by: HG Barnes [ ]
HistoryFrench industrialist Emile Salmson had been building radial engines designed by Georges Canton and Georges Unne since 1910 and had begun designing aircraft by 1914. The Societe de Motors Salmsonís first aircraft design to be put into production was the remarkably ungainly twin propeller, single engine SM.1 in November 1916. At the same time that Salmson were manufacturing their SM.1 they were also building Sopwith 1 & 1/2 Strutters (Sopwith 1-A2 in French nomenclature) under license and had begun designing a larger version of this successful, but fragile, British two-seat reconnaissance machine during 1916. This prototype Salmson A made its maiden flight in January 1917 but did not impress the authorities so it was developed further to be powered by Salmsonís new 260hp 9z water cooled radial engine. This rugged new aircraft became the Salmson 2-A2 prototype which was test flown in April 1917 and put into production with 2200 ordered from Salmson with another 1000 to be built by Campagnie General Omnibus (CGO), Hanriot and Latecoere. Additionally the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal Factory and Kawasaki Shipworks built around 600 licensed (and unlicensed) examples from 1920 to 1927 which were known as the Type Otsu 1 Reconnaissance Aircraft.
The SubjectThe Salmson 2-A2 featured a large radiator, powerful radial engine, self sealing fuel tanks, aluminium engine cowlings, conventional wooden fuselage and wing construction with silk fabric covering. They first entered service with French Escadrille Sal.122 in October 1917 where the new aircraft was enthusiastically received, replacing the unitís aging twin engine Caudron G.6 aircraft. It was also widely used by the USAS (Air Service, United States Army) with their first machines going into action with the 1st and 12th Aero Squadrons during June 1918. A total of 705 Salmson 2-A2 were delivered to the USAS, more than any other two-seater used by the AEF (American Expeditionary Force) during the First World War. Following the armistice the Salmson 2-A2 was used during occupational duties in Germany before being phased out of French service by 1921. The Salmson 2-A2 saw limited service in the new Czechoslavak Air Force, both sides in the Russian Civil War, Poland, Belgium and limited use as a civilian passenger aircraft. The Japanese Type Otsu 1 Reconnaissance Aircraft saw service in Siberia in 1922 and China in 1931 and was not completely replaced until 1933. Any history here is of necessity very brief so we recommend that you seek out the references below for at better understanding of this important aircraft.
Sponsored BySeveral months ago I received an email from my go to retailer for hobby supplies asking me if they could sponsor some of my builds.
Sunward Hobbies are a family owned hobby business operating since 2004. Their online catalog and in-store inventory include a variety of paints, airbrushes, model kits, tools, and equipment. They operate both Canadian and American websites which are easy to navigate, continually updated, offer back in stock email reminders and have a shopping cart you can save. Like me, you'll love the fast shipping and how everything is expertly packaged. Their prices are great and if you have any issues with a product Angelo and his team deal with it very quickly. I've been purchasing from Sunward Hobbies for almost three and am constantly impressed with how easy it is to get in touch with someone and how they go out of their way to keep me as a loyal customer.
One final note before we move on to the review, Sunward Hobbies have recently moved to a better location and offer more products with the same great service, so please check out their website. A link is provided at the bottom of this article.
The KitModel features
Released on 16 December 2013 - 36cm x 26cm - 163 high quality injection molded plastic parts - 17 part highly detailed 260hp Salmson 9z water cooled radial engine - Optional Vickers or Marlin machine gun armament, open or closed radiator shutters - 13 photo-etched metal detail parts - 28 page fully illustrated instruction manual - High quality Cartograf decals with markings for 5 colourful USAS aircraft - Fine in scale rib tape details - Full rigging diagrams.
That, plus the historical information, came directly from Wingnut Wings, but it does little justice to this kit, the presentation, the care put into the product and the after sales support. We can only pray that this gem of a company will find its way into the light of full recovery.
That said, let me run through a few more things, not listed in that brief explanation, which are highly noteworthy. The Box Art is absolutely stunning! Trimmed in silver the sturdy box top and crate do an excellent job to minimize shipping damage along with giving you a great preview of what's inside to aid in your purchase. The Contents are also placed in such a way to limit any mishaps during its long trip to your bench. Each sprue is individually wrapped in soft non-annoying crinkling bags as are the decals and photo-etch parts.
The Plastic is simply stunning in detail!!! You get gobs of high definition raised and recessed details, oodles of fabric and textured realism plus an accuracy that's backed up by photographic evidence. Many places are molded of extremely thin plastic and in some cases literally razor sharp! So, there's no need to thin these areas out yourself after spending countless hours looking at internet photos or reference books. From stamped engine cowl louvers to ultra thin material around the supports it's a marvel to behold. You'll know everything from who made the tires and gauges to the different names given by different pilots of the same aircraft. On top of that this is not a small model measuring over 14 by 10 inches and features one piece wing parts.
Thus, you might be asking by now "Were you excited after cracking open the box of this one?" for which my reply was a colloquial "You bet your hind quarter I was excited!"... or words to that effect.
Decals and PEAnother marvel of this kit are the Decals and Markings. How Wingnut Wings came up with all these high quality photos to match the markings is a wonder in itself. Now match those with the superb Cartograf product and you should wind up with quite the looker. You just have to make the hard choice of which of the unique 5 offering to go with.
With the above mentioned mind numbing quality of the plastic it allowed Wingnut Wings to keep the number of photo-etched parts to relative few. Not that we all don't mind a goodly amount of brass or nickle in our builds, but no one will argue with selecting a plastic on plastic marriage vs the alternative in the same detail level. Bearing that in mind, there are great safety belts, gun sights and machine gun incline detail to bring your kit to a higher level.
InstructionsCalling the book you get to build the this model "instructions" is flat out an insult. It's part builder's guide, part reference book, part historical document and yes even a piece of artwork. You can tell that these folks not only love the subject they're presenting but they must love building models as well. Yes it's in color, yes it's made with thick gloss paper and yes it has all the necessary steps to build, paint, decal and weather your model. That, however, wasn't enough for Wingnut Wings. Nope, they went and added so many different personal touches that you genuinely came to love the subject yourself and the people who produced the kit. A perfect example is that this book isn't a throw away item. It's something you'd like to have close by to where you're displaying the aircraft and certainly beautiful enough to warrant that honor. Inside may look a bit intimidating but as the book suggests "Read it from cover to cover, then again and (just for kicks and giggles) read it once more.". Seriously though, from what I can tell you shouldn't have any issues if you follow the builder's guide step by step. I will say this though about the rigging, I was confused at first but after reading through a third time suddenly the light went on and the ah ha moment eased any concern. OH, and make certain you know which of the five aircraft you're building. This should help immensely with making the different steps less congested.
ConclusionWOW!!! Sorry, let me clarify... there's a whole lot of modelling joy in this box. When Sunward Hobbies sent this over I had some idea about how good Wingnut Wings kits are from watching videos, yet you never get a true sense until you yourself hold the plastic. Then factor in the reasonable price and quality and now you've got a splendid subject to display or take to a show. Overall, it seems at first glance that the people involved left no stone unturned on this one, so hats off from me. Down the road I'll be building this and am seriously looking forward to that day.
Very Special Thanks go out to the fine people at Sunward Hobbies for sending this kit for my usual long winded review and of course to YOU for suffering through it :)
When purchasing any item from Sunward Hobbies please mention you read an article on KitMaker Network AeroScale. Thanks again everyone and be safe.