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Morane-Saulnier Type L
Pfalz A.I/A.II/E.III

AZ Model, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

AZ Model:
AZ 7281 Morane-Saulnier Type L.,
AZ 7279 Pfalz A.I.,
AZ 7280 Pfalz A.II/E.III.

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media

45 parts cast from grey styrene; decals for three subjects (four options and one resin part for AZ 7281 Morane-Saulnier Type L).

Price:

Available online from Hannants for £13.90

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

A simple kit of a rare but significant World War One type. This kit has all the potential to make a fine model.

Disadvantages:

A little bit rough around the edges requiring some careful clean up and extra detailing. Flying surfaces are a little over scale in thickness.

Conclusions:

This kit is a little rough around the edges and will require some careful clean up and some extra detailing. With this and the assistance of some of the references suggested a fine model will result.

 

Reviewed by Peter Mitchell


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

 

Background

 

For a simple and not particularly great aircraft designed in 1913, the Morane-Saulnier Type L parasol monoplane achieved some significant firsts in the history of military aviation. In April 1915, it was this type fitted with deflector plates on the propeller that Roland Garros used with considerable effect to fire an unsynchronised machine gun through the rotating propeller arc. Thus, the fighter plane was born. It was Garos’s success and the subsequent capture of his Type L after he was shot down by ground fire that sparked interest among German authorities in the potential of such an application of aircraft. This ultimately led to the development of reliable synchronisation gear by Anthony Fokker (the true inventor is a subject of some contention) and the “Fokker Scourge” for the Allies.

Meanwhile the Type L had also entered service with the RFC and RNAS and it was with M-S 3253 that Flt. Sub-Lt. R.Warneford of No.1 Wing RNAS destroyed Zeppelin LZ37 over Ghent on the night of 7th June 1915. This was the first zeppelin to be brought down by an aircraft and Warneford became the first airman to receive the VC.

The design was also license built by Pfalz in Germany were it became the basis for the Pfalz AI-AII observation aircraft and the Pfalz EIII fighter. It was with the Pflaz AI that the Bavarian unit Abteilung 9b undertook clandestine bombing operations against Italian forces on behalf of the Austo-Hungarians in July 1915 (Germany and Italy did not declare war until August 1915). This involved flying these bomb laden aircraft over the Austrian Alps.... no mean feat.

Production of the design was also undertaken in Russia, where the type was used as an observation aircraft and later as a trainer.

 

 

FirstLook

 

It is perhaps not surprising that such an obscure aircraft has not been previously kitted by anything approaching a mainstream manufacturer in this scale. Eduard did a decent kit in 1/48 as one of their first kits in the 1990’s, and I think there has perhaps been a resin kit in 1/72. However, for most people, if you wanted to make a 1/72 model of the Type L your options were limited to either by doing a nifty conversion of the Revell Fokker EIII, as per Ray Rimells article in Scale Models November 1975; or resort to the uninspiring Airframe vac-form kit as I once did as a rather enthusiastic novice modeller of fourteen years of age. This last option is a very basic kit and at the time I was still developing my skills, consequently I wrecked it and the model was never built. It was my first and, to this day, only attempt at a vac form. I still have the remaining bits somewhere, I was considering using them in conjunction with the conversion described by Ray, but now I don’t have to!

AZ has done most of the hard work for me.

The model comes in three different versions; the Morane-Saulnier Type L, Pfalz AI and Pfalz AII/EIII.

 

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Each kit comes packaged in a side opening box with attractive box art and colour diagrams for all the marking options on the rear panel of the box. The parts come on a single sprue that is common to all versions and this is bagged along with the decals in a sealed plastic bag.

The parts themselves are a bit of a mixed lot, AZ models tend to be of a short run nature and the parts reflect this. There is a bit of flash, the more delicate parts lack finesse and there isn’t much in the way of locating points.

The wing comes as a single piece and while this is a little over scale in thickness it can be cleaned up with a light sanding.

Detail wise AZ have made a good attempt at providing external features and some internal detail, the inside of the fuselage halves has some rib detail, a floor is provided along with stick, rudder bar, two seats and an instrument panel, the later looks suspiciously like the moulding provided in the Roden Sopwith Camel kits. Unfortunately these items are largely fictitious; For instance, the Type L did not have an instrument panel, simply a fuel tank in front of the pilot and a few instruments clamped here and there. The modeller would therefore do well to use what is provided as a basis and create their own interior. The Windsock Datafile 16 and/or access to the 1/48 Eduard kit will prove invaluable for this.

Depending on the version being modelled, alternative parts are provided. There are two types of propellers and two types of rotary engine: a seven or a nine cylinder. The engines are probably the worst part of the kit, they are not well moulded and will require some careful clean up or better still a replacement. Two sets of rudder and tailplane and both the wide or short track undercarriage are also included. The fuselage is moulded with a single cockpit aperture, appropriate for the Pfalz AII/EIII. To model the Type L or Pfalz AI this needs to be enlarged. A Spandau machine gun is also provided for the Pfalz EIII option, this piece also looks suspiciously like it has its origins in a Roden moulding.

The Type L kit also features a resin Hotchkiss machine gun.

Accuracy wise the kit compares well to plans published in the Datafile.

The kit instructions are provided on a folded A4 sheet and feature a map of the parts and also detail the various alternative parts to use for each version. A rigging diagram is also included, as is a basic colour chart; although no specific paint shades are stated.

The decals are well printed, glossy and have good colour register and density. The carrier film is a little thick and may need trimming.

Each kit comes with three or more versions:

Morane-Saulnier Type L

  • Morane-Saulnier Type L No. 1 Sqn. Royal Naval Air Service, 3253. Dunkerque, June, 1915. As flown by Flt. Sub-Lt. R. A. J. Warneford.

    Warneford’s Type L also featured a rack for five bombs mounted on the undercarriage and a very prominent bomb release quadrant outside the front cockpit on the starboard side. See Datafile 16 for details

  • Morane-Saulnier Type L MS275, As flown by Roland Garros. Dunkerque, April, 1915.

    It is worth noting that is machine is an early Type L with the wide under carriage and slightly shorter nose. Modellers wishing to do this version will need to effect a simple conversion of this area for strict accuracy. See Datafile 16 for details. The prop should also feature deflection plates.

  • Morane-Saulnier Type L MS356, Unknown French (training?) unit.
  • Morane-Saulnier Type L Brazilian army (complete with lime green/yellow/black roundels)

Pfalz AI.

  • Pfalz AI Unknown unit, German Imperial Army, 1915.
  • Pfalz AI, P.40, As flown by Ltn. Märtz and Ltn. Wissel. F.Fl.Abt. 9b, Tolbach Aerodrome, Alpine Front, July, 1915. Painted in Austrian colours

    This Pfalz AI also featured a box on either side of the fuselage that was used for carrying bombs.

  • Pfalz AI Unknown unit, Turkish Imperial Army, 1916.

Pfalz AII/EIII.

  • Pfalz AII Unknown unit, German Imperial Army, 1915.
  • Pfalz AII Unknown unit, German Imperial Army, 1915.
  • Pfalz AII Unknown unit, Swiss Army, 1914.

 

Conclusion

 

This kit is a little rough around the edges and will require some careful clean up and some extra detailing. With this and the assistance of some of the references suggested a fine model will result.

References

  • Windsock Datafile 16: Morane-Saulnier Type L by J.M.Bruce
  • Windsock Datafile 59: Pfalz EI-EVI by P.M.Groz
  • Scale Models November 1975 p558-561: Ray Rimell describes how to convert the  1/72 Fokker EIII into a Morane-Saulnier Type L

iv) “Bayerische Flieger im Hochgebirge” Reinhard Kastner: An excellent publication in German and English detailing the exploits of Abteilung 9b flying Pfalz AI types over the Italian front June/July 1915.
v) Pfalz “First detailed history of fighter maker and its famous planes” by P.M.Groz and E. Kruger. Air Progress Aril/May 1964 p9-25.

Purchased by reviewer


Review Text Copyright 2009 by Peter Mitchell
Page Created 16 September, 2009
Last updated 16 September, 2009

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