Adding another French fighter to its 1/32 scale lineup, Roden has produced a Nieuport 24 that comprises just 100 parts. Obviously based on its earlier Nieuports, Roden’s kit contains extra parts for your spares box, including major airframe items like a rudder and tail plane. It also includes a nicely printed decal sheet with four options, one in camouflage and the other three in aluminum.
It was immediately apparent that the sharp molding of previous Roden kits was not present in this kit, especially in the cockpit. The cockpit has quite a few parts, and is certainly a game attempt at detail. However, an indifference to fit means no positive locators, flat surfaces, or other assembly aids, and the instructions are unclear about placement. All cockpit parts needed a great deal of cleaning up, and I had to trim nearly all of them shorter to fit. I could not determine how the circular drum assembly (parts 13G and 14G) — a take-up reel for the used-ammunition belt — is supposed to fit between the cockpit frame and fuselage side. In frustration, I finally cut the bottom half of the reel off, and somehow convinced the assembly to stay in one place. (Super glue works wonders.) The seat back is molded flat, but you are expected to fold it into a round shape (as though it were photoetched metal). Even with heating to soften it, mine puckered and cracked a bit in the upper corners. No instrument decals are included, so I photocopied a spare. Maybe it was me, but this was one hard cockpit.
The rest of the model was typical of a short-run kit. To attach the rudder, you have to either cut off the hinge tabs at the rear of the fuselage or cut slots to accept them in the rudder. I couldn’t determine which was correct from photos, so I took the easy option and cut the tabs off.
There are three props and three windscreens, but no direction relating them to the decal options. I just chose the prop with the shallowest sink holes, and the windscreen that fit the best.
I had to trim detail from the cylinder heads to mount the engine cowl closed.
I painted various subassemblies off the model. I left the engine mount off to facilitate rigging, and I did the same for the tail-skid shroud. After painting — and fighting a clear-coat problem — I applied the decals. The tail stripes are oversized but can be trimmed to fit. The wheel-cover decals fit well, thanks to Roden’s design.
After painting came the rigging. I had to trim the slots in the upper fuselage decking to allow the cabane struts to fit vertically. There are no alignment aids, so be careful. I was disappointed that the lower fairing on the main plane struts do not mate with the wing — they basically touch at only one point. Adjustments of the top wing and bottom wing seemed in vain — I suspect that my top wing might be out of place, fore or aft of normal, since the lower wing can’t be made to adjust the angle of fit without drilling completely different attachment points into the fuselage. I used a combination of nylon monofilament with Bob’s Buckles turnbuckles and EZ-Line for rigging.
Whew! After 28 hours that seemed like much more, the Nieuport was finished. It looks good, but be prepared to do a lot of work to get there. Given the fit problems and the likely need to replace soft details, I can only recommend this kit to experienced builders.
A version of this review appeared in the May 2012 issue of FineScale Modeler.