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Scratch built 1/32 scale
S.N.C.A.C. NC. 1070

by Frank Mitchell

S.N.C.A.C. NC. 1070


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Whatever else one might say about the French aircraft industry, it has to be conceded that in the period prior to and following WWII, it was among the most innovative in the world. While not all of the designs were commercially or militarily successful, they did explore new ideas and different ways of doing things. Unfortunately, many of the more original designs remain obscure, but for a modeler who likes to tackle unusual subjects, they are a rich source of ideas, and this aircraft is a typical example.



Since I assume that for most, this aircraft definitely falls into the category of “obscure”, a short history:

The S.N.C.A.C. NC. 1070 (hereinafter referred to as the “1070”) was designed as a carrier-based, light Naval attack/reconnaissance/antisubmarine/torpedo aircraft by the Societe Nationale de Construction Aeronautiques du Centre (SNCAC). It was 33.5 feet in length, and its wings, designed to have a double-folding arrangement, spanned nearly 66 feet. It was powered by two 1600 horsepower Gnome-Rhone radial engines which gave it a maximum speed of 360 mph. It was intended to have a crew of three, and an armament of four 20mm cannon, with either a single torpedo or 1800 pounds of bombs in an internal bomb bay. The first flight took place on 23 May, 1947, and although subsequent flights were quite successful, it was decided not to pursue any further propeller aircraft and to concentrate instead on jet powered equipment. Perhaps the most important contribution of the 1070 was that it led to the NC. 1071, which was essentially the same design carrying 2 Rolls-Royce Nene engines in two huge boom/nacelles. That was one of France’s first jet aircraft and was also the first French jet aircraft with a ejection seat.





As can be seen in the construction photos, this model was built pretty much in my standard way, but with a few modifications to adjust for its size (almost 25-inch wingspan) and its awkwardness; it was difficult to get to or paint some surfaces if other parts were assembled too soon. It was therefore built pretty much inside-out, with the outer wings being the last pieces to be attached.

The fuselage, horizontal tail, one vertical tail, and one boom (including the cowling) were carved from balsa, smoothed and prepped, then vacuum-formed, with two copies being made of the booms and the vertical tail surfaces. The booms and fins were then built up with formers, while the fuselage retained as much wood as possible for purposes of strength. An assembly board/jig was used throughout construction since there was no way that everything could be aligned properly without one.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


After fitting the fuselage skins to the balsa core, the cockpit portion was removed and used as a mold for the canopy. The entire nose and tail areas were also replaced so that when the actual clear areas were masked off, there would be no problems with visible seams. The landing gear were made from brass and aluminum tubing and the wheels were molded in resin from an RTV mold of a turned wooden master. The landing gear is also an example of one of the problems of building little-known prototype aircraft. Even if one can find information, the few pictures that are usually found will invariably show significant differences due to changes made during testing. In this case, most pictures show the main gear as having two major struts on each leg, but in a couple of the pictures, there is only one. Decisions have to be made.


The wing was formed in two halves since it was too long for my vacuum-forming machine. The wing skins were epoxied to the balsa core after the halves had been reassembled using a couple of short brass tubing spars. After the leading trailing edges were finished, the outer wings were cut from the center section. The flaps were cut away from the wings and center section and re-fitted to the trailing edges in the down position. The other control surfaces were also removed and replaced using brass wire.

The cowlings were cut from the booms and the lower intake scoops were formed over balsa molds. The cowl flaps were scribed and slits were cut between each small flap. Propeller blades were carved from balsa, covered with thin superglue, and sanded and primed. The blades were attached inside the spinners to a small roughly turned block of wood. The spinners themselves were molded from basswood patterns turned on a small lathe. A small jig was made to align the blades correctly. Exhausts were piece of aluminum tubing glued through holes in the boom.


A considerable amount of lead had to be added to the nose and both engines because of the short fuselage combined with the extensive tail surfaces. This thing is heavy.

Filling, sanding, and scribing were done throughout the build, since many areas would be hard to reach later, and it was only when as much was done as possible that the outer wings were attached.



Painting and Markings


The finish is Alclad II sprayed over the automotive lacquer primer that was used throughout. It was lightly polished with SNJ powder and panels applied using Gunze, Alclad, and even some Floquil paints.



The roundels came from the new 1/48th kit of the Loire 130, which saved me having to do roundels with anchors in them.

The small lettering on the tail was done on the computer and printed on decal film with a laser printer.





I have to admit that I was not terribly sad to finish this model; it was very awkward and just plain big, which, towards the end, made it a bit of a battle.

It certainly falls into a favorite area of mine (strange and obscure), but I don’t think I will do another one any time soon.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2007 by Frank Mitchell
Page Created 28 November, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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