Wednesday, October 19, 2011

France - 1915 Morane-Saulnier Type N

Three French Bullets

I had got sick of looking at the generic profiles I had posted back in the Dark Ages and thought it was time to freshen up the gallery collection. After my crash I have had to go back to basics and reinvent the wheel. Although at the time it was a serious loss, much good has come from it. Being more obsessive about including small details like lacing and turnbuckles on the wires helps make for a better drawing. Over the past two days I have been on a roll. After about eight hours of research I sat down and made fourteen examples of the Morane-Saulnier Type N. So far the largest group has been Russian versions, although I have worked up a fair number of British birds.

This example was flown by Jean Chaput while serving with the 159th Escadrille. It has a fuselage stripe flash which is not seen on many examples. most had plain varnished fabric covering the fuselage, wing and tail plane. The black forward section shows wear which is perhaps due to deflected rounds. The wing has roundels on both the top and bottom surface. The identification markings have been painted over.

I a not sure who was the pilot or the unit of this example. However I do know the serial number. The paint scheme is what most think of when the Morane-Saulnier Type N is discussed. However the tri-color marking on the fuselage does make it worth drawing. As was standard practice the wing carried roundels on both the top and bottom surface. I painted this bird in pristine condition although the wear on the forward section seems to be a common feature.

Some of the Type N were finished in a mixture of aluminum powder and varnish giving them a silvery finish. Tee forward section was painted red and rudder has a more complete set of identification markings. The source I had showed natural wood landing struts and the frame for the wires used for the wing warping system.

Due to the shape of its nose, the Morane-Saulnier Type N was aptly nicknamed the “Bullet”. Only 49 Type N were built. The was the first French aircraft specifically developed as a fighter. Armed with a fixed, forward firing machine gun, its propeller was protected by the metal deflector plates pioneered by Roland Garros on the Morane-Saulnier Type L. Although it was faster and more maneuverable than previous aircraft, the Bullet was extremely difficult to fly and unpopular with pilots. A fair number of then were saw combat in both the British and Russian air services.


  1. From Wikipedia Morane-Saulnier N, ""
  2. Bruce, J.M. "War Planes of the First World War: Fighters: Volume Five". London:Macdonald, 1972, p.86. ISBN 356 0779 7.
  3. Bruce, J.M. "The Bullets and the Guns". Air Enthusiast. Issue Nine, February-May 1979. Bromley, Kent: Pilot Press, 1979. Pages 61-75.

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