This 1/72 kit of a French Nieuport II is rather unusual. It is made entirely of paper, or more correctly card! The kit builds in to a skeleton model showing all the frames and bulkheads of the Nieuport. Similar to the kits put out by Eduard's in photo etched brass. Although some of the framing is simplified and over scaled in places, it builds into a very good representation of the Nieuport. The kit is manufactured by a firm called "Big Joe Brand Models" and comes sealed in a plastic sleeve with all 180+ parts laser cut on a 4 5/8 in. x 7 7/8 in. sheet of card stock. The parts are cut very precisely as expected and match very well with the drawings in the Nieuport Fighters Vol. 1, Windsock Datafile produced by Albatros Publications. Besides the card stock, the kit includes six pages of very detailed instructions with many photos. Follow these to the letter and you should have no problem assembling what turns into a very beautiful and unique model.
Normally card models are printed in an appropriate color scheme and no additional coloring is necessary. This is not the case with "Big Joe's" kit. The card sheet is printed in it's natural vanilla coloring. Now this is not really an issue, for the kit looks fine in this option but I choose to color my model with some permanent color markers. Most pieces were colored with a brown. The cowling, engine and seat were given a coating of silver. The silver looks pretty good but I must say that the brown turned out a little darker than I'd wished.
The only tools necessary for assembly are tweezers, x-acto knife with plenty of blades, white glue, toothpicks and a small machinist block to help in aligning the bulkheads and ribs. Assembly is fairly straight foreword but care must be taken because of the delicate nature of the paper media and the rather small size of most pieces.
I first started with the seat, control sticks, pedals and flooring. This was pretty straight foreword. While they were drying I started the fuselage. As with most of the assembly the fuselage frame is built while still on the card stock. Half bulkheads are glued in place and longitudinal stringers added. Once the first half is completed the fuselage is removed from the card and the matching bulkheads are added along with the remaining stringers.
Next the two wings are assembled. Basically the same process is followed with the ribs being glued to the frame while still on the card. This takes a little time but the results are very good.
Following the wing assemblies they are attached to the fuselage along with the wheel struts and tail stabilizer. Finally the engine and cowling are glued to the fuselage. The engine is a project in its self. It has no less than 83 pieces and takes some time and patience to get it to sit correctly in the cowling. The propeller adds the final tough. You have to twist it slightly to give it the proper effect.
All and all a very accurate and attractive looking model. "Big Joe" has done an excellent job in producing a paper replica of the Nieuport II. With the laser cutting of the card and detailed instructions, trouble free assemble is almost guaranteed. I look foreword to seeing other kits in this line. Highly Recommended for moderate experienced modelers.
Available from:Monroe Perdu Studios