Temens Morane-Saulnier I (1/72)

By: Matt Bittner mbittner@juno.com

The Temens Morane-Saulnier type I is $7.50 from Sopwith Hobbies. In my opinion, worth every penny and more.

First, I'll go through the kit parts. The fuselage comes split vertically, as most fuselage halves do. Laying each half on the drawings supplied in Datafile #58, each matches extremely close. The only discrepency is that each fuselage half is maybe 1mm too long. Not a problem. The fuselage appears to have "fabric texture", ala Revell and ESCI. Unfortunately, sanding this away may result in the loss of the wonderful longeron structure.

Laying the wings down, it appears that each half is again 1mm too long. I say "appears" because each wing is put into "cut outs" in each fuselage. This may mean that the 1mm too long could go away, once the wings are mounted. Otherwise, the dimensions are spot on.

As far as the tail surfaces go, this is the second biggest disappointment with the kit (I'll get to the first later). Granted, both the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces are relatively spot on, there are aspects missing from both. The horizontal tail surfaces are missing the scalloped trailing edge. It appears that once this is added, the parts will become too narrow. Not that it matters much, but there is also no rib representation. I wonder, though, if it could be seen in this scale.

The vertical tail is missing the rudder "break" line. Adding this is relatively simple, especially if you plan on re-positioning the rudder.

All struts (undercarriage only) aren't bad, although could use some thinning and enhancement.

Other small details include wheels (accurate according to the Datafile drawings); engine; gun halves (a front and back half, to make it easy "inserting" it into the top "pylon"); tail skid and supports; spinner and propeller halves; cowling; and decals.

The largest disappointment is the lack of *any* cockpit parts. The only thing Temens includes is a separate headrest. There is no seat, no floor, and nothing else. Granted, for most of us on the list it's not a big deal, but for newer people, it could be.

Items I plan on replacing: the gun (it's a little "soft" on detail); the engine (not bad, but there's not enough - and I like the Roseplane one better); and lastly, the decals. Only one word can describe the decals: Blech!! Throw away and find others. Unfortunately, the decals are for a Russian machine with the skull and crossbones on the tail.

In all honestly, if I was to recommend a kit for the WW1 beginner, I would recommend this one, hands down. If you're not pedantic about the "fabric weave", then there is nothing on this kit that technically needs re-done. Sure, the decals are terrible, but one can get by if one has to. And most beginners I know don't care about cockpit details. Add a peg to the side, stick a pilot in, and you'll never know.

I would also highly recommend this to anyone who likes the French Moranes, or anybody who likes French a/c in general. This kit is *far* better than the Revell type N.

I need to buy another one. The cover of Datafile #58 has a wonderful painting of a Russian machine on skis. I'll need another to build a French version, as well.


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