SMER 1/72 Morane-Saulnier MS 225 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||October 2007||Manufacturer||SMER|
|Subject||Morane-Saulnier MS 225||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||SR838 (161)||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice subject. Easy build||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$10.95|
The Morane-Saulnier MS.225 was a French fighter aircraft of the 1930’s. It was produced in limited quantities to be used as a transitional aircraft between the last of the biplanes and the first monoplane fighters.
Created as a stop-gap before the introduction of more advanced aircraft still under development, the Morane-Saulnier MS.225 was first flown in the form of a model at the Paris Air Show of 1932. After successful flight tests of the prototype, series production started at once.
Classified in the category C.1 (single-seat fighter), 75 aircraft were produced. Fifty-three aircraft were delivered to the Air Force in November 1933. The Aeronavale received the first 16 planes it had ordered in February 1934. Three were also sold to China.
The MS.225 was a parasol winged monoplane, with a wide fixed landing gear, and powered by a Gnome-Rhone 9Krsd radial engine. Having a circular fuselage, the MS.225 was much more robust than it’s immediate predecessor, the MS.224.
The MS.225’s of the Armee de l’Air served in the 7e Escadre de Chasse (7th Fighter Squadron) at Dijon, and in two escadrilles of the 42e Escadre (42nd Squadron), based at Rheims. They were withdrawn from front-line service between 1936 and 1937. The aircraft also flew in the Aeronavale l’Escadrille 3C1, established in Marignane. This formation later transferring to the Air Force at the beginning of 1936, where it became Le Groupe de Chasse 11/8.
The Air Force Aerobatic Squadron, based at Etampes, used 5 modified MS.225’s, with a larger vertical stabilizer, while the last unit of the Air Force to operate this aircraft was the flying school based at Salon-de-Provence. On the outbreak of WWII, only 20 MS.225’s were still in flying condition, the majority of them being scrapped in mid-1940. There were four variants.
SMER is a company that was based in Prague, Czechoslovakia. They re-boxed a lot of the old Heller kits and this is one of those.
The kit comes in a sturdy tray and lid type box. The box art shows a MS.225 flying over a castle and it looks like snow on the ground. The aircraft is overall dark green on the rear of the fuselage and top and bottom of the parasol wings. The forward part of the fuselage, the wing struts and the landing gear legs are bare metal. It caries the squadron logo of a knight’s helmet with a large white plume above it on the sides of the fuselage and a stylized number 2 in black on a white circle on the tail. The serial no. 25 appears in small black letters over the French tri-color stripes on the rudder. There is a Morane-Saulnier logo on each side of the cowling. This is a white circle, outlined in black with the black letters MS inside it. This is the only marking option on the decal sheet.
Inside the box is a single sealed cello bag that holds 3 white parts trees and a 2 piece clear desk stand (standard in all SMER aircraft kits).
There is a smaller cello bag that hold the small clear windscreen part. It is stapled shut and stuck to the outside of the other cello bag with Scotch tape. (this is also a common practice for packaging the clear window parts in their kits).
The decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions follow SMER’s usual layout for them in all their kits. They consist of a single sheet that folds into four pages.
The first page of the instructions begins with a color repeat of the box art, this is followed by the history of the Morane-Saulnier MS.225 in Czech only.
The left side of page 2 has a blow by blow narration of how to assemble the kit in Czech.
The right side of page 2 and the left side of page 3 have eight assembly step drawings.
The right side of page 3 has a list of the names of all the kit’s parts, again only in Czech.
Page 4 has a paragraph, in Czech, describing the camouflage scheme shown. Below this, is a black and white photo of a MS.225 with the fuselage number 4 on it. No squadron logo in evidence. The rest of the page has a 3-view of the only marking option in the kit. It shows, however that the marking shown on the box art should also have large white numerals N5-24 under the parasol wings. The propeller appears to be wood also. The bottom of this page has a customer service coupon in Czech only, to mail to SMER for any help needed with the kit. I am not sure, though, if SMER still exists.
The first white parts tree holds: the bottom half of the parasol type wing (full span) and the fuselage halves (3 parts).
The second white parts tree holds: the cockpit floor, the upper wing halves, cowling front, horizontal tail surfaces, engine and its push-rods and exhaust ring and a couple of wing flap hinges (all flaps are molded solid) (11 parts)
The third and final white parts tree holds: the pilot seat, dashboard, landing gear legs, wheel spats, wheels, wing struts, propeller cowling parts, upper fuselage decking around the cockpit opening and an under-nose panel etc. (29 parts).
The little clear windscreen part is next, along with the 2 piece clear desk stand parts.
The decal sheet completes the kit’s contents (markings already described above).
The kit has the date 1988 stamped in black ink inside the bottom tray. I know that the Heller kit was older than that.
This is a neat little kit. I recommend it to modelers that like between the wars aircraft. There is some rigging to be done between wings and fuselage. Detail is of the raised panel line type and flaps are all molded solid. There is no pilot figure in this kit. The cockpit is a little sparse with only a seat, floor, dashboard and joy stick. However, this is a lot more than SMER puts in their kits of aircraft that have closed canopies. More could be added by the purist.