Salmson-Moineau S.M.1
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The kit arrived in a very sturdy cardboard box and once opened revealed all parts housed in zip lock plastic bags, the separate PE set and the decals are in their own zip lock bags. There is another small cardboard box which contains the parts to make the Salmson engine and the lewis guns.

There are a large number of dark coloured resin parts some of which will require cleaning due to a small amount of flash

There is a comprehensive photo etched sheet containing some very well detailed parts, there is also a sheet of decals printed by Fantasy Printshop. There is also a beautiful little PE set for the instruments plus dials printed on clear acetate. Another bonus are plans to make a jig for assembling the model.

Work has commenced on this model by firstly building the engine. The engine for this aircraft is a Salmson 9A2c water cooled 9 cylinder radial. CSM have done a great job with the parts for this engine with the resin parts being done in a very dark grey. PE parts for the rocker assemblies are also included, I added 0.25mm brass wire for the push rods. I still need to add the ignition leads and to paint the spark plugs. As can be seen by the photo with the match the engine is quite small. All the photos I have seen of the original aircraft show the exhaust as a whitish colour. The engine assembled quite easily with no major hassles.

I cleaned up the fuselage parts and roughly fitted them together to gauge the accuracy of fit. Obviously more cleaning is required but the fit appears to be quite good, the fuselage parts are not warped at all and have reasonable detail. I will do the fuselage internal detailing next but finding information on the cockpit and gunner/observer stations is near impossible.

I have started detailing the inside of the fuselage. Some of the bulkheads are supplied with the kit but I will need to scratch build a few more. The linen colour is painted using Gunze off-white while the darker colour is Gunze black-grey. The fuselage bracing wires are Modelkasten elastic rigging thread. The engine is only sitting in position for photo purposes. I still need to add the pilots seat, front and rear gunners seats, instrument panel, control column and rudder bat, also a throttle quadrant.

I have just about completed the internals. I used the kit supplied resin seat but made the rear bulkhead and the gunners seat, the front gunners seat is kit supplied. I also made an instrument panel and fitted the kit supplied instrument gauges and bezels except the brass one. I still need to fit a timber frame around the centre map, the kit supplied throttle quadrant is also fitted. The kit PE control wheel was a bit flat so I added a circle of 0.5mm copper wire, this gives it a bit of bulk, the rudder bar which is scratch build is also fitted.

I have closed the fuselage and surprisingly all parts fitted really well, apart from the small piece I broke off there is very little filling to do. Once filled and sanded the entire fuselage will shape up really well, very little of the fuselage interior is now visible. As far as a resin kit goes I am pleased with the way the kit has gone together so far, I have had to make some parts but that is all part of modeling, the lack of instructions is the only drawback.

I fitted the two PE panels to the side of the fuselage, to add a bit of detail I added 0.4mm brass tube for the hinges then inserted lengths of 0.12mm copper wire to represent the removable hinge pins, I formed a loop on the end of each pin.

I also fitted the PE engine cooling louvres to the left side of the fuselage, these PE louvres had to be assembled so took quite some time. The louvre panels have also been fitted with hinges made from 0.4mm brass tube and hinge pins from 0.12mm copper wire. I also fitted cockpit padding, this is made from 0.95mm plastic tubing CA’d to the fuselage, this will be painted a leather colour.

I added a bit of paint to the front portion of the fuselage using Hobby Color (Gunze) H334 Barley Grey, I also repainted the exhaust manifold this time using Humbrol Metal Cote 27003 Polished Steel. I had to cut a slot in the rear of the fuselage to accept the tail plane, it is now glued in position. I still need to tidy it up a bit where I made the slot. I also removed the three fuel/oil filler pipes which were resin, I will be replacing them with brass tube.

As I said earlier this model will be built mainly OOB, so I added the kit supplied resin radiators, I added some pipes to the radiators using 0.6mm copper wire, I also added the breather pipes which still need to be capped off and a small pipe fitted. I filed some caps for the fuel/oil filler pipes, these were filed from 2.25mm brass rod. The brass filler caps and the radiators were glued using 5 minute epoxy while the small copper pipes were glued using CA. The nose of the aeroplane has been painted with Gunze off-white.

I managed to paint the fuselage today using Hobby Color H21 Off White, it is a full gloss at the moment but will be finished as a satin after the decals are applied. I removed the rudder and fitted two 0.4mm brass tube pins in the fin, holes in the rudder will allow the rudder to be refitted once painted and decals applied.

I downloaded and printed the plans for the jig from the CSM website, it would be extremely difficult to fit the wings without the jig as no instructions are included with the kit. I used a stiff corrugated cardboard for the jif and glued it using PVA white glue, it ended up being quite strong., It also has provisions for fitment of the top wing. The jig holds the fuselage very firmly and will make fitting of the wings a lot easier. Before proceeding any further I need to fit the undercarriage to the bottom wing, this will ensure the bottom wing remains level, I will also paint the bottom wing before adding any struts.

I fitted the undercarriage using the kit supplied resin parts, it fitted quite well and surprisingly is quite strong, the wheels are also fitted. I added rib tapes to the top of the bottom wing using 0.75mm masking tape, original photos of the aircraft show large very prominent tapes. The PE wing reinforcing metal plates have been added to the top and bottom wings, I have left these as the original metal colour while the rest of the wing has been painted with Hobby Color H21 Off White. I also applied the roundels to the bottom of wing, the decals went on really well. The fuel tank has been fitted to the centre of the bottom wing and painted with Hobby Color H334 Barley Grey, the undercarriage has been painted with the same colour.

I removed the rudder and decided to paint it instead of using the decals (the decal colours are back to front having the red at the front). Firstly I painted the rudder white using Hobby Color H1 gloss white, once dry I taped the rudder and painted the blue which is Humbrol 48 Gloss Mediterranean enamel then did the red which is Humbrol 19 Gloss Red enamel, decals will be applied once the paint has had time to cure (I always allow enamels to dry for 48 hours)

I applied the fuselage decals, the decals went on okay and did not require the use of any decal set solution, I set the decals by using a hair dryer. Tomorrow I will clear coat the bottom wing and the fuselage with a satin coat.

I have fitted the fuselage/bottom wing struts which now holds everything together very firmly. Fitting these struts without the jig would have been near impossible. I removed all the resin strut pins and replaced them with 0.5mm copper wire, I also drilled 0.5mm holes in the fuselage and wing to accept the struts, CA holds them together. I have to admit, I am really enjoying this build even though it is not my usual scale.

I added the decals to the rudder and fitted the rudder to the fin. I find painting the rudder to be a lot better than applying the kit decals.

I fitted the anti nose-over wheel using the kit struts and 0.5mm brass tube as the stays, CA holds it all together very well.

I managed to fit the port side propeller drive gearbox unit, finding the correct struts for each location took most of my time but once sorted out it went together reasonable well. I also made and fitted the tail skid, the kit supplied tail skid is only PE and was very flimsy so I made mine from various sizes of brass tube. The head on photo shows the streamline effect of having the engine mounted sideways inside the fuselage.

When fitting the struts I cut off the resin pins and replaced them with 0.5mm copper wire, I drilled a0.5mm hole into the end of the struts then CA’d the copper wire into the struts, the wire can then be cut and bent to shape. It is very easy to work with but makes a strong connection. I finished the two propeller gearbox units and fitted them to the bottom wing, the main drive from the engine to the two gearbox units are also fitted. I was very surprised at how easy it was to fit these units, finding the correct length strut is crucial but having scale plans to compare each strut makes life very easy. Once the correct struts were found the two units virtually fell together.

And even more struts. I have fitted the struts from the propeller mounts to take the top wing, I made a small jig that fitted across the pins on each pair of struts just to make sure everything was aligned, and this isn’t the end, there are still more struts to befitted.

I managed to complete the top wing today, all I need to do is give it a coat of satin clear. For the rib tapes I used Bobs buckles 1.0mm strippers. The top wing is only sitting in position for photo purposes, once the entire model is sprayed with a satin clear I will fit the top wing. I had to remove the front and rear parts of the jig to allow the model to still sit inside the jig for top wing fitment. I also assembled and fitted the front and rear machine guns.

The top wing has now been fitted and most of the rigging completed. I used Modelkasten 0.13mm elastic rigging thread held together using CA. Using the jig fitting of the top wing proved quite straight forward.

The completed model

When I took on this build it was way out of my comfort zone being 1:48 scale and resin, but in all honesty I have truly enjoyed the build. The kit is quite complex and only suitable for capable or experienced modelers with knowledge in the use of resin and CA. For a limited run kit it did not pose too many issues and what issues did arise were quite easily overcome. Some of the resin parts were extremely fragile so I opted to fabricate the parts myself. My only criticism of the kit is the lack of instructions, even basic instructions would have been a huge benefit. I take my hat off to Copper State Models for producing such a wonderful kit of a somewhat unusual subject and now that I have completed the model I would highly recommend this kit

The unusual configuration as a result of Moineau’s concern with minimizing the drag of the bulky 240hp Salmson 9A2c engine by placing it sideways inside the square-section fuselage, to drive the two propellers via streamlined gearbox units mounted on ‘X’ struts between the wings. The propellers were geared to rotate in opposite directions in order to minimize the effects of torque. Although at least 155 examples were built, the S.M.1 was not a success. Despite being designed as a three seater it was officially recommended that it be flown with only two crew members as with three the performance was very poor. Inferior in every aspect to the Sopwith one and a half strutter (which equipped the majority of French reconnaissance units at the time of the S.M.1’s introduction), difficult to handle on the ground and in the air and prone to landing accidents, the machine was disliked by its unfortunate crews and those tasked with servicing and repairing its complex transmission system and complicated rigging. Indeed, it was suspected that many of the ground handling accidents may not have been entirely accidental!