Wednesday, November 2, 2011

France - 1915 Nieuport 11

Three French Nieuport 11 “Bébé”

I have been busy working on new master files and insignias for new profiles. But I took a break to flesh out some of the new profiles. I have always loved the more flamboyant color schemes and I decided to do a batch of Nieuports 11s sporting the French Tri-color scheme which was a popular theme with several pilots.

The Nieuport 11 “Bébé” was an improvement over the Nieuport 10. It was nimble, relatively quick, and easy to fly. In the early war it was a favorite of many pilots serving in French, Italian, Belgian, and Russian air forces.

I am not sure who was the pilot for this example. However we know it was used by Escadrille N67 during 1915. The dark brown lines along the fuselage is a reinforcement tape used to strengthen the seams where the fabric sections meet. The rudder markings give the serial number and the maximum weight limit for ammunition, fuel, lubricant and pilot. The cowling was painted yellow. The tri-color scheme on the wheel covers adds visual interest.

This is one of several Nieuport 11 flown by the famous French Ace Jean Navarre. He was attached to Escadrille N67 which served in the area around Verdun during the Spring of 1916. The rudder markings have the serial number for the aircraft. The pennant style insignia was painted on the top and sides of the fuselage. As was the standard practice no roundels were painted on the fuselage. The reinforcement tape was also used on the wing edges. The cowling is unfinished metal and the wheel covers are simple varnished cloth.

This Nieuport 11 was flown by the French Ace Lt. Armand de Turenne while assigned to Escadrille N48 during 1916. The tri-color theme covers the entire fuselage. Some sources say the forward blue section was in fact plain yellow varnish. The horn and shield was his family coat of arms. The cowling is unfinished metal as with many Nieuport 11. The wheel covers are painted blue. The rudder carries standard markings.

The small Nieuport 11 biplane was affectionately known as the "Bébé" (baby). Originally designed for racing, this light plane was fast and extremely maneuverable. Its only major problem was in the design of its wing struts. In a steep dive, the struts allowed the wings to twist, sometimes with disastrous results. Used by the British and French to counter the Fokker E.III, the Nieuport 11 was disadvantaged by its lack of a synchronized machine gun.


  1. From Wikipedia Nieuport 11, ""
  2. Angelucci, Enzio, ed. "The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft". New York: The Military Press, 1983, p. 53. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  3. Bruce, J.M. "The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps" (Military Wing). London:Putnam, 1982, p.326. ISBN 0 370 30084 x.
  4. Chant, Christopher and Michael J.H. Taylor. "The World's Greatest Aircraft". Edison NJ: Cartwell Books Inc., 2007, p. 14. ISBN 0-7858-2010-8.
  5. Cheesman E.F., ed. "Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War". Letchworth, UK: Harleyford Publications, 1960, p. 92. ISBN 978-0-8306-8350-5.
  6. Cooksley, Peter. "Nieuport Fighters in Action". Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89747-377-9.
  7. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the 20th Century Weapons and Warfare". London: Purnell & Sons Ltd., 1967/1969, p. 1989. ISBN 0-8393-6175-0.


The Angry Lurker said...

They're great and eye watering in their colours...amazing stuff.

Unknown said...

Thanks, I am working on some Italian N 11s which are equally gaudy. One thing you have to say about World War One aircraft is subtle is something rare. (with the exception of many British paint schemes)