Six months or so after it debut, Eduard's 1/48 scale SPAD XIII returns in a simplified form as a Weekend Edition. Arriving as usual in a sturdy conventional box featuring side artwork that doubles as a colour painting-guide, the 3 main sprues lock together to protect the parts in a resealable polythene bag, with the clear parts further protected in a small zip-lock bag. The kit comprises:
84 x beige styrene parts (5 not needed)
1 x injected styrene windscreen (plus 2 unused alternative styles)
Decals for a single colour scheme
The kit impresses immediately with its fine surface finish. In my opinion Eduard's recent kits are among the best of the mainstream offerings in how they tackle fabric surfaces and the SPAD is no exception, with lightly depicted longerons on the fuselage, and ribs complete with stitching on the flying surfaces. Everything is drum-tight as on a well-maintained full-sized machine. Other surface details include crisply raised panels and cooling louvres around the cowling. Moulding is as sharp as you'd hope on what is, essentially, still a brand new moulding. Eduard have mostly managed to confine ejector pin marks to the sprues rather than the kit parts, but there are a couple at the rear of the cockpit sides that may be visible on the completed model if you know where to look, so you may want to spend a few minutes cleaning them off.
Stephen Lawson described the original release
in some depth, so I won't go over too much of the same ground here. The cockpit is nicely detailed with a total of 25 parts. The original kit featured etched parts but, this being a Weekend Edition, they're absent this time. In truth, the only parts which you're really likely to miss are the seat harnesses, because Eduard have included the formerly etched instrument faces as decals. Stephen wasn't too keen on the basically one-piece floor, but it's neatly moulded and, certainly in the context of this simplified edition, works well enough for modellers looking for a straightforward build, while still looking suitably "busy" after the additional plumbing and control are attached.
It goes without saying that, as before, there's no engine included, but it's absence won't be noticeable because the etched side grills are obviously omitted. This time you have only the solid styrene louvre versions, so there's no danger of the see-through effect. The radiator comprises a separate core and quite delicate shutters, and there a choice of propellers (although it's not made clear which is required for the featured colour scheme).
The interplane struts and aileron control linkages are fairly complex on the SPAD, and newcomers to biplanes should take note that Eduard haven't resorted to any gimmicks to aid construction - all the struts are separate (no clumsy paired struts fitting into trench-line slots in the wings here), so you will need to take time and care lining everything up. Rounding everything off is the rigging, and Eduard have included a couple of useful diagrams which are enough to get you started. Also, the box-top illustration is excellent and gives a clear impression of the streamlined-section wires and turnbuckles used on the full-sized aircraft.
Instructions & decals
The 8-page A-5 booklet is clearly illustrated in black and white (a full colour version will be available on-line at Eduard's website which should help particularly in highlighting the rigging, as well as the obvious colour painting guide). The assembly sequence looks logical enough and Gunze Sangyo colour matches are included throughout ( as an alternative, you may want to check out the specialist Misterkit acrylics
Decals are included for just one aircraft, flown by: Capitaine René Fonck, Escadrille SPA.103(GC.15), Autun 1918.
The decals look very good quality - thin and glossy with precise registration and minimal carrier film. The serials are printed as one with the stripes, which is disappointing for those who prefer to paint the latter.
The Weekend Edition SPAD XIII Late is a very nice kit that should appeal to both casual modellers and dedicated WW1 enthusiasts alike. With its two-bay wings though, it's not a beginner's kit (anyone totally new to biplanes might be better advised to start off with something simpler like Eduard's own Weekend Edition Fokker D.VII). To get an idea of just how stunning the SPAD XIII can look in skilled hands, check out Louis's on-line build
in the Forum.
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