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Copper State Models Nieuport XXI

Build review of the 1/32 scale aircraft kit with outstanding fits
Kit:No. CSM32-003 // Scale:1/32 // Price:$75
Copper State Models
Outstanding fit
Angle and attachment for air induction pipes
147 parts (130 injection-molded plastic; 6 die-cut acetate; 11 photo-etched metal)
Built in a bewildering array of model numbers predicated on engine type, power, and wing layout, Nieuport fighters of one type or another served throughout World War I. Many were used by air arms other than the French including the Russian Air Service, the subject of Copper State Models Nieuport XXI kit. Included are markings for four Russian Nieuports, one in camouflage and three in silver. Interestingly, two of the four are armed with Le Prieur rockets mounted to the interplane struts. A photo-etched metal (PE) fret provides seat belts, miscellaneous details, and metal panels to protect the wings from the rockets’ red glare.

Copper State kits feel a lot like Wingnut Wings kits with a wealth of information in the detailed instructions and moldings on par with the fabled New Zealand manufacturer as well. 

Detailed side frames and a firewall make the cockpit. An optional rear bulkhead fitted to some Nieuports is included, too. (I used it to make cockpit alignment easier.) The air induction tubes (parts A.11 and A.12) are tricky to align. It may seem odd, but they do end up at different angles as show in the instructions. I built my cockpit front to back instead of right to left as shown, because I felt alignment would be more accurate that way. All cockpit details fit well and the instructions share plenty of info about what the details are and how they should be painted.  

One error to note: The seat and control support (Part A.37) is shown installed backwards. Later diagrams show it correctly oriented. Since I was mounting the seat last, I trimmed the seat support for an easier fit. The PE seat belts seemed to have been pre-annealed based on their color and ease of bending to shape. I did not add the head rest until fitting the upper fuselage decking. 

The cockpit assembly fits snuggly on top of a spar on the lower wing center section. If you use the rear cockpit bulkhead, there is no need to use the internal turtledeck structure or tail skid supports when building the rear fuselage because they cannot be seen. I fitted the rear fuselage halves to the cockpit section prior to adding the upper decking. The lower wing join to the fuselage needed a touch of filler. Everything else fit perfectly. 

I added the wing protection covers after bending them over the wing’s leading edge, careful to clear the strut mounting points. The horizontal stabilizer went on at this point, too, but I left the rudder off to protect the fragile attachment points.

The upper wing comes in three pieces, plus separate ailerons and optional center sections for the different versions. Copper State provides die-cut clear acetate panels for the upper center section. While a perfect use for this material, I struggled to find an adhesive that was strong enough to keep the part attached on the airfoil, yet clear enough to allow the wooden framework to be seen. As with most biplanes, I finished the upper wing and set it aside for later installation. 

Struts and landing gear assemble easily, and the Le Prieur rockets appear to scale. The instructions detail painting these overgrown bottle rockets. The engine could be a model by itself and includes separate cylinder heads. Assembly was quick and easy, and the cowling push fit on the front of the firewall.

I primed my Nieuport and painted it using Alclad II high speed silver, which makes a good approximation of doped aluminum. The cowling and upper forward fuselage cover were painted in Alclad II aluminum to simulate metal areas. The kits splendid Cartograf decals laid down without any issues. Note the roundels intended for the horizontal stabilizer are handed even though they have the same numbers; the cutout for the rigging makes it obvious what goes where. If you install the support struts before decaling, you will need to slit the decals to go around the mounts.

Final assembly was trouble free, although some trimming of the rear cabane strut mount was needed for a better fit. I rigged my Nieuport with sewing thread for the control runs and EZ Line for the rigging.

I built my Nieuport XXI in just under 30 hours. Aside from my self-induced acetate adhesion issues, the kit was a joy to build with near perfect fit and wonderful detail. I can pay Copper State Models no higher compliment that saying this kit builds just like one from Wingnut Wings. Enjoy!

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