SMER 1/72 Breguet 693 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||October 2007||Manufacturer||SMER|
|Kit Number||SR844 (165)||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat looking||Cons||None noticeable|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$9.98|
The Breguet 690 and its derivatives were a series of light twin-engined aircraft that were used by the French Air Force in WWII. The aircraft was well designed, easy to maintain, pleasant to fly and could fly at 480 km/h at 4,000 meters (13,000 ft.). the type’s sturdy construction was frequently demonstrated and the armament was effective. Like the Bloch 175 light bomber and the LeO 451 and Amiot 351 medium bombers, the Breguet 693 showed that French designers were as good as any in the world. Unfortunately, French rearmament began two full years later than that in Britain and all of these fine aircraft were simply not available in sufficient numbers to make a difference in 1940.
As with the Potez 630, the Breguet 691 was beset with engine difficulties. Hispano-Suiza had decided to concentrate on its V-12 liquid cooled engines and the 14AB engine was unreliable. The French authorities decided to order a new version, the Bregeut 693 powered by Gnome-Rhone 14M radials. Apart from the changed engines, which were slightly smaller in diameter, the two types were virtually identical. Orders for the Bregeut 691 were switched to the new type and more than 200 of the later had been completed by the time of France’s defeat.
Late production versions of the Bregeut 693 introduced propulsive exhaust pipes that improved top speed by a small margin as well as, according to some sources, a pair of additional light machine-guns in the tail of each engine nacelle. Belgium ordered 32 license built copies, but none were completed before the Belgian collapse. In the haste to get the Bregeut 693 into production, the opportunity was lost to specify a low-level version of the Gnome-Rhone 14M, but in time – no doubt – this would have been remedied. The aircraft was operated by both France and Italy.
This kit is a re-boxing of old Heller brand (French model company) molds. It has also since been reboxed and renumbered by Smer of Prague Czechoslovakia, who re-did a lot of Heller models under their label.
I built the original Heller kit of this Bregeut 693. The markings on it are different than what Smer includes in their kit. Mine has the usual French roundels in the normal 6 positions and a squadron marking on the side of the fuselage that is a white eagle on a blue field.
The box art for Smer’s release of the aircraft shows 2 Bregeut 693’s flying over the countryside. The one in the foreground has the usual French roundels and rudder tri-color stripes, plus the number 7 in white on the rudder and a squadron marking on the side of the fuselage that is a wasp, looking down and holding a very large pair of binoculars. This is the ONLY marking option offered in the kit. The 693, in the background of the box art is too small to see any extra markings. This box art is uncluttered by any text, so could easily be framed and put on the wall of your modeling room. I wish more model companies would do this. Some box arts are really neat, but covered here and there with text. Just my opinion, FWIW. Uncluttered box arts seem to be the norm with Smer kits.
The kit comes in a long tray and lid type box. Inside the box is a large cello bag that is holding two light gray trees of parts. These trees are tight, to all 4 walls of the tray. Also in the bas is a 2 part clear stand. These stands seem to be always a feature of Smer aircraft model kits, as I have found them in every Smer kit I own.
A second, smaller cello bag holds the tree of clear parts. The decal sheet is loose and it has a tissue over the face of it to protect it from scratches. The instructions complete the kits contents.
The instructions follow Smer’s usual layout of them in their kits. It is a single sheet folded in the center into 4 pages.
Page one of the instructions starts with a repeat of the box art in color. However, the image has been reversed from what it is on the box lid, the History of the Breguet 693 in Czech only follows.
Page 2 gives blow by blow instructions of how to build the kit, again…only in Czech. Wish Smer would put some English in their kits. The right side of page 2 and the left side of page 3 have 10 assembly step drawings. The right side of page 3 has a listing of the names of the kit’s parts in Czech.
Page 4 has a full color 3-view drawing of the only painting and marking scheme offered in the kit. The aircraft (like the Heller one I built) is in a wave pattern of green and brown above and a very pale light blue below.
I could not help but notice a few things that the box art artist has shown on the Breguet 693 pictured there, that are NOT in the box. There is a direction finding loop antenna shown under the fuselage, a external gunsight in front of the pilots cabin and mass balances underneath the wing flaps. Too bad these aren’t in the kit, but could be easily scratch built and added. The other thing that perhaps won’t please modelers is the lack of any cockpit interior detail and the raised panel lines. The wing and tail flaps are all molded solid too. With the use of a razor saw these could be easily separated and deployed on this model.
The bottom tray of the kit has the year 1989 stamped on it in black ink. I’m thinking that this was the year that Smer packed my kit. So. That puts the Heller kit of it many years before that - I know.
The first light gray parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, the props axles and retaining washers, main landing gear legs and tires, prop spinners and a couple discs that go inside the cowlings and the upper wing halves (20 parts)
The second light gray parts tree holds: the horizontal tail surface, cowlings, twin-rudder parts, guns, props, tail wheel, lower wing halves etc. (28 parts)
The clear tree is next and it holds all the cockpit and fuselage windows.(11 parts)
The 2 part clear stand, decal sheet (already described above) and the instructions complete the contents of the kit.
I had a great time building this kit, years ago, out of the Heller box and think that it deserves a place on the modeler’s shelf of WWII type aircraft. With a little work, additions and scratchbuilding (of cockpit stuff) it can be turned into a good model. It was considered darn good state of the art, over 20 years ago when it was first released by Heller.