Kit No. 102
Decals: Two versions – both Armee de l’Air
Comments: Raised panel lines; 1930’s fighter, precursor to the Dewoitine D.520
The Dewoitine D.510 was the technical successor of the D.500 and D.501, entering service in October 1936. The fin area of the D.510 was increased, the undercarriage reinforced, and the engine replaced by an engine with a center-mounted cannon which provided 860 cv at 3,100 meters and drove a three-bladed metal propeller. The weapons were the same as those of the D.501, one axial HS 59 20mm cannon and two 7.5mm MAC 34 machine guns in pods under the wings.
120 D. 510’s were produced in 1938, including 24 for China, 2 for Japan, 1 for the U.S.S.R., 1 for Great Britain; 2 more were sent to the Spanish Republic but there is no record of either having served in combat. An interim fighter of the inter-war years, the D.510 at the outbreak of war in September 1939 had been largely relegated to training squadrons, having been replaced in front-line service by the more modern Morane Saulnier MS 406. 66 D.510’s remained in service with the French Armee de l’Air in the fall of 1939, 20 of them based in North Africa with two Escadrilles Régionale de Chasse (Regional Fighter Squadrons). The remaining 46 aircraft were divided between three Groupes de Chasse (Fighter Groups) of the Armee de l’Air, and two naval air squadrons.
Released by Heller in 1978, the Dewoitine D.510 is molded in grey and consists of 44 parts. Although it’s an old kit, there is are a seat, control column and instrument panel with molded detail provided for the cockpit. Decals are provided for two versions, one in natural metal and the other for a camouflaged version of khaki, pearl grey and Army green — although the instructions are in English as well as French, the details the units to which these aircraft were deployed are in French only.
The D.510 design is interesting in that it has fixed landing gear and spats at a time when they were being phased out by some of the world’s major air forces, namely Germany and the United States with the introduction of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Curtiss P-36, respectively. This is noteworthly only because at least through World War I, France was the leader in world aviation.