Scratchbuilt 1/72 Nieuport 17
historyThe Nieuport 17 was an enlarged and improved version of the very successful Nie.11. During the First World War, the Nie.17 served in the air forces of France, Italy, Belgium, the UK and the USA. A copied version was produced as the Siemens-Schuckert D.I for the German Air Service but in the event, it did not enter front-line service. The Nie.17 fought hard during 1916, but so fast was the pace of aircraft development that by early 1917 it was already obsolete. It was used as an operational trainer for the remainder of the war
The modelStefano decided to return to the roots of modelling to produce this little masterpiece. He did not use any commercially produced parts, preferring to fabricate his own.
engineStefano started his build by turning the cowling from an aluminium rod. He turned the inside diameter first, then turned the outside of the rod down to the final diameter of the cowl and polished it.
Next he built the engine block by again turning down an aluminium rod on his lathe. The block was placed in his drill press and each individual cylinder mount was drilled out. Next, he turned back to his lathe and cut 9 cylinders. The engine was finished by wires of different diameters for the spark plugs, inlet manifolds and valve tappets.
Stefano laminated several layers of 4/10mm ply for the propeller. Once the glue was dry, he carved the blades, stained the wood with Aniline dye, and finished the propeller with a coat of pore filling varnish.
fuselageThe fuselage is 1/2mm square wooden strips and 4/10mm ply. Stefano built the seat from the ply, drilled the lightening holes, and used metal strip for the legs.
Seatbelts are paper with aluminium and copper wire fittings. The joystick and linkages were made from various diameter wire.
The fuel tank was cut from aluminium sheet, bent and soldered together.
A piece of copper sheet was turned to shape, then one quarter was cut out to form the oil tank. It was mounted on a turned aluminium firewall and then the engine fitted into place.
wingsThe wings were constructed on a set of plans from Flight Magazine which had been reduced to 1/72 scale. The ribs and spars were constructed from boxwood. The upper wing alone has 150 parts, exactly the same as the original. Strengthening wires within the wing structure were made of elastic and the whole assembly stained with the Aniline dye.
wheelsNot satisfied with etched spokes, Stefano made a jig and constructed the Nieuport's wheels exactly the same way the originals were. The spoke wire came from a cable TV antenna while the rims were turned aluminium. The tires are rubber O rings turned down to the correct diameter on the lathe. The landing gear struts were aluminium rod soldered together.
empennageThe empannage was constructed on the plans using 3/10mm brass wire bent and soldered together. Stefano first made the outline shape, then filled in the details.
armamentThe Vickers gun was made of brass and copper soldered together. Each tiny machine gun round was turned from brass tube with a tiny copper bullet, then the rounds were attached to a paper tape feed belt and fed into the gun.
final assemblyFinally, 4 months after starting out, Stefano assembled his model. The result is a stunning achievement in the art of scratchbuilding.
Copyright ©2021 by Stefano. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of AeroScale, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2012-03-10 00:00:00