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Special Hobby 1/32 scale Morane-Saulnier Type N

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit: No. 32006
Scale: 1/32
Manufacturer: Special Hobby, from Squadron Mail Order, 877-414-0434, www.squadron.com
Price: $48
Comments: Mixed media, 93 parts (55 injection-molded, 12 resin, 24 photoetched, 1 sheet clear plastic, 1 photofilm), decals
Pros: Good detail inside and out, good decals
Cons: Fragile photoetched parts, eyelets on turnbuckles too small, missing MS logo for cowl
The French Morane-Saulnier Type N was created as a racer in 1914 shortly before the outbreak of World War I. In the summer of 1915, bullet deflectors were mounted on the propeller blades to allow a Hotchkiss machine gun to fire through the propeller arc. The aircraft was used successfully by both the French and British against the Fokker Eindecker.

Special Hobby's 1/32 scale Morane comes with Aviprint decals for two French aircraft, one with a black nose and spinner, the other with a red nose and spinner and wide, diagonal red, white, and blue fuselage stripes. Although the box cover mentions colored-metal parts, they are not present; neither is the prominent MS logo disc on the box art engine cowl. The instructions give parts maps, interior colors, exterior marking schemes, and rigging points, as well as the assembly steps. The cockpit, engine, propeller with deflectors, and Hotchkiss gun with ammo magazines are all well-detailed.

The cockpit assembly fits nicely within the fuselage halves. But I substituted paper straps on the rudder bar because the metal ones were too small. I punched out the film instrument faces with a punch-and-die set, but small scissors would also work.

I had some difficulty getting the delicate engine pushrod arrays in place, finally cutting the projections from the cylinder heads. Most plastic and resin parts needed the usual clean-up before assembly. The fit was generally good except for the wing-to- fuselage joints. Both the wing pegs and their fuselage sockets needed a lot of trial-and-error fitting and filing before a good union was achieved. Although the instructions don't show it, this aircraft had no dihedral. The axles for the wheels are fragile; I broke one and had to replace it with brass rod.

Exterior surfaces were painted with Polly Scale French beige and engine black. The box art correctly shows thin black outlines on the fin and horizontal stabilizer, but no decals or masks are included. The decals are outstanding and responded well to Micro Sol. They were oversprayed with Polly Scale clear flat.

The rigging instructions are good, but purists will note there are no cranks on the shaft of the wing-warping rocker arm to accurately receive the warping lines. The small resin pulley that sits on the top rear of the dorsal rigging pylon must be drilled out for the wing-warping line to pass through. Eighteen photoetched metal turnbuckles are indicated for the wires running to the dorsal and ventral rigging pylons, but the rigging eyes are too small to accommodate the suggested .5mm lines. I couldn't even get my four-pound nylon line through them, so I used photoetched turnbuckles from an Eduard set.

With patience and diligence, an accurate, highly detailed model of the MS Type N can be built from this kit. I spent more than 50 hours on the model, and it still needs more finishing touches. I would recommend it to modelers experienced with rigging and working with small resin and photoetched metal parts.

- Dr. Bill Funcke

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