Aurora’s 1/48 Scale Breguet 14 With Kit Release History

January 17, 2011 – 12:24 pm

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Written by Fred Boucher (courtesy of Aeroscale)

Kit History by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

The Aircraft

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Breguet 14

Built by The Société des Ateliers d’Aviation Louis Breguet, also known as Breguet Aviation, the Breguet 14 (often spelled as the Breguet XIV) is considered one of the most important French warplanes of WW1. Designed for reconnaissance and bombing roles, it was known for toughness and performance, thanks to Breguet Aviation internal structure of duralumin and steel, with a wood and fabric external construction. Powered by a Renault 12Fe water-cooled inline engine rated at 224 kW (300 hp), the Breguet 14 was fast (121 mph) and fairly maneuverable. It usually packed a fixed Vickers 7.7mm machine gun firing ahead, and single or twin 7.7mm Lewis Guns mounted on a scarf ring for the observer.

The Aéronautique Militaire used them from late 1916 thruogh the Armistice and into the early 1930’s! France sold and provided her allies with the type, with the American Expeditionary Force fielding sixteen squadrons of Bre.14’s. Some two dozen other countries used the Bre.14, and Nakajima of Japan produced a license-built version. The Bre.14 was large, with a wingspan of over 49 feet.

Kit History

In 1956 Aurora began a series of WWI aircraft kits in 1/48 scale. They were best sellers, and Aurora continuously expanded the line up to the final two releases in 1963/64 - the Breguet 14 and Albatros C-III. The Aurora Breguet is impressive with its utilitarian, boxy, all-business aesthetics. Released originally as kit No. 141-98, the Breguet 14 came with a lithographed slick glued to the folded-frame box top - the ‘hardbox’ that was popular during this period. The famous aviation artist Jo Kotula did the box artwork.

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Original issue still sealed Aurora Breguet 14 dated 1963

As prices rose, Aurora changed the price suffix on the kit number but everything else about the kit stayed the same. The next issue was 141-100 and it retained the same ‘hardbox’ style, artwork and logo. The third and final issue with this artwork and box was 141. Retailers had been putting pressure on the model companies to drop the ’suggested price’ suffix from the part numbers and Aurora finally agreed. Since the kit sports the same artwork, the copyright date on the box is still 1963. Kits numbered 141 actually date from the later 1960s, and 141-100 from the mid 1960s.

In the early 1970s, Aurora attempted to make it’s existing models more accurate. The molds were cleaned up, raised decal lines were eliminated, details revised and sometimes fabric texture was added. The Breguet received this overhaul as did all of the WWI series. In this ’square box’ series, Aurora also included the very popular vacuform diorama display base. Jo Kotula artwork was replaced by that of John Amendola.

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Second release 1141-260 Aurora Breguet 14 circa 1970

Very near this time Aurora issued this kit in the USA from it’s subsidiary, K&B. In 1973, Aurora/K&B Canada issued the model in their ‘Collectors Series,’ as kit number 1141. Both of these issues shared the ’square box’, display base and Amendola artwork.

The Model

This stocky Breguet 14 contains 37 parts molded in tan and black. This includes two ground crewmen, but curiously no flightcrew.

The molding is improved over earlier Aurora releases. I found no sinkholes nor flash, though ejector marks and seam lines abound. And the unfortunate raised areas for the decals…guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Parts layout for an early issue Aurora Breguet 14 (click on any photo to enlarge)

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Parts layout for an early issue Aurora Breguet 14 (click on any photo to enlarge)

Many parts are over scale. There is no interior detail other than the seat, stick, and instrument panel. The machine guns show a noble effort by the mold maker, but they are still toy-like by today’s standards.

Details

Much of the detail is soft and simplified. Almost all of the control surface horns are molded on, and out of scale. The checker pattern below the rear gunner cockpit should be open for windows.

Neither the fuselage nor wings were textured to simulate fabric. The wingspan is over one foot, and a fuselage of 7.25 inches.

Painting, Decals and Instructions

The instructions are simple and nicely illustrated. It includes a photograph of the completed model. Aurora did not supply any rigging diagram.

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Instructions for an early issue Aurora Breguet 14 (click on any photo to enlarge)

Painting instructions are basic. French standard G-4 camouflage was four or five colors in various patterns and makes for an attractive finish. Aurora’s own brand of glue and paints is the only products referenced.

The decals are over 40 years old and slightly yellowed. Markings for a single American Expeditionary Force aircraft are provided, Bre.14 B2 No. 4348, 96th Aero Squadron, aircraft No. 8.

Conclusion
Another great trip down memory lane. Even today this kit is sought for building and collecting. Some collectors enjoy building the kit as they did in the 1960s - straight from the box. But those who wish to build it to current standards, it is ripe for detailing. There are several aftermarket Vickers and Lewis guns available, as are seats, struts, and wheels. You can make an excellent model from it, as evidenced by the many examples online.

I only know of two other 1/48 Breguet 14s, one a multi-media by Hi-Tech, and the other a vacuform.

Highs
No sinkholes nor flash mar this model.

Lows
Much of the detail is soft and simplified, ejector marks and seam lines abound, and there are those unfortunate raised areas for the decals. Only basic interior detail occupies the yawning cockpit openings, the machine guns are toy-like by today’s standards.

Verdict
Boxstock or super-detailed, this Breguet 14 can be an eye catcher.

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