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J.M.G.T. 1/48 scale Caudron-Renault C.714 Cyclone

Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: J.M.G.T., 71 Grande Rue, 95760 Valmondois, France, phone 33-34-69-60-00
Price: $89.98
Comments: Multimedia, 43 parts (13 resin, 18 photoetched brass, 10 white metal, 2 vacuum-formed canopies), decals.

DERIVED FROM A LINE of monoplane racers, the Caudron-Renault C.714 Cyclone fought as a second-line, point-defense interceptor during the Battle of France. Handicapped by poor performance and flimsy firepower, just over 60 were produced. Six reached fighter-starved Finland before France fell, but none saw combat there. Surprisingly, a pair of Cyclones survived World War II.

J.M.G.T.'s resin subassemblies divide along major panel lines. Despite a complicated parts breakdown, the kit goes together with little filler required. However, the fit of the forward fuselage to the wing is poor.

The resin is brittle, so be careful handling the parts. My sample had several small chips separated from the moldings. The canopies are vacuum formed from thick, clear plastic and demand more effort to trim and fit than usual.

My sample's fin and starboard wing were warped, but super glue, strip styrene, putty, and warm water -- buoyed with patience -- solved these problems. The locating slots for the horizontal stabilizers made it easy to install these parts incorrectly. There should be no dihedral, so be careful!

Some of the photoetched details fall, er, flat when they represent the tubular gunsight, pitot tube, and tail skid. Experienced enthusiasts probably will prefer spares-box or scratchbuilt substitutes.

The manufacturer's four-page instructions don't quite match the superior quality of kit castings. The 15-step instructions lack specifics, especially for most of the cockpit details. The color guide fails to note that the Finnish examples featured a tightened version of the C.714's standard mottled pattern, and doesn't mention the port-wing aluminum panels which reference photos clearly show. J.M.G.T. mentions that the radio mast wasn't visible, but photos show a dorsal mast about a foot tall.

I painted my Cyclone with the French khaki, chestnut brown, dark blue-gray, and light blue-gray from Floquil Classic Military Colors. The nicely printed decals adhere well, but the clear film covers the entire backing sheet, so you'll have to trim each item carefully. You may need to convince the decals to settle into the recessed panel lines with solvent and a sharp blade. I added a number 3 (cut from the French-style letters on the decals) to the center of each side of the rudder for my Finnish example.

This isn't a well-known machine. The best English-language sources I found were William Green's ancient study in War Planes of the Second World War -- Fighters, Vol. 1, and a "Fighters A to Z" item in the September 1975 Air International.

The C.714 is a typical cottage-industry resin kit. It was fun to build and took only 22 hours. Beginners and experts alike will face few storm clouds braving this "Cyclone."

David L. Veres


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