Breguet 14 A2: Prevue

 

Breguet Bre 14 A2 by AZ Model
1/72 scale
Kit No. AZ 7204
Cost: $28.00

Decals: Three versions by Tally Ho - Two for French Air Arm reconnaissance aircraft; one for Czech Air Force circa 1919.
Comments: Limited run kit, photo-etch details for cockpit and rear Scarff ring for Lewis guns

History
The Breguet 14 was a French biplane bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of World War I. It was built in very large numbers and production continued for many years after the end of the war. Apart from its widespread usage, it was noteworthy for becoming the first aircraft in mass production to use large amounts of metal rather than wood in its structure. This allowed the airframe to be lighter than a wooden airframe of the same strength, in turn making the aircraft very fast and agile for its size, able to outrun many of the fighters of the day. Its strong construction was able to sustain much damage, it was easy to handle and had good performance. The Breguet 14 is often considered one of the best aircraft of the war.


The aircraft was designed by Louis Breguet, who flew the first prototype (originally designated Breguet AV Type XIV) on its maiden flight on November 21, 1916. The design represented a return to conventional aircraft for Breguet, who had recently been designing pusher-type aircraft such as the Breguet BUM.  Later that month, the French Army's Section Technique de l' Aéronautique (S.T.Aé.) issued requirements for four different new aircraft types.  Breguet submitted his new design for two of those categories - reconnaissance aircraft, and bomber.


Following evaluation in February 1917, the Breguet 14 was accepted for both these roles, and in March, orders were placed for 150 reconnaissance aircraft and 100 bombers, designated Breguet 14 A.2 and 14 B.2 respectively (by 1918 written Breguet XIV A2/B2). The A.2 was equipped with a camera, with some carrying radios, while the lower wing of the 14 B.2 was modified slightly in order to accommodate bomb racks (built by Michelin).  Both variants featured automatic, bungee-cord operated aerodynamic flaps, but these were not fitted to production aircraft. A number of B2 models were equipped with the U.S.-built Liberty engine and were designated Breguet 14 B2 L.

Following successful deployment by the French, the type was also ordered by the Belgian Army (40 aircraft) and the United States Army Air Service (over 600 aircraft). Around half the Belgian and US aircraft were fitted with Fiat A.12 engines due to shortages of the original Renault 12F.  By the end of World War I, some 5,500 Breguet 14s had been produced.

 

The type continued to be widely used after the war, equipping the French occupation forces in Germany and being deployed to support French troops in the colonies. A special version was developed for the harsh conditions encountered overseas, designated 14 TOE (Théatres des Operations Extérieures). These saw service in putting down uprisings in Syria and Morocco, in Vietnam and in France's attempted intervention in the Russian Civil War. The last trainer examples were not withdrawn from French military service until 1932.

By the time it was retired, the Breguet 14 had served in the air forces of France, Belguim, Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Japan (where is was license-built by Nakajima), Siam, Poland, Spain and Uruguay.


Specifications (14 B.2)
Crew: Two
Length: 8.87 m (29 ft. 1 in.)
Wingspan: 14.36 m (47 ft .1 in.)
Height: 3.30 m (10 ft. 10 in.)
Empty weight: 1,010 kg (2,227 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 1,536 kg (3,386 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Renault 12Fe, 224 kW (300 hp)

Performance
Maximum speed: 175 km/h (95 kn, 109 mph)
Range: 900 km (486 nmi, 560 mi)
Service ceiling: 6,000 m (19,685 ft)
Rate of climb: 292 m/s (960 ft/min)
Wing loading: 32 kg/m² (at max. takeoff weight) (6.6 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 145 W/kg (at max. takeoff weight) (0.09 hp/lb)

Armament
Guns: One fixed 7.7 mm (.303 in) Vickers machine gun
Two flexible 7.7 mm (.303 in) Lewis Guns for observer
Bombs: 300 kg (660 lb)



The Kit
AZ Models' Breguet 14 A2 depicts a late World War I French reconnaisance aircraft.  Based on the instructions, the kit has been marketed in separate versions, namely the A2 reconnnaissance version and the B2 bomber version.  This kit is of the former, and while its instruction sheet includes references to options for different bomb loads, this kit being the A2 has none.  The kit is molded in grey and comes in a clear, resealable zip lock baggie on two sprues, with an unattached upper wing loose in the baggie.  There are 36 plastic parts, 32 photo-etched parts, 5 resin detail parts and a small sheet of transparencies, including those for the instrument panel and a small windscreen. There are only a few engraved panel lines, and the fuselage and wings have a very realistic stressed-skin-over-fabric effect.  There is a minor amount of flash on some parts, easily eliminated with an X-acto blade or sanding stick.


The instruction sheet has very little text but is well illustrated, providing excellent guidance on the placement of photo-etch parts as well as a basic paint guide.  Curiously, the parts are all numbered in the instructions, but there are no corresponding numbers on the sprues themselves.  Luckily, there are relatively few plastic parts to the kit, and the illustrations for the most part are good enough to ensure there is no confusion of one part for another.  There are photo-etch details for the cockpit, rear Lewis guns, and in fact the Scarff ring for the guns is made chiefly of PE parts.  The only drawback to the instructions is that the rigging diagrams are not step-by-step, but rather a single drawing for the respective A2 and B2 riggings.  The illustrations and diagrams both reference different gauges of wire (0.6mm, 0.4mm. and 0.2mm), and careful study will be needed to tell which wire is which, and what gauge it should be. 

 


The bottom of the side-opening box has three excellent profile and top view color illustrations, with an illustration of one-half of the undersurface of the wing for all three versions: two for the French Air Arm, and one for a post-war aircraft of the Czechoslovakian Air Force.  There is also a paint guide on the box bottom providing specific references for the Humbrol and Agama paint lines.  The decals are by Tally Ho and appear to be of excellent quality, thin, perfectly in register and with no evidence of color bleed. 

Conclusion  
A detailed kit of an important WWI reconnaissance and attack aircraft.  It is more affordable than its resin counterpart, CMK's 1/72 scale Breguet 14 B.2, by $10 - $12.00, and being mostly plastic, should provide for a simpler build.  Highly recommended.

Reference
www.wikipedia.org

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