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First Look Review
148
Spad XIII American Eagles
Spad XIII American Eagles Dual Combo
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by: Jean-Luc Formery [ TEDMAMERE ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

Introduction
A detailed review of the original Eduard 1/48 Spad XIII kit made by Stephen Lawson (Jackflash) can be found here. The first release was followed by a "Weekend Edition" boxing which included only one of the four marking options of the first kit and no photoetched parts and no masks. Both kits are still available. This "Dual Combo" is the third boxing of the Spad kit and the first to include American markings.

The Dual Combo box
Eduard's new Spad XIII is packed within a rather small top opening cardboard box full packed with various items: plastic sprues, photoetched sheets, masks, decals, instructions, resin figures and other goodies. The first impression is that you get something for your money here. In fact the kit looks more like a "mini Royal Class box" than a Dual Combo. Below is a complete list of the content of the box:
- 2 full kits of the Spad XIII (6 olive green plastic sprues, 2 clear plastic sprues, 2 photoetched frets, 1 sheet of masks and 1 decal sheet)
- 1 instruction booklet in color.
- 2 resin figures representing the American pilots Edward V. Rickenbacker and Frank Luke.
- 2 A5 portraits of the above mentioned pilots
- 1 small "Hat in the Ring" pin

The plastic parts
The plastic parts of the kit are located within two seperate bags to prevent some damage. The clear parts even have their own to avoid scratchings. I must say that I was really impressed when I saw the Spad XIII sprues for the first time. Eduard are now well known for their WWII kits in 1/48 scale but sometimes we seem to forget that the Czech manufacturer has even more experience with WWI subjects. The rendering of the surface of the kit is simply fantastic! If only all the manufacturers would do such subtle work. It's really a pleasure to look at. Great work Eduard!
The overall level of details is also very good and one could build a very nice model only with the plastic parts provided. Some parts are very small and delicat though, so care will be needed when removing them from the sprues.
As Stephen Lawson mentioned in his review, there is no representation of the Hispano-Suiza HS 8Be as such in the kit. so if you want to do an aircraft wich wasn't fitted with the side mounted access panels, you may need to find one in resin to fill the empty space. If you use the PE grills or the plastic panels, this won't be necessary as little or nothing will be visible in the end. In the Dual Combo box, option A and D represent two aircraft fitted with the panels, option B an aircraft fitted with grills and option C and aircraft without anything.
The radiator shutters are the only plastic parts I would complain about. They look not too bad but a little thick for the scale. I must admit that it must be difficult to make them finer in injected plastic though.
The clear parts are nice and represent three different types of windscreens.

The photoetched parts
As I've said above, with the plastic parts provided in the kit, it is possible to make a detailed model of the Spad XIII already. However, Eduard have included two photoetched frets which are identical to the one provided in the original release. The PE parts are also very nice and will improve the cockpit of the model (seatbelts, instruments, levers, map case with map, etc...) but also other areas of the aircraft (gunsight, fuselage straps and side mounted access grills). The metal parts are very nice as well expect for the map which should be replaced by fine paper for more realism.
There are two pair of grills provided in the Dual Combo box, but only one pair can be used with the markings provided. This means that you will have one left as spare. It is too bad eduard didn't thought of providing the radiator shutters as PE parts as they would have had the right scale thickness.

Marking and decals
Four marking options are included in the Dual Combo kit:
- Edward V. Rickenbacker, 94th Aero Squadron - Summer, 1918
- Frank Luke, 27th Aero Squadron - September, 1918
- Gorman de Freest Larner, 103rd Aero Squadron - Fall, 1918
- Jacques M. Swaab, 22nd Aero Squadron - Fall, 1918
The four marking option are all very colorful, as you would expect from a WWI subject. In fact, the main problem will be to choose which aircraft to do! Colors are given for the Gunze ranges of paint (Aqueous and Mr.Color). Full color marking guides are present in the instructions unless in the previous Spad kits.
The decal sheet is very good. the colors have a good density and everything is well printed and in perfect register. It seems that the decals of the first boxing were produced by a Czech company and that they weren't very good. This time Eduard asked Cartograf to do the decals which is a good thing.

Instructions
The instructions are printed in a 12 page booklet in A4 format. They are printed in B&W for the construction steps and in color for the painting and decalling guides. The building sequence unusually starts with the figures, then the cockpit, the fuselage, the wings and the undercarriage. A rigging diagram is provided but I think it is not very clear. I suggest you to search for some reference photos.
An excellent build article was published in issue n70 of Wing Masters France by Bruno Pautigny a couple of months ago. It seems that the kit is indeed very nice but unfortunately not easy to build. The author had to enlarge the fuselage (parts B1 and B3) with some plasticard so the upper part C17 and under part C8 would fit without producing small steps on the sides. Mr. Pautigny also wrote that fitting the upper wing was not easy, not to mention the rigging. But for the latter, one can't blame Eduard!

Bonuses
Apart from the two very nice kits of the Spad XIII, the Dual Combo box also offers some goodies. Firstly, two resin figures are provided, representing Edward V. Rickenbacker and Frank Luke. The casting of these figures is excellent but there is one "big" problem with them: they are very tall! 4,1 and 3,9 cm respectively, this makes 1,97 m for Rickenbacker and 1,87 m for Luke. Judging from photos, I don't think they were that tall... but I could be wrong. However, when placed aside the model, I don't think someone will notice unless you plan to add other figures.
Two A5 size portraits of the Aces are included as well and are nice additions if you plan to do a small presentation. The last bonus is more a "gimmick". It's a small pin of the "Hat in the Ring" emblem. I'm not sure how it could be used from a modeler point of view. The small sheet of masks is probably more useful in that regard.

Conclusion
Apart for some details, which I consider to be nitpicks more than anything else, I think Eduards Spad XIII Dual Combo box is a great package. The kit is simply superb and the added bonuses are worth the extra money. I would recommend the kit to experienced modelers though, given the subject: a WWI biplane with lots of rigging!

Eduard's Spad XIII Dual Combo kit is available from Eduard

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here on AeroScale.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent plastic parts - colorful marking options - two resin pilot figures
Lows: Only nitpicks (see review)
Verdict: Excellent package with plenty of bonuses. Recommended to experienced modelers because of the subject: a WWI biplane with many struts and a rather complex rigging configuration.
Percentage Rating
93%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 1142
  Suggested Retail: $ 74.95
  Related Link: Spad XIII Dual Combo
  PUBLISHED: Jun 27, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.63%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.44%

Our Thanks to Eduard!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)
FROM: MOSELLE, FRANCE

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.

Copyright 2019 text by Jean-Luc Formery [ TEDMAMERE ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Excellent Jean - Luc! You truely covered the kit details well. The concern you expressed about the heightsrof the resin figures is reasonably valid. The Luke figure was their bigest headache as it was done from a photo of him standing next to the crash site of one of his victories. Capt. Eddie was done from a photo of him standing with his foot on the wheel of his Spad. He used this image to send to friends and research fiends with his signature. If they got that one right it should be in proportion with the Spad. Most of the American Spad XIII types originated from contracts with Kellner and Bleriot. Just a quick reminder that we covered these patterns here at Aeroscale on the French Multi Coloured Camo thread. We have to chime in a thanks to Eduard that they did not skimp on the decals. From the look of it you should be able to do two completed builds. My biggest complaint is the proportions of the AEF Cockades for the Bleriot profile should be in a slightly different proportion. But as our good man Jean-Luc has pointed out these are small concerns. The "Hat-n-the-Ring" pin would be a great add on to any nameplate you put down for the kit.
JUN 27, 2009 - 09:08 AM
   

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