The Nie.17 was a natural progression from the diminutive Nie.11. It was larger, more powerful and had improved aerodynamics. Representative of a drastic leap in the technological back-and-forth between the opposing blocs of the Great War, the 17 tipped the scales of air power heavily back towards the Allies for a time. The type's superiority ensured it a degree of ubiquity. Being fielded by every major Ally as well as numerous minor players during and after the conflict.
Powered by a Le Rhone 9J rotary engine the 17 enjoyed excellent speed and rate of climb. it was initially armed with a single Lewis gun above the main wing firing over the arc of the propeller. This arrangement was abandoned by French forces for a single Vickers gun as soon as reliable a synchronizing gear became available. The overhead Lewis gun persisted with other Air Forces considerably.
Success did not come without vice however. The Nieuport was a sesquiplane. With a single spar on the lower wing and only one point of attachment for each strut. This was an inherent structural weak point for a combat aircraft and was never resolved in the type. As a result 17's were dogged by catastrophic wing failure at high speeds and in dives.
The cockpit is fairly spartan as moulded in styrene. With a chunky seat and too understated structural members on the insides of the fuselage. The moulding for the fuel tank is a flat smooth bulkhead, where really one would like to see the thing properly rendered. The control stick is completely plain, with a domed end. This would be agreeable if it were appropriately thin, but it isn't. So you have fat stick bereft of detail. The floor of the cockpit does have more pronounced and pleasing detail. But it will be somewhat marred by the huge styrene vertical member that must rise out of it. It is once again, simply too fat, and would scale to about the breadth and depth of a ham. This does represent what appears to be a significant structural element of the real aircraft but is grossly overstated. The real article is a metal tube (not rectangular section as depicted by Eduard), and perhaps 1 1/4" in diameter.
Fortunately this is the profipack, and the photoetch saves the day. There are two colour gauges, a beautiful perforated seat, and delicate throttle assembly. There is also a nicely coloured section for the curved wooden structure behind the pilot's shoulders too. With this photo etch the cockpit suddenly becomes quite a pleasant prospect.
There are two engines in the kit. One in grey styrene without cylinder heads moulded. This one is depicted in the instructions having the photoetch air/fuel intakes attached. The second engine, which is totally unmentioned in the otherwise concise instructions. Is on the ecru sprue, which has the crankcase and cylinders moulded as one, the intakes as a second, and the mounting axle as a third piece. This whole affair is extremely puzzling because by all appearances the ecru motor is a Le Rhone 9c. Which is for Nieuports, but not this one. The grey motor is closer to a 9J, but less detailed.
Really there is not much to bellyache about in this arena. The wing ribs are pleasantly pronounced but not grotesque. Detail is fine and appears to be engraved/raised where appropriate. The struts for both wing and wheels appear to be in scale and have metal bands neatly moulded in place. Eduard took the time to mould both wings as single pieces, considerately sparing unnecessary mating of top and bottom sections. Equally nice is the inclusion of two top wings. One solid and one with an open section amidships for examples which features clear skin in that area to improve pilot visibility.
Only the rudder is poseable as moulded. The elevators and ailerons are fixed.
As per usual, the instructions are a glossy, full colour booklet that included planview elevations for all marking options. There is not a thing of note to condemn the instruction booklet for.
There are adhesive paint masks for the wheels and windscreen as well as a huge decal sheet providing marking options for five distinct aircraft:
-Stg. Edward Hinkle, Esc. N124 Lafayette, Western front, Spring 1917
-Lt. Marius Ambrogi, Esc. N90, Western front, 1917 to 1918
-Capt. William C Campbell, No.1 Sqn RFC, Western front, July 1917
-Lt. Laurence Kert, No.29 Sqn RFC, Western front, November 1917
-ten. Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, 91ª Squadriglia, Italian Front, Spring 1917
The final aircraft is presented twice in the instructions. One with Lewis gun and one with Vickers. To my mind this is one scheme, not two.
The decals are crisp, in register and appear to be electron-thin.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: -Profipack Goodies
-Great Marking Options
-Superb Surface detailLows: -Confusing additional engineVerdict: Really a no-brainer if you want a quarterscale Nieuport 17.