The C.714 was a light fighter aircraft developed by Caudron-Renault for the French Air Force just prior to the start of World War II. Part of the C.710 aircraft series, it showed great potential during the prototype stages and was the only variant to have a production run. However, aside from only having a limited number produced, it coped with many problems. Due to its wooden construction it was not possible to fit a more powerful engine which was needed due to the original engine seriously limiting the aircraft’s climb rate and manoeuvrability.
As a result, the C.714 was withdrawn from active service during February 1940. In March, the initial production order was reduced to 90 and 80 of these were meant to be diverted to Finland which were to be flown by French pilots. When France surrendered to Germany, only six were delivered to Finland with ten more disassembled in a harbour. The Fins, desperate to use anything as combat aircraft, considered the aircraft not good enough to use in combat due to reliability issues. The only success the plane had was thanks to its service in the Polish piloted Warsaw Squadron. When the French Minister of War Guy La Chambre ordered all C.714s to be withdrawn from active service he did not offer a replacement. This caused the squadron to ignore the order. As such they scored twelve confirmed and three unconfirmed victories while losing nine in the air and the same number of planes on the ground together with nine pilots.
This article is based on information at WIKIPEDIA, 9 april 2016.
- Subject: Caudron CR.714 C-1
- Manufacturer: RS Models
- Scale: 1/48
- Parts count: 45 styrene parts, 3 clear parts
- Serial: 48004
- Price: 35-40 EUR
- Personal rating: ✭✭✭✭✭ ✭✭✭✭✭
Despite having over a few hundred 1/72 kits released, RS Models seems to have caught the quarter scale bug pretty well lately, proven with their recent boxings like the Ki-61-II and Fokker D.XXIII, and their latest boxing providing us with the odd looking Caudron-Renault CR.714, gives us another long neglected 1/48 subject to work with. Molded with both fine recessed and raised panel lines and showing not a single trace of flash, the detail on the styrene with this kit is better than many other limited run kits I have laying around (and those are a few). However there is no resin or photo-etch included, and there is a thing or two we need to put in regard before popping the champagne yet. The first is that this kit isn’t all that cheap at 35-40 euros, since the second point is that this kit only consists of just one styrene and one clear sprue with only 45 and three parts respectively. Now that does not mean you should write it of yet since this is a small airplane either way, but one should keep it in mind to prevent disappointment.
The styrene Sprue
Holding 45 parts, the styrene sprue is molded in a light brown color and sports both raised and recessed panel lines. The plastic feels a bit sticky and will need to be washed before handling and building the kit. The parts provided are the fuselage halves, upper and lower parts of the wings, horizontal stabilisers, propellor, landing gears and respective covers, nose cover and the cockpit parts. Overall the detail is good and the lines are fine, and most of the parts are as good as any other regular run kit. The biggest complaints I have are that the landing gears seem very fragile and will need some type of reinforcement to support the weight of the model once assembled. The other one is that the intake is hollow and one will have to provide some type of radiator.
The clear Sprue
The clear sprue holds 3 parts, all of which are part of the cockpit glazing. Sadly they are not separately packed from the styrene sprue, but luckily they do not show any signs of damage or scratching. However, like the styrene sprue they feel a bit sticky and will have to be washed before handling and building. Regarding the parts themselves they look correct and accurate judging from pictures available, including the asymmetric back windows. There is a point of concern with the sliding canopy part, because the attachment point caused the plastic to fog a bit. This can easily be resolved by painting over it, since the real canopy was metal at that point, although the part provided with this kit is not raised at that place.
The instructions sheet is folded into three sheets that are about as large as an A5 sheet of paper. The instructions are divided into roughly ten steps with digitally drawn illustrations. Certain steps are made up from different steps but should not provide any confusion or problems to understand. Also included are 4 sets of markings which can be seen below.
The decal sheet provided with the kit is quite large and seems of good quality. Barely any silvering can be found on the decals and we even get a few stencils as well. One odd thing is how the swastika sign which goes on the tail of the Luftwaffe aircraft is split into two parts, yet the ones on the Finnish Airforce insignia are not, which I am a bit thankful for because it makes them a lot easier to use.
Where this kit really shines are the provided markings, as it provides us with markings for all the countries that flew the C.714 in some way. In total we get four sets of markings which are two french 1940 airframes from the 1st Escadrille, GC I/145 “Warsaw” flown by kpr. A. Niewiare and Sgt. L. Uher. Villacoublay. The third airframe is CA-556 from the Finnish airforce as seen in 1941. The last airframe is a German test aircraft from the Luftwaffe flown in 1940.
All the airframes feature the same type of camouflage. The upper areas are painted dark blue with dark green and ‘chocolate brown’ camouflaging dots painted over it, while the lower areas are painted light blue gray. The tail and part of the side of the Luftwaffe airframe is painted light grey, which is where the previous fuselage markings would be found on the french airframes. There is some discussion though wether this German camouflage pattern is correct, though the photographic evidence I found so far seems to suggest that these camouflage patterns are correct.
All in all we get a pretty solid kit from RS models here. Although it is clear we are dealing with a limited run kit, it is the only Caudron-Renault C.714 in 1/48 scale. While all the other kits of this aircraft are decades older or have been other limited run kits like the 1/32 kit from Azur (if you would still be able to find one), I would still stay behind my choice of this kit. There is the fact that builder will have to reinforce the kit in certain areas or add some scratch build material to make it absolutely perfect and durable enough, but even so this model should be able to stand on its own. It would also make a great kit for builders who would like to try their first time to build a limited run kit. The last point is that it serves as a great base to build a 1/48 version of this nearly forgotten French airplane!
Recommended for people who have build at least a handful of kits or who would like to try their hand at a first limited run kit.