Copper State Modelsí Caudrons arrive in very solid white flip-top corrugated cardboard boxes with an attractive outer tops that slip over them. The system works well, because the plain box is stronger than those used by most manufacturers and also serves as a handy tray for the parts while youíre working, and the eye-catching outer sleeves will ensure the kits stand out on the shelves in a LHS.
The Caudron is initially available in two boxings - the Item #K1027 - G.IV Late Version
and Item #K1028 - G.IV Hydravion
The presentation is very good, with each of the sprues and the accessories all bagged separately for protection, and a nice little boutique
touch is the inclusion of a handy credit card sized 2017 calendar.
The G.IV Late Version comprises:
117 x grey styrene parts
119 x etched metal parts
A sheet of printed clear film
Decals for 4 x colour schemes
Meanwhile, the G.IV Hydravion differs in comprising:
155 x grey styrene parts
101 x etched metal parts
A sheet of printed clear film
Decals including serial numbers for 3 x aircraft from the same unit.
The moulding on both kits is excellent throughout, with no signs of flash or sink marks, and as they share so much in common Iíll discuss them as one except for the obvious points where they differ. Copper Stateís Caudron has all the hallmarks of a modern mainstream kit produced to the highest standards. Ejector pins have been kept to a minimum. There are a couple inside each half of the cockpit nacelle, but they are small and quite discreet.
The surface finish is beautifully done, with a very convincing subtle fabric effect on the flying surfaces. The kit is unusual in utilising photo-etched panels for quite major sections on the front of the engine nacelles and protective sheaths on the wings under the engines. Even setting aside the complex layout of the airframe itself, this skinning alone is likely to test inexperienced modellers, so the Caudron is best recommended for modellers who are confident using photo-etched parts.
I canít really comment very usefully on the overall accuracy of the kit, because my only reference is Datafile 96, and itís clear as soon as you compare the kit against the scale drawings included in the book that Copper State havenít relied on them. There are noticeable differences in many areas so, without access to an actual airframe to draw my own conclusions, Iíll leave it to others to assess which interpretation is correct. I noticed that both the kit and the drawings differ from photos in portraying very little camber on the stabilisers, so a careful dip into very hot water might be in order.
A Few Details
Construction begins with the crew nacelle, which comprises a mix of 27 styrene and etched parts. The observerís seat is supplied in metal to depict the perforated appearance of the original, but the kit doesnít include any seatbelts - which seems odd, as one is shown in Datafile's colour reference photos. The throttles are photoetched and require quite an intricate bit of folding. The pilotís seat is moulded integrally with the padded coaming. An indication of the detail level is the inclusion of tiny etched fittings for the control linkages.
Turning to the exterior of the nacelle, the twin windscreens are made up from clear film and etched frames which will need to be shaped carefully. Clear styrene parts would obviously have been simpler to use, but the clear film will give a much more authentic scale appearance.
The engine nacelles are built up from just four main styrene parts each, with paired interplane struts to give really solid foundations for the wings. The seams are horizontal to allow for crisp moulded detail on the top surface of each nacelle, with holes for the struts top and bottom. Then comes the photo-etched skinning for the front, followed by a separate metal firewall with brackets for the cowling.
The engines themselves are quite simple (just 2 parts each), but beautifully moulded with crisply defined cooling fins and rockers on each cylinder.
Things then get decidedly more complex as you begin work on the wings by folding and fitting dozens of tiny etched bracing attachments along with the skinning mentioned above. While the locations of the interplane struts look very solid, the sheer amount of rigging is going to challenge the most seasoned modeller.
The framework supporting the tail is moulded complete with the vertical struts in place, so it should be quite sturdy once itís attached to the top wing and a complicated arrangement of struts under the lower wing. Itís moulded dead-true on the sprues, so it should all line up correctly if youíre careful. I think using a jig of some sort could be very wise.
With the supports firmly dry, you can add the tail assembly, complete with four
fins and rudders. There is no separate tail skid, as such Ė the aircraft simply bumped along on reinforced tips to the lower longerons.
The undercarriage comprises twin wheels with separate hubs under each engine nacelle, with etched guards over the bungee suspension.
Completing the main assembly of three of the landplane options (the floatplane is also unarmed) is a beautifully detailed Lewis gun on a delicate etched Type 46 Deligny mount that attaches to the nose of the crew nacelle. This involves folding some pretty small parts for the brackets and runners, but the end result should look amazing.
The floatplane follows basically the same construction until the time to fit the tail structure comes. The lower longerons must be cut short ready to join to struts that attach to the twin main floats. The instructions recommend reinforcing the joints with wire or rod, and I think this will be essential to ensure a strong enough assembly.
The main floats themselves are nicely detailed with slatted treads attached on top, and the tailplane is supported on the water by a pair of auxiliary floats under the tail booms.
The floatplane kit includes alternative propellers with a more paddle-bladed appearance.
As a finishing touch, Copper State provide a set of beaching dollies and trestles to display the completed model on.
If you arenít very experienced with rigging before starting this model, I think itís fair to say youíll be something of a veteran by the time youíve completed it! Thereís no way of avoiding the fact that the quantity and style of the Caudronís rigging is pretty daunting, but Copper State cover it in detail with multiple colour-coded views to separate the rigging itself from the control cables. Some of the rigging splits Y-fashion to attach to paired fixing, so you are taking on quite a challenge in trying to reproduce it. Less experience modellers may quite understandably choose to forgo the rigging entirely Ė and shots of the completed models unpainted and un-rigged on Copper Stateís website show that the Caudron will still look very impressive.
Instructions & Decals
The instructions are produced as a very high quality ďvintageĒ style 24-page booklet, printed in colour throughout on glossy heavyweight stock. Assembly is broken down into 12 basic stages, but some of these occupy multiple pages. Rigging diagrams are spread across four sides, with each area of the airframe covered in detail. Generic colour matches are provided throughout. The instructions provide full colour painting diagrams for the following schemes:
G.IV Late Version
a: Caudron G.IV, C.1596, from Escadrille C.66
b: Caudron G.IV, C.1720, from Escadrille C.202
c: Caudron G.IV, C.1103, from Escadrille C.11, February 1917
d: Caudron G.IV, C.1704, from Escadrille C.487, May 1918
A trio of aircraft based at St.Raphael naval air station, autumn 1917 Ė C.2239, C.1031 and C.1037
The decals are custom printed by Cartograf to their usual impeccable standard, with pin sharp registration and minimal excess carrier film (on all items except the serial numbers, there basically is no
excess carrier film Ė quite phenomenal).
Copper State Modelsí new Caudron G.IVs are beautiful kits and itís very exciting to see a subject that would once have been the preserve of short-run manufacturers produced to the highest modern mainstream standards. It looks to be very well designed, but itís definitely not a model for beginners Ė whether, or not, you choose to tackle the rigging. For experienced modellers, though, thereís something almost irresistible about the Caudron and the challenge it offers. Even after this brief examination, itís certainly got its hooks into me(!) and Iíll be tackling one (or bothÖ) of the kits later this year.
Filip (xmald11) has a superb Blog
of the landplane version underway in the Forum which gives an excellent view of the quality of the kit.
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