While some modelers stick to WWII warbirds, there are several WWI airplanes that see a lot of RC fields as well. The Sopwith Camel and Pup, The SE5-A, and of course, Fokkers of all kinds. There was a line of French airplanes that were notable as well, going by the name of Nieuport. Throughout WWI, there were several Nieuport aircraft, one of which was the Nieuport 28. The 28 was the first of its lineage to have a two-spar wing design in the upper and lower wings. This differed from the previous V-strut wing design, and also incorporated eliptical wingtips.
The Single seat French fighter was powered by Gnome rotary engine producing 160 HP. It carried a pair of 11 mm Vickers machine guns – Due to the fuselage being lengthened and narrowed, one of the machine guns had to be moved outside of the cabane struts.
Seagull Models, a modeling company known for manufacturing unique aircraft, has introduced the Nieuport 28 to their 2019 lineup of new models. With a wingspan of 68 inches, it does qualify as a giant scale aircraft, and its lineage qualifies it as a warbird. The best part is being able to own a giant scale warbird on a budget – the Nieuport 28 requires just a 20-26cc gas engine, or equivalent glow/electric. The Nieuport 28 is being distributed in the US by VQ Warbirds in Texas. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, but this giant scale WWI biplane can be assembled and ready to fly on a decent budget – But enough of my rambling, let’s open the box!
The airplane arrived in a plain brown box with five full-color labels that had specifications and assembly requirements printed on them. Inside, I found a very well packed box of airplane parts – all bagged and taped or stapled in place to keep everything from sliding around during shipping. This particular model was shipped to me directly from the factory in Vietnam, and survived a lot of handling during transport!
I took inventory of the major parts against the list in the manual, and all the parts were present and in good shape! Even for a biplane, there weren’t a lot of parts, so I’m hoping it’ll go together quickly!
Speaking of the manual, it’s a good time to mention it – Like so many of Seagull’s manuals, it incorporates a lot of good images and some pretty good written instruction as well. If this is your first airplane assembly, I’d suggest that you go through the manual with another modeler that has assembled a few ARF airplanes before. If you’re going at it alone, just read through the manual a few times before beginning assembly, and you’ll do fine. You can download and preview the manual here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1U0Tk2qjKth_RRyxX_Vmp-xvjdAKboX_j
Where to Purchase (In the US): www.vqwarbirds.com
Price: $379.95 USD
Wingspan: 68.0 in (1727 mm)
Wing Area: 1155.7 sq in (74.6 sq dm)
Length: 55.0 in (1398 mm)
Advertised Weight: 12.8-13.2 lbs (5.8-6.0 kg)
Assembled Weight RTF w/o Fuel: 14.0 lbs (6.35 kg)
Engine/Motor Size: 20-26 cc
Radio Requirement: Minimum 4 Channel radio (5-6 Channels optimum) with 6 Servos
Two 12″ Servo Wire Extensions
Two Batteries (Receiver and Ignition for Gas Engine)
A Closer Look
There were several fiberglass parts included in the ARF – pre-painted cowl, the simulated Vickers machine guns, and the various control horns. The guns and cowl had a couple of paint chips in them, but this was easily remedied or added character to the airplane. The stout fiberglass control horns will be epoxied in place during assembly.
The plastic parts came pre-painted as well, but required trimming prior to installation. The windshield was also pre-painted, but I found it to be a non-scale piece. I’ll show you how I fixed this prior to installing it. Also included is a good looking pilot bust figure. I will most likely add a little more paint, so he stands out a bit more. But, as he comes out of the box, he is good enough to ‘pilot’ the Nieuport 28.
The main gear consisted of a pair of long aluminum legs and a steel axle. Several wheel collars will hold the axle and wheels in place. Because the Nieuport 28 is a model of a replica, a standard tail wheel and bracket has been supplied. This will definitely make steering the plane around on the ground lots easier than a true wooden skeg…
The Nieuport 28 included mounting options for both gas/glow and electric power, which has become the Seagull Models standard! Some of the electric conversion parts are used for installing the fuel tank, should you choose to put an engine on the firewall.
One of the coolest parts of Seagull’s warbirds is the matte finish on their iron-on covering. A sprayed-on clear coat is applied over the Oracover covering and pre-applied decals, giving their aircraft that ‘not so fresh off the showroom floor’ appearance. To round out the machine gun package, a sight is included that will get glued in place during assembly.
Key Features of the Nieuport 28
- High Quality Balsa and Balsa Plywood Offer Lightweight, State-of-the-art Construction
- Eye Catching Scale Color Scheme.
- Authentic Trim Scheme Covered in Genuine Oracover Film.
- Factory Painted Fiberglass Engine Cowl
- Highly Detailed Cockpit With Light Weight Painted Pilot Figure Adds Scale Detail.
- Aluminum Landing Gear Reinforcement.
- Impressive Scale Outline With Pull-Pull Rudder
- Designed For Gasoline, Glow or Electric Power
- Wing Transport Frames Included To Reduce Time Assembling and Disassembling the Model
- Scale Looking Wheels and decals
- Extensive Hardware Kit Included
- A Very Versatile Sport-Scale Biplane!
Equipment Used for Completion
From the ground, I will be using my trusty Hitec Aurora 9X transmitter. A Hitec Optima 9 2.4 gHz 9 channel receiver and six Hitec HS-485HB Deluxe Ball Bearing Standard Servos will be used to control the Nieuport 28.
In the nose, of the Nieuport 28, I will be installing my well-used RCGF 20cc SBM gasoline engine. Because the Nieuport 28 has a fairly large diameter cowl, the side exhaust/muffler on the original 20cc engine will fit without any problems! The engine comes with its own engine mounts, which I have pre-drilled, so I will be using these in place of the nylon engine mounts included with the ARF. At $209.99 for this version of the 20cc engine, you can definitely get into giant scale warbirds on the cheap!
I know that everyone has their favorite brand and glues when it comes to modeling. For me, I trust ZAP brand adhesives. They have always done the job for me!
For the Nieuport 28 Assembly, I used the ZAP Z-Poxy 5 and ZAP Z-Poxy 30 epoxies, the ZAP Z-42 Blue thread locking compound, and Thin, Medium, and Thick CA. Along with the CAs, I used ZAP brand ZIP Kicker as well.
Before We Begin…
Before I start assembling any model with an iron-on covering, I inspect all of the main parts for wrinkles. The Nieuport 28 had just a few minor wrinkles, but it’s much easier to tighten the covering before the plane has been assembled. take your time and turn up the heat on your iron slowly so you don’t set it too hot and start ‘pulling’ the covering loose. The parts are all covered with several pieces of individual colors of covering, so pulling the covering will leave distortions in the camo color scheme.
Assembly started with the lower wings. A pair of T-pins were stuck through the center section of four CA hinges and then inserted into the aileron. The pre-cut slots in tall the control surfaces makes installing the hinges an easy task!
The four hinges were then slid into the wing slots. I removed the eight T-pins, pushed the aileron tight to the wing, flexed the aileron in each direction to full throw, and secured the hinges with three drops of ZAP Thin CA on each side of each hinge. When the CA had cured, I flipped the wing over and epoxied the aileron control horn in place with ZAP Z-Poxy 5-minute epoxy.
A 12″ servo wire extension was attached to the Hitec HS-485HB servo before pulling the wire extension through the wing with the pre-installed pull string. The extensions I used have built-in clips to keep the servo wire connection secure. The servo was set into the mount, and I drilled the screw holes.
The servo was then removed, a screw was run into and removed from each hole, and a drop of ZAP Thin CA was applied to each hole. When the CA had cured, the servo was set back in place and secured with four DuBro servo screws.
DuBro Socket Head Servo Mounting Screws
Why do I use DuBro Servo Screws? Because they have a socket head that allows easy installation, and have a pre-installed washer that doesn’t fall off. They are the perfect length and diameter for servos with standard mounting holes, and one bag is enough for the average sport model with a few spares left over. You can find them here: DuBro Servo Screws
The pre-assembled aileron pushrod was installed – it was subsequently determined that the original Hitec servo arm was too short, so it was replaced with a Hitec HD-LL long servo arm. With the aileron and servo centered, I adjusted the pushrod to length and secured the locking nut to the clevis. a drop of ZAP Z-42 blue thread locker was used to keep the nut secured.
Now I must say that this was a first for me – the servo mounting screw holes were already in the servo tray – they were ‘pre-drilled’ at the factory during laser cutting of the tray. I ran a DuBro servo screw in and out of each screw hole and added a drop of ZAP Thin CA to each hole.
For the throttle servo, a special pushrod connector was attached to the servo arm before it and the elevator and rudder servos were installed in the fuselage. I installed the throttle servo on the left side of the fuse, as it was a straight shot to the carburetor on my RCGF 20cc gas engine.
Main Landing Gear
After securing the two-piece aluminum landing gear legs to the fuselage, the main gear axle was slid through the gear. Six wheel collars are used to keep the axle and large diameter wheels in place on the Nieuport 28. When all of the wheel collars had been tightened, marking their location on the axle, all six wheel collars were loosened and removed.
Using my rotary tool and a grinding bit, I put a ‘flat spot’ at each of the six marks left by the wheel collars. The axle and wheels were then reinstalled, and a drop of ZAP Z-42 blue thread locker was added to each wheel collar set screw.
Moving on, I assembled the fuel tank. Because the tank can be used with glow fuel or gas, there is no fuel tubing included in the ARF. I used Tygon fuel tubing available from DuBro. While the brass fuel clunk is included in the ARF, the silver clunk is part of a DuBro Fill It Fueling System. The remainder of the Fill It Fueling System will be installed later. I also secured the fuel tubing to the brass tubes with some thin diameter steel wire and a 9″ safety wire twisting pliers available from Harbor Freight.
DuBro Fuel Tubing and Fill It
DuBro has all the necessities when it comes to your fuel systems. The Tygon fuel tubing is available in short sections or on a 30 foot spool. The Fill It Fueling System is my go-to for converting a two-line tank to a three-line fuel system. As it says, it’s ‘The easy way to fill and empty your fuel tank’!
The plug/cap was secured in the tank, and the three lines were marked accordingly. In addition to the regular balsa stop blocks (larger rectangular balsa blocks), I cut two pieces of the included tri-stock (from the electric conversion kit) and glued them on each side to make a ‘cradle’ for the fuel tank.
After adding a length of tubing to the filling and carburetor fuel lines, the tank was strapped to the tank tray using the included hook n loop straps. The completed assembly was slid into the nose of the fuselage and secured with a single nylon thumb screw at the rear of the tray. You’ll also notice that I added two small pieces of DuBro 1/4″ Foam Rubber to keep the fuel tank from tipping over.
After some measuring, I found out that the RCGF mounts would be about 9 mm too short of the required 145 mm firewall to propeller hub distance. I cut some scraps of 10 mm ply that I had in my scrap box, and went to the local hardware store to get some longer mounting bolts. The great news is that the blind nuts pre-installed in the firewall were a perfect match for the RCGF 20cc engine mounts! I did add a couple of drops of ZAP Z-42 blue thread locker to each of the engine and engine mounting bolts to keep everything secure.
A 3/4″ hole was drilled in the firewall to allow passage of electronics wiring, and a pair of Velcro ties were screwed to the fire wall to secure the ignition module. A small piece of 1/4″ DuBro Protective Foam Rubber was added between the firewall and the module.
There are blind nuts in the fuselage ready to accept the cowl screws, so I marked the blind nut location with masking tape, peeled the marked tape back (but not removed from the fuselage) and then slid the cowl in place. After taping the cowl at the proper location, the marked tape pieces were laid back in place, but over the cowl. After drilling the screw holes, I temporarily mounted the cowl.
Cutting the cowl wasn’t difficult for the Nieuport 28, as it was large enough to slide over the engine without the muffler installed. A few basic pencil lines drawn on the inside of the cowl got me close enough to start cutting the fiberglass. Though not twice the size of the front of the cowl, I’m thinking there will be enough of an opening underneath to let out the heated air. A Falcon 16*8 Beechwood Propeller was installed, and looks really nice on the Nieuport!
Falcon Propellers are the ONLY prop I trust on my .40 sized planes and up. Distributed by Justmodelprops.com, which is part of Bob’s Hobby Center in Orlando, Florida, Falcon props are economically priced, look great, and they have a HUGE assortment of propeller styles – you’re bound to find one that’ll be a perfect match for your aircraft! Check them out online, or swing into Bob’s Hobby Center when you’re in the Orlando, Florida area!
Moving on to the tail end, I started by hinging the elevators to the horizontal stabilizer. These hinges were installed in the same manner as the aileron servos.
When the thin CA had cured for the hinges, I mixed up a small batch of 5 minute Z-Poxy and glued the elevator control horns in their pre-cut slots. The stab was then temporarily set in place and checked against the lower wing to make sure it was parallel to the lower wing. It looked great, so I traced the outline of the fuselage onto the bottom side of the stabilizer and removed the stab from the fuselage.
Using a sharp blade, I cut and removed the covering inside the lines I traced from the fuse. The excess covering was removed from the edges of the stabilizer mount, and the stab was glued in place with 30 minute Z-Poxy.
When the Stabilizer epoxy had cured, I removed the excess covering from the vertical stabilizer, set it in place on the horizontal stabilizer, and traced it’s outline onto the stab.
The horizontal stabilizer covering was then cut and removed just inside the traced lines, and the vertical stabilizer was glued in place with 30 minute Z-Poxy.
Using the same method as the ailerons and elevator halves, I hinged the rudder and secured it with thin CA.
The elevator pushrods were installed and attached to the servos and elevator control horns. I really liked that the pushrods were pre-cut to the correct length and were threaded on both ends!
Next came the rudder pull-pull cables. The parts are all included, and the cables are cut to the proper length with a little to spare! The ends of the cables are crimped in place using crimp tubes. The first step is to slide the cable through the tube, then through the hole in the threaded clevis end and back through the crimp tube.
The cable was then looped back around and through the crimp tube once again. At this point, the tube was crimped to keep the cable in place. The one-piece fiberglass rudder control horn was epoxied into the pre-cut slot in the rudder. When the 30 minute Z-Poxy had cured, the cables were connected to the control horn and slid through the guide tubes into the fuselage.
A clevis, locking nut, and threaded clevis end were attached to each side of the rudder servo arm and the two cables were connected in the same manner as at the tail end.
Using the rudder’s tiller arm as a template, I marked and drilled two holes to secure the tiller arm to the bottom edge of the rudder. A screw was turned into each hole and then removed, then a drop of thin CA was applied to each hole.
The tiller arm was then attached to the rudder, followed by installing the pre-assembled tailwheel bracket. A drop of Z-42 Blue Thread Locker was added to each of the tailwheel bracket machine screws before tightening them down. The tailwheel is turned by adding a pair of springs between the tiller arm and the tailwheel.
After adjusting the angle and loosely installing all of the tail wiring brackets, I made four tail bracing wires similar to the pull-pull cables for the rudder. The major difference is that there is only a clevis on one end, so make sure you get the cable length close before crimping the adjustable end.
Machine Guns and Windshield
Now to add some firepower…. After cutting the pre-painted plastic parts from their sheets, I touched up the cut edges with an olive drab acrylic paint. While this isn’t necessary, it sure makes the finished installation look a lot better.
I drilled holes in the machine gun mount at the dimples in the plastic, then marked the holes in the side of the fuselage for the mount.
The holes were drilled, and a drop of thin CA was applied to each hole to harden the wood. Six screws held the mount to the side of the fuselage, and the two ‘square’ gun brackets were attached to the mount with machine screws. A pair of angled brackets were also attached higher up on the fuselage for the second machine gun.
The machine guns are painted a flat black from the factory. I dry-brushed a light coat of gunmetal grey on to the barrel vents to simulate metal that had gotten hot during firing. It’s not much, but it adds a little detail to the machine guns. The guns were then attached to their brackets with machine screws and locking nuts. In the last photo, you can also see the two other plastic parts that were attached to the top of the fuselage. Each part was traced onto the covering, then the covering was cut and removed from under the part. The part was then glued in place using ZAP thick CA.
You can’t forget about the gun sight! I poked a hole in the balsa on the top of the fuselage, and glued the sight in place with thick CA.
After looking at several old photos online, I determined that the windshield was the wrong shape and height. To fix this, I cut it down to a more appropriate size and repainted it with olive drab acrylic paint.
You can definitely see the difference in size between the original and my modified windshield! The modified windshield was then attached to the fuselage just in front of the battery hatch opening with four screws.
I traced the outline of the headrest fairing onto the top of the hatch, and the cut and removed the covering. the fairing was then glued in place with ZAP thick CA. Though Seagull installed a wood-grained instrument panel in the Nieuport 28, the gauges and Aresti pattern aren’t scale.
I ended up removing the panel and painting the inside of the cockpit flat black with a simulated brown seat back. The pilot bust was then glued in place with two screws added for security.
The center cabanes were added next, along with diagonal braces to keep them in place. A metric ball joint hex driver is a great tool to use for tightening the machine screws inside the fuselage. If you don’t have a set of these drivers, you can get them here: https://www.dubro.com/collections/tools/products/standard-and-metric-ball-wrenches. They can be purchased individually, or as a set. Personally, I recommend the set!
Don’t forget to add a drop of Z-42 blue thread locking compound to each of the machine screws before installing them.
With all four of the center cabanes installed and secured, the center section of the top wing was set in place…
…And secured with four more machine screws and ZAP Z-42 thread locking compound.
The lower wings were slid onto a wing joiner tube and secured to the fuselage with a machine screw per wing half. A second aluminum wing tube was slid through the upper wing’s center section, followed by sliding the upper wing halves onto the joiner tube.
Like the lower wing halves, the upper wing halves are secured with a machine screw through a fiberglass mounting lug. With the wings installed, I slipped the interplane struts into place over the plywood tabs in the upper and lower wings.
The aluminum wing wire attachment points were adjusted to the correct angle and loosely installed on the wings and fuselage. The aluminum attachment points were straightened before installation on the interplane struts. The struts and attachment points were secured with machine screws and locking nuts. At this point, all of the machine screws were left slightly loose, so that the attachment points could pivot while attaching the wing cables.
The outer cables were the first to be installed.
One end of each of the six cable per side were looped and crimped directly to the attachment point, while the remaining ends received a clevis, locking nut, and threaded end.
Here you can see the included wing removal brackets in place with all of the wing cables attached. the rubber bands hold the brackets in place while the wings are removed.
A Balancing Concern…
With the Nieuport 28 nearly completed, I set the receiver and ignition batteries in place and checked the Center of Gravity (CG). Unfortunately, the plane was severely tail heavy. Even with the two batteries sitting on top of the cowl, there was no way I was going to balance the Nieuport without adding weight. After a brief discussion with my friend Mike O’Reilley, from Model Flight & OMP in Australia, I added some weight to the firewall and built a battery/ ignition module tray over the engine.
I made forms out of scrap balsa, and melted down some duck decoy weights that I had left over from another project. I ended up making two lead weights, 17 and 19 ounces, and attached them to the firewall. In addition, I cut apart an old electric motor mount from another project, and re-purposed it as a battery/ ignition mount installed over the engine. The Nieuport now balanced at the recommended 100 mm back from the leading edge of the upper wing. Sure, it seems like a lot of extra weight, but the total weight of the plane was only 12 ounces heavier than the specified weight in the instructions.
Switch and Receiver Mounting
Keeping the switches internal on the Nieuport was important to me, so I used a pair of DuBro Kwik Switch Mounts. I think this installation is in a good spot. The switches are easy to access, and they don’t look completely out of place… The receiver was strapped to the fuel tank tray using a Velcro strap and a small piece of DuBro 1/4″ protective foam rubber.
Though the Nieuport 28 assembly is a little more involved that your standard sport ARF, I really enjoyed assembling the plane. The parts fit well, and produced a great looking aircraft when completed. I look forward to getting the ’28’ in the air to see how well it flies. I did see the Nieuport 28 prototype fly when I was in Vietnam in June of 2018 – it flew well, even though it was tail heavy! I’ll get the flight report uploaded just as soon as I can – waiting on a good day to fly… Until next time! GB
Seagull Models: seagullmodels.com
VQ Warbirds: vqwarbirds.com
RCGF Engines: rcgfusa.com
Falcon Propellers: justmodelprops.com
Bob’s Hobby Center at Steve’s Hangar: shopbobshobbycenter.com
ZAP Adhesives: franktiano.com/zap-adhesive