WOW159 – Nieuport ‘Monkey’
Out of Stock
The Nieuport 11, nicknamed the Bébé, was a French World War I single seat sesquiplane fighter aircraft, designed by Gustave Delage.It was the primary aircraft that ended the Fokker Scourge in 1916 The type saw service with several of France’s allies, and gave rise to the series of “vee-strut” Nieuport fighters that remained in service (latterly as trainers) into the 1920s. The Nieuport 11 reached the French front in January 1916, and 90 were in service within the month. This small, sesquiplane outclassed the Fokker Eindecker in every respect, including speed, climb rate and manoeuvrability. It featured ailerons for lateral control rather than the Fokker’s wing warping, giving lighter, quicker roll response, and its elevator was attached to a conventional tail plane which provided better pitch control as opposed to the all-moving, balanced “Morane type” elevators of the Fokker. The Fokker’s success was solely due to its synchronized machine gun which fired forward through the arc of its propeller. At the time, the Allies lacked a similar system, and the Nieuport 11’s Lewis machine gun was mounted to fire over the propeller, allowing uninterrupted forward fire. The Lewis was not synchronizable, due to its open bolt firing cycle design which resulted in an unpredictable rate of fire. Clearing gun jams and replacing ammunition drums in flight were challenging though, and the drums limited ammunition supply. This was eventually resolved in French service by the application of the Alkan synchronization gear with a Vickers machine gun to Nieuport fighters starting with some later examples of the Nieuport 16. The British, in the absence of their own satisfactory synchronizer, continued with the overwing Lewis but employed a new “double” Lewis drum with a capacity of 98 rounds. During the course of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, the combination of the Nieuport 11s technical advantages and the concentration of the fighters within the first dedicated fighter units allowed the French to establish air superiority, forcing radical changes in German tactics. Some Nieuport 11s and 16s were even fitted to fire Le Prieur rockets from the struts for attacks on observation balloons and airships. By March 1916 the Bébé was being replaced by the improved Nieuport 17, although Italian-built examples remained in first line service longer, as did Russian examples. Thereafter the Nieuport 11s and 16 continued to be widely used as trainer. Our 1/30 scale Nieuport 11 WOW159 is one flown by Alvaro Leonardi who was born in Terni, Italy, on 16 November 1895. In September 1915, just after Italy entered World War I, Leonardi was serving in the Technical Services Department of the Italian military. He was then posted to the 6th Railroad Engineers’ Regiment before applying for a transfer to become a pilot. After initial training Leonardi joined 80a Squadriglia where on 2 May 1917 he was officially rated as a Nieuport pilot. On 24 May, he scored his first aerial victory. He continued to score throughout 1917 and 1918, posting his eleventh claim on 20 August 1918; though most of his claims were singular, he did share one each with Giovanni Ancillotto and Cosimo Rizzotto. On 25 October 1918, Leonardi was transferred out of combat, being assigned to 122a Squadriglia. When the war ended, Alvaro Leonardi had flown 140 fighter escort missions in 700 hours flight time, and engaged in 21 combats to stake his 11 victory claims. He had earned two awards of the Silver Medal for Military Valour. We have a total of 7 of these 1/30 hand carved Mahogany models available, all include shipping and GW066 ‘The Artist’ figure as per the photos or an alternate figure if this one is not available.