Lafayette Escadrille
by Dave Calhoun

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Raoul Lufbery 120mm Figure

Kit: Model Cellar (1:120mm)

Forced perspective of Lafayette Escadrille - Lufbery is from 120mm Model Cellar kit painted in acrylics & oils for face. Planes are Nungesser's N.17 from Eduard Profipack kit, and N.11 form SMER kit painted as Lufbery's.

Nungesser's Nieuport 17

Kit: Eduard (1:48)

Here is my latest model - Nungesser's Nieuport 17 N.1490 as flown with the Lafayette Escadrille N.124 in 1916. This uses the recent information on Nieuport color schemes from Alan Toulle, most noticeably that the underside was light blue instead of aluminum, and the edges of wings and tail had medium blue tapes applied, as well as the undercarriage and cabine struts. It is the Eduard profipack kit almost out of box, I used an Aeroclub white metal LeRhone engine and Lewis gun. Decals were from Americal Gryphon for insignia and rudder, kit stencils and black heart with skull detailed with grey oil paint. Rigging was .006 ceramic wonder wire with stretched Q-tips for turnbuckles.


I started with a shadow box from the local craft store, and built two 1/48 scale "half planes" from the low priced and low detailed Testors Nieuport 17 and Spad XIII. I shortened the wings to fit in the shadow box (it is meant to be viewed straight on from the side) and modified the Spad to more closely resemble a Spad VII. I added a pilot figure sliced in half to each plane, and used Americal Gryphon decals for two of the aircraft flown by Lufbery. The figure of Lufbery, Whiskey and Soda (the lion cubs) was made by Model Cellar and is 120mm. I cut the back edge of the base to fit inside the box. I used wire to attach the base and both aircraft to the box by drilling holes through the back and tying the wire from outside the back. I mounted an actual Croix de Guerre with 3 palms and replica French pilots wings along with a small plaque telling Lufbery's history printed onto a piece of photo paper to finish the display.

Nieuport 17

Kit: Black Knight (1:48)

Here are photos of my 1/24 scale Nieuport 17 from the Black Knight vacuform kit. I built it for the Lafayette Escadrille exhibit for the New England Air Museum in markings of Raoul Lufbery's N.1844. The interior was made up of evergreen styrene strips, rods and bits. Wire was added for all controls and gauges. The kit seat was used with a cushion made from Milliput putty with buttons from brass tubing of the proper size. Gauges were photocopied to proper size from photos in a book. The engine included in the kit was an 80hp LeRhone, I had to convert it to a 110hp by adding intake tubes to the rear of the engine as well as all nuts & bolts. Spark plugs & wire were also added, the entire assembly was mounted to a brass tube that was put into the next size tubing superglued into the fuselage. A Marty Digmayer prop was added with resin bolts & Copperstate mounting plates.

The fuselage was assembled and all seams were filled. The tail was scratchbuilt from Evergreen .040 styrene sheet since I was unable to sand the kit pieces thin enough without sanding through them. The upper wing has a scratchbuilt center section to represent the cellon panels. For the lower side I used a piece of cellophane from SuperScale decal package, and filled in between the ribs with Micro clear, several weeks to allow it to dry (many thin layers). The upper wing Lewis gun has a scratchbuilt mount, brass tubing barrels and Milliput cooling radiators. Brass rod made up the mounting brackets.

The black decals for serial # & stencils were made by photocopying the 1/48 scale set in Eduard's kit enlarged to the proper size and came out really well. Roundels were made up in 3 pieces - white, French blue & dark red painted onto white decal paper and cut out with a compass. The rudder was painted with the same color paints. The Indian head (Seminole) was scanned from a book and printed out on thin white paper, cut out and attached with Elmer's glue. Testors non-buffing aluminum metallizer was used overall, decals were applied and about 10 coats of metallizer sealer blended in all markings and gave a glossy finish.

Raoul Lufbery's Nieuport 21

Kit: Testors (1:48)

Here is a 1/48 scale model of Raoul Lufbery's Nieuport 21 from 1916. This is a conversion of the old Testors/Hawk Nieuport 17. I scratchbuilt the center section of the upper wing & used clear Scotch tape for the cellon panel. The interior is from the Tom's Modelworks French detail set. The engine, prop and Lewis gun are metal parts from Aeroclub. The cowl is a resin Roseparts one. Decals are from Americal Gryphon's N.124 late model Nieuport sheet. Over the years the upper gun support was broken off, I still have to add them back on. Built around 1990, still looks good next to the newer Eduard Nieuports!

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