Got the star insignia finished up on the Bolshevik Nieuport 17. Some of the stars are a bit wonky, but frankly that’s historically accurate — a lot of actual insignia during the Russian Civil War had a definite hand-painted look to it!
I gave up on the red-and-white striped vertical tail as a bad job, and went with solid red to go along with the red cowling at the nose.
Now to get the upper wing into position, always a job likely to provoke swearing. At least the Nieuport only has six struts, instead of the even dozen on the SPAD! After that there’s just the landing gear and prop disc to do.
Got started on the insignia for the Bolshevik Nieuport. This is going to involve at least six freehand red stars; to skip one pair I’ve decided to go with a red-and-white striped tail, although freehand stripes might make freehand stars look easy…
Anyway, here’s the current state of the beast. Like the SPAD, this Nieuport has roundels moulded right into the wing surfaces, so I’ve used those to put the stars in white circles. This appears to have been fairly common on Bolshevik aircraft, for the simple reason that the Imperial Russian Air Service roundel had to be blanked out somehow!
The insignia and tail stripes will get at least one more coat of paint, and they need some cleanup, then highlighting. Colours, for anyone following along at home, are Reaper Master Series Clotted Red and Reaper MS Leather White; highlights will be with Reaper MS Pure White and Carnage Red. I might yet abandon the striped tail in favour of a red tail, possibly with white star. It depends on how frustrated freehand pinstriping gets me…
Having built the White Russians a SPAD (Parts One, Two, Three), it’s time to build the Nieuport 17 for my Bolshevik forces!
As I mentioned in my original RCW Aviation article, the basic scheme for the Nieuport in Red service will be silver/grey dope with as many red stars as I can stand to freehand onto the thing. At a minimum, I”m committed to six: two on the vertical tail, two on the upper surface of the top wing, two on the lower surface of the bottom wing. Nieuports, because of their very small bottom wing, often had insignia on the lower surface of the upper too. We shall see.
Thankfully the Reds freehanded their star insignia too, so lumpy, misshapen and odd stars abound!
Here’s all the kit parts laid out on my cutting mat. Only about two dozen parts all told, and a much simpler strut setup than the SPAD which will hopefully be easier to assemble than the SPAD’s upper wing… (the fuselage is in two halves, I just had them popped together to check the fit when I took this photo.)
Here’s the current state of the Nieuport. Basic assembly of fuselage and lower wing done, and basecoat of silver, red (on the nose) and white (on the tail) done.
Almost all of my gaming is done away from home, at other houses, up at the university on the weekend (our local miniatures group takes over a classroom up there every Sunday) and at conventions. So everything has to be portable or it’s useless to me. Given the relative fragility of the White Russian SPAD, especially that damned upper wing, I needed a solid way to protect it in transit.
Some scrap cardboard, a dip into my stockpile of cheap upholstery foam (normally used for lining figure cases) and some work with razor knife and hot glue gun, and I had the SPAD Caddy:
The base is a square of scrap cardboard, then two layers of half-inch foam with a cutout to accommodate the body and wings of the plane, and a deeper square cutout (through both layers of foam) at the front for the wheels and propeller. More scrap foam protects the tail and wingtips, and the two bits of foam forward of the tail hold the whole thing securely. The extra strip of cardboard across the front helps protect the propeller and landing gear as well as provide a convenient spot for a label.
I used the SPAD Caddy to get the SPAD and the rest of my Russian scenery and figures to Trumpeter Salute at the end of March, and it worked exactly as planned. There’s even room in my Russian Civil War scenery box (just!) for a similar caddy for the Nieuport I plan on doing for the Reds.
Finally swore the upper wing into place this evening. It’s been years since I built a biplane model, I’d forgotten what a total bugger the struts and upper wing can be. The SPAD 13 as 12 struts, only two of which are especially solidly mounted when it comes to getting the upper wing positioned, the rest of which wobble entertainingly.
Even now the upper wing is very slightly skew and I have doubts about it’s long-term stability when the plane is in wargaming use, but we shall see. After getting the upper wing fixed, the landing gear and prop disc were painless.
Major Vodcanovitch of the White Russian army provides scale; he’s a 28mm Brigade Games officer.
That’s the SPAD largely finished, except for a bit of touchup painting and two struts I need to reinforce to help solidify the upper wing.
Now, back to finishing that crowd of White Russian riflemen and officers you see cluttering the background of the SPAD photos!
Inspired by this image from Wings Palette, I decided to give a bit of freehand a try.
There’s a (nearly) matching skull on the other side of the rudder, of course, although this one turned out better so I’ll have to always remember to photograph this plane heading right! I also used thinned paint and washes to dirty up the fuselage, especially around the nose where the engine and guns make a mess.
I’ve also put a half-inch wood screw up into the belly of the plane, right behind the main landing gear, to serve as an attachment point for a flying stand. There’s two layers of plastic there, from the wing and the body, and the screw seems solid so far, especially with a drop of superglue to lock it in place. I had thought about using a block of wood or blob of milliput inside the fuselage before I assembled it to provide a solid attachment point, but got impatient to assemble the plane! Hopefully the screw will be solid enough as-is, worst case scenario I can always carve a hole in the belly of the plane, stuff the hole with milliput and sculpt a patch.
Up next, one last touchup of the roundels and other paint, then final assembly: cursing the upper wing into place, adding the landing gear and prop disc. That’ll be it, then it’s back to my neglected horde of White & Red infantry who need painting up!
I should be working on finishing White Russian infantry, but I’ve allowed myself to become distracted by aircraft, specifically the SPAD 13 I wrote about a few days ago, earmarked to support my White Russian forces.
Here’s the SPAD all laid out on my workbench. As I mentioned in the first post, these are incredibly basic kits. The SPAD has 26 parts, at least one third of which are wing struts!