1/72 Hasegawa (AP47) Dewoitine D.520
Gallery Article by Mario Serelle
on July 14 2003
France National Day
French Air Force
Undoubtedly the best French fighter in service at the time of the German invasion in May 1940, the D.520 had been designed to meet an Armeé de l’Air requirement for a monoplane fighter issued in 1936. Unfortunately for France, the first examples of the Dewoitine fighter only began to reach the frontline in December 1939, these aircraft being part of an order for 2300 D.520s. Production rates were poor, and by the eve of the Blitzkrieg, just 36 fighters had made it into squadron service.
However, the invasion spurred a massive production program, and by the Armistice on 30 June, 437 had been built. No further D.520s were built until June 1941, when the Vichy government ordered Dewoitine to re-open the production line. A further 478 were then produced until construction ceased in mid-1943.
Aside from its use by the French both before and after the capitulation, the D.520 was also employed as a fighter trainer by the Luftwaffe, and the others were issued to Italy, Bulgaria and Romania in the wake of the French surrender in 1940. As a fighter, the D.520 enjoyed some success, being credited with 114 German aircraft destroyed during the Battle of France, plus further kills (against Allied aircraft) in Vichy hands in North Africa and Syria in 1941-42.
images below to see larger images
This model was finished in 2002 and there’s not much to say about it. It is just a joy to work with. Hasegawa provides 33 parts superbly molded in neutral gray plastic, with excellent recessed panel lines, and 4 great clear pieces. The cockpit area is simple with no sidewall details and the canopy/windscreen is a single piece. Actually, there are no assembly options. You have only the two decal sets to choose between them. The first one is an aircraft from
Groupe de Chasse GC III/6,5 Escadrille based at Chissey s/ Loue in May 1940, and the second one is an aircraft from GC II/7, with a black Panther “walking” over a white arrow on the side of the fuselage.
My first step was to scratchbuild the cockpit. The wide canopy will provide great interior view even close, so you’ll better improve it. I used plasticard and, stretched sprue and some brass wire to reproduce sidewall and floor details. The original seat from the kit was completely re-worked to better reproduce the real one. After it was completed, the entire cockpit was painted with a dark blue/gray color and glued in place.
Actually this was all the work I had during assembly because after this point it was a straight forward process. No putty was used on this kit. It was required only some minor sanding on the fuselage seams.
Painting and Marking
Now it’s time to paint, and time to start my problems. The only paints that are
ready to use to do the French camo scheme are from the Aeromaster Acryl line.
This was my second attempt to use them, but once again I failed. I just can’t
handle these paints, I never get a good thinning ratio or even the right thinner
to use. The only option I had was to work with what I had in my workbench: a lot
of Tamiya and Gunze colors. Using the originals Aeromaster as reference I start
mixing the paints but I did something that I regretted later. During almost two
weeks I use every shade of blue, green, gray and others I had available, and in
the end I’ve got great matches for the Aeromaster, but any note of how I did
get there!! I’ll have two options for my next French project: learn how to use
the Aeromaster Acryl or..... start all the mixing process over again!!!
camouflage pattern isn’t that simple to do by free-hand airbrushing, but the result
is there. A coat of Brilho Fácil floor wax (a Brazilian product similar to Future) to
seal the paint and to provide a gloss finish to the decals.
choose the GC III/6 aircraft to depict and all decals went on great with Mr.
Mark Softer help. Even the rudder decal fits perfectly onto the model, but the
white sections are a little translucent. Another coat of Brilho
Fácil to seal the decals and then a black wash was applied to the panel
lines and some pastel chalk powder to reproduce dirt. After all, a flat coat of
Tamiya Clear + Flat Base and my D.520 was ready to take-off!!!