Ejector pin marks seem to be located in such places, where they will not be visible.
The details are crisp and generally subtle. The rib tapes on the flying surfaces are much more to scale than in Eduard`s latest releases.
The cockpit is pretty busy just out of the box and both PE and decals instrument faces are provided. When it comes to the PE - it is pre-painted and I must admit I am definitely not a fan of these older ones (PE is dated 2008 as the original release). The print is not as crisp as the decals. I would go for decal instrument faces and the PE bezels.
The engine louvres are moulded in plastic, IMHO providing their PE counterpart would be a good choice because they would be much more to scale.
When it comes to the Legie release - there are no differences or extra parts within this boxing.
TEST FIT The kit is engineered in a unique way since the fuselage is divided into four main components with the whole upper section moulded as one element (no seam). I think the intention was to minimise the amount of the cleanup required. Some test fitting is advised though. Judging on the basis of what I could test before actually glueing anything it seems that the kit will pose no problems. The only issue I see is a rather complicated and a little bit tricky rigging due to confined spaces between the struts and the wings.
INSTRUCTION AND DECALS The instruction is the usual full-colour Eduard style. It is very comprehensive and leaves a little room for any doubts concerning the building process. The paint schemes are described and printed in full colour.
The decals are printed by Eduard. The quality of the print is more than satisfactory. They are in perfect register. There are four really interesting marking options:
A - 2807 Spa.315 Augustin Charvát, France, September 1918
B - 8875 Spa.124, Václav Pilát, France, autumn 1918
C - 9151 33. 33rd Squadron, Air Regiment 2 LP 2, Bohumil Siegl, Czechoslovakia, September 1924
D -9152 32nd Squadron, Air Regiment 1, František Lehký, Czechoslovakia, August 1924
CONCLUSION The Eduard limited edition SPAD Legie is an interesting kit for those, who prefer extraordinary paint schemes or simply want to have a colourful SPAD XIII in their collection. The new boxing brings nothing new to the original 2008 boxing but after a decade it is still a very good kit.
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