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thierry laurent

Nieuport 17 tweak list

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Hi guys,


I took again the train for some hours and this gave me the opportunity to end another tweak list. This time this is for what is possibly the cheapest 1/32 kit ever released. So I hope this will be useful for a larger audience.


As usual, feel free to comment, amend or correct of required.








Nieuport 17 TWEAKS LIST



TYPE: Nieuport 17


SCALE: 1/32


COMPANY: Italeri




MOLD CREATION DATE: 1990 ?. The kit was initially released by Hobbycraft (1990's releases HC 1682, 1683, 1684 & 1686) and re-released by Academy (2190 & 12121 editions in 2000 & 2014) before entering into the Italeri 2015 catalogue.



TWEAKS LIST VERSION 1.0 (publication date: June 2017)


Compiled by Thierry Laurent


The following list is intended to help modelers in improving scale accuracy of an airplane model replica. In no way is it intended to support or be offensive towards a scale model company.
As such, it is only the result of a progressive process and is in no way intended to be absolute or even comprehensive. Hence, it is intended to focus on commonly admitted discrepancies and will probably not cover some errors. It is up to the modeler to decide whether correcting the listed issues is worth the time and money he will have to invest in the quest for accuracy process.

No aftermarket correction or detail set is mentioned in this document as the availability of such items may be very variable. Hence, refer to other LSP sections to find relevant information. Moreover, aftermarket sets do not necessarily correct all listed issues. Please refer accordingly to relevant documentation.








  • The Nieuport kit is made of two small sprues of light grey plastic and a very small clear sprue for the windshield. Some black thread is also included to reproduce the control and rigging wires.


  • Molding is generally clean in spite of the kit release old date.


  • Assembly is generally easy but many features of the plane are either missing or either oversimplified. Overall fit is acceptable with some specific exceptions.


  • General dimensions and shapes are accurate even if there are some specific errors here and there.


  • Fabric surfaces have no rib strip detail to simulate stitching detail.


  • Movable surfaces (ailerons & elevators) are not separate.


  • The Italeri edition has nice Cartograph decals depicting four different schemes: French, British, Italian and Russian.






  • The Levasseur propeller is asking for some shape improvements. The two most obvious problems are:


  • Each tip end should be less rounded. Sand them cautiously to get a straighter end.
  • The front profile close to the hub is incorrect. There is a kind of flat lozenge at the middle of the propeller that exists on the full-scale propeller but it is noticeably smaller in length. So, sand the side of each "blade" to decrease progressively the lozenge size on each side.
  • The hub part is not too bad but the circle molded on its center do not replicate correctly the axle part fixing (no hexagonal section under the round part).


  • The engine cowling is featureless and too thick. Strips should be added to simulate the screwed strips linking the edges of the cowling sections. Check closely the plane you want to reproduce as part of the batches had such strips on the top of the cowling while other ones had them on the sides. The rear edge of the cowling should also have a strip to fix it on the rear fuselage as well as notches at the level of the front landing gear legs.


  • The 110 Hp Le Rhone 9J engine is very basic (four parts) with thick cylinder blades, quite featureless ends and spark plugs, etc. Replacing it with an aftermarket option is highly recommended.


  • The oil tank plug is missing on the top of the engine cowling. This is not very visible but the tank is also missing behind the engine. If you want to add it, the easiest approach is to copy one from a Roden Nieuport 24/27.



FUSELAGE (from front to rear)



  • The belly under the nose has just a flat slope. Actually, the full-scale plane had a recessed area in the belly behind the engine. Cut the area and rebuild it with plastic card and strip. However, take care if you use a resin cockpit as this may create problem of parts interfering together.


  • This is not very obvious but at least the Nieuport 17 with the more powerful 130 Hp Clerget engine had an asymmetrical fuselage. There was a bulge close to the rear of the port side of the front fuselage (behind the maintenance panel). However, the kit has symmetrical sides.


  • The engine air breather tube end on the starboard side is not correctly located. It should be moved down.


  • The fuselage lacing is very badly done. It is far too flat and does not show the separation between the side and the upper fuselage parts. Sand it and rebuild it with a photoetched part or cut the zig-zag lacing into a mosquito net and add adhesive tape strips to reproduce the fabric in which the lacing is secured on the full-scale airframe. This really asks for cautious work as this very visible feature is one of the trademarks of such planes.


  • The fuel tank plug is missing close to the front fuselage end.


  • The Vickers machine gun is awful and would need a lot of work to look like the actual one. The easiest solution is to replace it with one of the excellent aftermarket options. However, take care to reproduce the correct French model with gun muzzle lower sheet protecting the fuselage from the blast, the protruding recoil arm on the MG front and the extended loading arm over the weapon (standard on early/mid Nieuports). The loading arm was actually fixed to the small starboard mast located on the right side of the windshield.


  • The two small "L" shaped screwed supports fixing the end of the machine gun on the fuselage are missing.


  • There was an oblong slot in the upper fuselage under the Vickers gun. This was intended to give room to the arm supporting the machine gun.


  • The box protecting the ammunition belt should protrude through the upper fuselage. This also asks for noticeable improvement as part 13 does not look the part. The shell evacuation channel (part 14) is full whereas, logically, it is empty on parked planes. So, it is recommended to saw/file/sand a channel in the part or to rebuild a hollow one.


  • The so called "cabane" masts (parts 4 & 22) are featureless whereas all of them should have reinforcing metal plates close to their ends. Add such features (an easy way is to copy the ones from a Roden Nieuport kit).


  • The kit has one windshield option. However, the situation was very variable on the full-scale planes. So, check how was equipped the plane you want to reproduce and if required scratchbuild or rob one from the spare box.


  • The leather cushion protecting the pilot on the edge of the front cockpit hole asks for careful sanding when the two fuselage sides will be joined. Another option asks for removing it beforehand and rebuilding it with epoxy putty after joining the fuselage halves. The round border created many small wrinkles in the surface. If you want to simulate this, use a thin jeweler file to reproduce the wrinkles but take care to get an irregular, “organic†look.


  • The shape of the cockpit rear opening in the fuselage sides is incorrect. Seen from the side, the headset extension ends at its base are protruding. Sand them to get a more rounded cockpit opening.


  • Enlarge the top of the positioning holes located behind the cockpit up to the tail in the starboard fuselage part 6 as otherwise the two cockpit halves do not join correctly.


  • The round holes used for the elevators control wires in the rear fuselage fabric should have a reinforcing circle-shaped strip along their edge. Add it with photoetched parts or copper wire.


  • The wood rear skid support is far too shallow. It should be nearly two millimeters deeper at its front. The easiest way to solve this is to cut the offending area from both fuselages sides, mate the two cut parts together, glue the assembly on a 2mm plastic strip and sand it to add depth to the front. Last the two plates fixing the skid support to the fuselage belly are missing. Scratchbuild them with thin plasticard or use photoetched parts.


  • The skid itself does not look like the actual one. Keep just the skid arm. Re-create the skid itself with a strip of left-over photoetched sprue and build the fixings with thin plasticard, section of fine rods and four Grandt line bolts.


  • The tail horizontal surfaces are represented by the single and quite featureless part 8. They asked for multiple improvements:


  • As generally the elevators went down on a parked plane, it is recommended to separate them to change their position.
  • Moreover, their hinges shall also be added (two per elevator).
  • The ribs are depicted by a molded line and do not look like the full-scale ones. Sanding them is an absolute necessity to get ribs looking more like a flat strip.
  • There should be a fabric reinforcing strip along the edge of the oval holes used by the control wires.
  • There are two ejection marks that must be filled with putty under the part.
  • Last, the elevators external ends are too pointy. Sand them in order to get a more rounded profile.


  • The rudder also suffers from the horrible ribs syndrome. Sand them to get a more accurate look.


  • This is not very visible but there should be small parts depicting the fixings of the rudder to the rear fuselage.







  • The wing ribs and riblets behind the wings leading edges are horrendous. They do not look like stitched ribs or protruding aluminum riblets and correcting this asks for a long and cautious sanding work on both sides of the upper and lower parts. Sanding up to the point a shallow strip is remaining is the best approach to get a reasonably accurate result. This will not replicate the stitches and should the modeler will to replicate them, decals or thick paint is surely the best way to go. However, the amount of effort is probably not up to the result that must stay very subtle.


  • The wings have small holes where turnbuckles should be fixed. However, the modeler is on his own to reproduce them.


  • Two ejection marks should be filled in under the wing center area.


  • The ailerons are molded with the upper wing part. However, they are not joined by the two prototypical hinges but by five fantasy "bridges". Moreover, the seam between the aileron side and the wing is too large. So, it is recommended to saw the parts, lengthen them and add the missing hinges linking each of them to the upper wing.


  • The parts 15 reproducing the linkages controlling the upper wing ailerons are far too simplified:


  • They should come through the upper fuselage whereas the parts are just glued to two rectangular recesses. Actually, the recessed rectangles should be changed into "bean"-shaped holes.
  • The vertical section of the arms should be lengthened to enter into the cockpit.
  • The upper side of the arm should actually be a hinge fixed with two screws.
  • The horizontal section of the arm should have three small holes.
  • The oval part should in fact be linked by a bar to the aileron (a short rod section should be added to simulate this bar).
  • The wing spar should go through the oval shaped section at the end of the oval part. Add an oblong section of strip to simulate the spar in each wing hole.


  • The tabs linking the lower wings to the fuselage do not look like the actual fixings. Actually, the wings spars were entering in the fuselage and fixed internally. So, to simulate this, it is recommended to fill the slot in each fuselage side, drill a hole at the wing spar level and remove the tab on each wing to replace it with a rod section intended to reproduce the spar.


  • The masts (parts 10 & 11) linking the upper and lower wings are too simplified. First, their side profile is not fully correct. Each of them is reproduced with a straight edge at the front and the rear whereas the rear one of the "V" had a more rounded profile. So, to correct this, it is recommended to add a thin strip of plastic on the front and rear edge of the rear mast and sand them progressively to get a better profile shape. Last, the part fixing the mast base to the spar is not depicted. This should be recreated with bits of plastic to reproduce that base and its bolts heads over the lower wing surface.


  • The kit also has a very basic Lewis gun with support parts (9 to 12). However, should you choose a scheme for which this MG is more relevant (such as a RFC/RNAS plane using a Lewis MG on a Foster support), it is rather recommended to rely on aftermarket and rebuild the correct model of Lewis support as there were different ones. Last, the kit does not give any spare ammo drum.






  • The "detailed" cockpit is in fact quite bare and inaccurate. Many elements are missing. So, either use a resin cockpit or be prepared to add/detail many elements:


  • The internal sides of the fuselage halves have a lot of injection marks that will be difficult to fill and sand without damaging the molded strengthening wires. It is easier to fill and sand everything and recreate the accurate features. By the way, the sides details are limited to a very basic throttle (part 7). Many small details are missing. Actually, the sides inside the metal covered front fuselage were made of diagonal wood planks and the two side panels visible on the external side should also be visible on the internal one as recessed "ovals". Last, the throttle mechanism support was thicker and the linkages with the engine should be added.
  • The seat does not look like the typical wood Nieuport type with the perforated back and it has no lap belts. Its supports are also inaccurate.
  • There is no bulkhead behind the seat where the frame was closed by a laced fabric piece.
  • The head cushion and its supporting part are missing.
  • All the control wires and moving parts control mechanism running on the floor are just depicted by far too simplistic control stick, foot rudder control bar and foot resting floor parts. This visible area deserves noticeable additions.
  • The kit has no flight instruments. The Nieuport had no instrument panel as such but some basic instrument bezels generally located close under the front edge of the cockpit: an altimeter and possibly a clock plus a fuel sight-glass. It also had a compass mounted on a pedestal on the floor (not really visible).
  • All the elements that are located between the engine bulkhead and the cockpit hole are missing and shall be added: the Vickers machine gun support arms and ammunition box are the most obvious ones. The fuel tank and engine air breathing tubing are not really visible but may be added as well.






  • The landing gear is quite fragile as the connections with the fuselage are very small.


  • The landing gear arms are too simplified. The reinforcing metal plates are missing at the end of the LG arms (parts 5 & 6). Moreover, the fixing that joins both legs (over the area where the bungee cords are added) shall not be in the same axis than the legs. It should protrude outside. This asks for some surgery to be corrected. Last, the bungee shock cords shall be added close to the wheel axis.


  • The wheels have horrendous features that do not look like the ones present on any known Nieuport wheel. Sand such circles and lines or replace the wheels with resin or plastic ones. Add one small section of thin sprue in the wheel hole to simulate the visible spoke.






  • The kit has no pitot tube but only some planes had one on the upper wing leading edge or on a wing mast.


  • The kit does not have the “cone de penetration†mainly used by French Nieuport 17 units.


  • Some early Nieuport 17 had a transparent panel replacing fabric of the central section of the upper wing.


  • Some Nieuport 17 used balloon-busting Le prieur rockets. The kit has none but they can be scratchbuilt or found in an A-Model or Special Hobby Nieuport 11/16 kit.


  • The instructions give a general view of the rigging and rigging points are drilled in the kit parts. However, the modeler is on his own to identify the various types of turnbuckles used to secure the rigging. This is a common problem in biplane kits.


  • The kit may be easily converted into a Nieuport 23. Actually, the British type 23 was generally not distinguishable from the Nieuport 17. Late batches had the 120 Hp Le Rhone 9Jb whereas the early ones kept the 110 Hp engine. Other types 23 had one other major difference: the Vickers machine gun was offset a little bit to the port side.


  • The upper wing of the kit may be used to change a Roden 24/27 kit into a type 17bis.






The following sources were used to build this list:


Modelling essentials:

  • Bruce, Nieuport Fighters, volume 1, Windsock Datafile Special, Albatros productions, 1993.
  • Bruce, Nieuport Fighters, volume 2, Windsock Datafile Special, Albatros productions, 1994.
  • Bruce, Nieuport 17, Windsock Datafile, n°20, Albatros productions, 1990.
  • Davis, O'Connor, Nieuports in RNAS, RFC and RAF service, Cross & Cockade International, 2007.

Other used references:

  • Bruce, Nieuport aircraft of World War One, Vintage Warbirds, n°10, Arms & Armour Press, 1988.
  • Guttman, Nieuport fighters of the Lafayette, Windsock Datafile Special, Albatros productions, 2006.
  • Kowalski, Nieuport 1-27, Famous Airplanes n°1, Kagero, 2003.
  • Longoni, Nieuport Macchi 11 & 17, Intergest, 1976.
  • Sanger, Nieuport aircraft of World War One, Crowood Press, 2002.
  • Varriale, Nieuport 24/27 at war, Windsock Datafile 167, Albatros productions, 2015.


  • some magazines articles (more particularly from Wingmasters 102 & 116)


  • some web pages (more particularly walkarounds of the Nieuport 23 restored in the Brussels Belgian army museum).

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This is an example of the best of LSP. Thank you very much for these points and for your patience and time to put this together.



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Guest Martinnfb

Thank You Thierry 

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