Breguet Bre 14 A2 by AZ Model
Kit No. AZ 7204
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
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, and is one of the aircraft that helped establish the pre-eminence of French aircraft design from the time of the Great War up until mid- to late-1930's.
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)
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)
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)
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 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.
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.