Maxford USA Nieuport 28.qxd

Nieuport 28
by Roger M. Post Jr.
A convenient, semi-scale WWI fighter
PLANE: Nieuport 28 40” ARF
TYPE: Midsize, semi-scale WWI biplane
FOR: Intermediate to advanced pilot
WINGSPAN: 40 in.
WING AREA: 380.25 sq. in.
WEIGHT: 37 oz.
WING LOADING: 14.01 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 33 in.
RADIO: 4 channels required, with three servos; flown with a Spektrum DX7 transmitter, a
Spektrum AR6110 receiver and 3 Hitec HS-55
Feather servos
POWER SYSTEM: Maxford USA Uranus
28309 outrunner brushless motor, Maxford
USA Uranus 25-amp brushless ESC, Thunder
Power 3S 11.1V 2200mAh 25C extreme V2
LiPo battery, EMAX 9 x 6E electric propeller
FULL THROTTLE POWER: 28 amps, 312.48
watts, 8.93 watts/oz, 142.85 watts/lb
TOP RPM: 8,685
DURATION: 10 minutes
PRICE: $155.99
A transmitter, a receiver, 3 micro servos,
25-amp outrunner brushless motor, 25-amp
brushless ESC, 3S 11.1V 1300 to 2100mAh
LiPo Battery and compatible charger, 9x6E
electric propeller and a separately available
optional Detail Upgrade Package that contains
a windshield frame, wheel covers, cockpit
coaming, stall horn, air intake tube and a 1/8
scale WWI pilot
The build quality on this ARF is superb, and its
airframe is much stronger than the standard
laser-cut built models I have seen. Lots of
interlocking structures help to provide the
rigidity. The covering is well-done, too, and
you’ll want to pick up the optional Detail
Upgrade Package, as it adds the required finishing touches that enhance the Nieuport 28’s
overall appeal.
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esigned by Gustave Delage and built by Nieuport, the
N.28C-1 first flew on June 14, 1917, and entered service in
March 1918. It was designed to replace its various
Nieuport predecessors, but it, too, was already outdated before it
entered service.
However, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) of the U.S.
Army Air Service desperately needed fighters, and with the unavailability of new French SPAD S.XIII because of a lack of engines, the
AEF accepted 297 Nieuport 28s into service until the SPADs arrived.
The Nieuport 28 was a highly maneuverable and easy-to-fly fighter,
but had an unreliable Gnome 9-N rotary engine, and its performance
against the Albatros D.III and later German fighters was lackluster.
It also had a problem with its wings’ covering ballooning and
detaching from its plywood structure, but that
was soon remedied. It served with the AEF for
only five months before being replaced by the
However, a few U.S. aces got their starts and
some of their initial victories in the 28, including the U.S.’s top WWI ace Capt. Eddie
Rickenbacker of the 94th Aero Squadron, a.k.a.
“Hat in the Ring” squadron, who’s Nieuport
this model resembles.
Maxford USA’s 1/8 scale N.28C-1 is a solidly
built model that consists of lite ply and balsa
structure that is pre-covered. When I looked
inside of the fuselage to check out the build
integrity, I was reminded of the old days and
how models used to be built. From the forward
fuselage all the way to its aft section, this
model is solidly built. When the time comes,
the “beefed up” forward section will help in
balancing the model.
The fuselage, wings and tail surfaces are
jig-assembled from laser-cut balsa and plywood and pre-covered,
with precut hinge slots and CA hinges with pre-punched pinholes
for alignment. The box also contains prefinished cabane and interplane struts, a full set of insignia and marking decals, windshield,
pre-painted fiberglass cowl and plastic headrest and rigging wires.
The extensive hardware package includes everything required to
setup the aileron, rudder and elevator pushrods and linkages, preformed main landing gear with rubber wheels, a steerable tailwheel assembly, and pre-painted and -installed wooden fairings.
hook and loop battery-strap material and all the other required
hardware to complete the model. A detailed and illustrated
instruction manual rounds out the box’s contents.
Some of the special features include the 9-cylinder dummy
AUGUST 2011 91
engine and two scale Vickers .303 in.
machine guns. Also, the motor mounting
position is adjustable to fit most popular
motors and the aileron linkages are fully
There is an optional detail upgrade package available separately, which includes a
windshield frame, cockpit coaming, dummy
fuel-system venturi, engine air-intake tube,
wheel covers and a pre-painted 1 / 8 scale
WWI pilot figure.
swivels, etc. After this,
hook up your radio
and power system to
ensure that everything
works and moves in
the correct direction.
The horizontal stabilizer is attached first,
but there wasn’t any
sort of visual align- Left: Although not true to scale, a nice tailwheel assembly is included in the
ment reference to ARF that is held in place with two wood screws. I used micro fasteners to
ensure it was level and connect all pushrods to their respective control horns. Right: The elevator and
rudder servos mount inside the fuselage onto a laser-cut plywood rails.
As this model involves some intricate assemsquare to the fuselage.
bly, it is best to have some building experiSo, I deviated a bit and attached the landing
From here on, the empennage instructions
ence under your belt before attempting its
gear assembly, with the wheels included, and
were straightforward; just keep in mind that
construction. With that in mind, read and rethe bottom wing to the fuselage, which now
the elevator needs to be attached before you
read the manual to familiarize yourself with
provided some visual references and set the
add the vertical stabilizer. The CA hinges that
the various assembly procedures. Next, sort
fuselage level. I then centered the stabilizer
Maxford provides for all control-surface
through the hardware to ensure that everyand marked where the covering needed to be
mounting have pre-punched holes for the
thing you need is there and that you are
removed. Once the epoxy dried, I removed
pins you use to keep the hinges straight, and
familiar with all the various screws, bolts,
the bottom wing.
even, when inserting and gluing them in
place. This is a very handy feature and
much appreciated by the builder.
When mounting the elevator and rudder servos, connect their respective
arms to their pushrods and then place
the arm on the servo. With this connection, allow each servo to find its “place”
in between the servo rails and then
attach them with the screws that come
with the servos. I used Hitec’s HS-55s,
which fit perfectly between the rails.
This method will prevent any binding
of, and awkward linkage angles for, the
servos and their pushrods inside the
Again I deviated from the instructions and used Du-Bro Micro
Connectors to attach the pushrods to
n an overcast day with an air temperature of 40 and not a breath of wind to be found, my
the control surface horns. I was not
Nieuport took to the air. Using the Thunder Power battery described in the Specs, the
fond of the method in the instructions,
Nieuport required almost full throttle to advance it through the grass and attain enough takewhich gave you a 50/50 chance of getoff speed to become airborne; total takeoff roll: 25 feet on grass. The motor box’s built-in right thrust
ting it correct.
kept the right rudder input to a minimum.
The last item for the empennage is the
As soon as the 28 rotated, I brought back the throttle to about 2/3 and let the model climb out. At 30
wire attachment. On its Nieuport
feet AGL, I added several beeps of down trim and brought the throttle back to just under /2. The air28 web page, Maxford put out an
plane seemed happy here, but I could tell it was still a little tail heavy. I wound up adding another
addendum that includes four items; the
two ounces to quell the tail-heavy aspect.
connection of this wire is the first.
True to WWI aircraft form, the rudder plays an extremely important role in the turning processs. I
wound up using a bit of rudder in the turns along with the standard aileron input. This combinaApparently, they aren’t using the
tion seems to work the best for turning, whether it was left or right.
spring or swivel any more to attach the
A few passes down the field for the photos, and then it was time to take the 28 aloft for some aeronon-looped end to the tailwheel brackbatics. Using high rates, the Nieuport loops well, but it needs some forward speed to attain any kind
et’s forward screw. Check the web page
of roll assimilation. Barrel was about the best one to be achieved. It spins nicely and the rotation
for this and three other appended steps.
stops when I let go of the sticks. Uncharacteristically of WWI biplanes, it flies well when inverted and
After attaching the ailerons to the
didn’t require any forward-stick input—something about all that added down trim. There’s plenty of
lower wing, their servo is mounted to
power and rudder authority for stall turns, wingovers, Cuban-8s, etc., but it isn’t meant to be flown as
the provided hardwood blocks and
a 3D, as there isn’t that much power and the roll rate would have to be significantly increased.
then glued into place. Although it is not
The model has a fairly gentle power-off stall, and I didn’t notice any wing dropping, and when the
mentioned in the instructions, I
power is cut, it has a very flat glide angle.
To land, simple line up on the runway’s centerline, cut the power and glide in for a smooth touchremoved the covering under where the
down, employing a slight flare just before the wheels contact the grass. Nothing to it!
blocks attached for better adhesion. Bob
All-in-all, a fun model to fly, if you fly it in the way a WWI aircraft is supposed to fly.
Smith’s gap-filling CA was used for
this. When it came time to connect the
aileron pushrods, I
only remove the bolts
again used the micro
that hold the wing to
connectors. With a sinthe cabanes.
gle servo driving both
The motor is mountailerons, the connectors
ed on a separate box,
gave me the ability to
and that box is then
mechanically center
attached to the structhese surfaces.
ture that comes out of
The four landing wires
the firewall. When
are now assembled; be
looking at the box,
The two machine guns mount on curved
sure to measure these so
note the two arrows
plastic piece that is glued to the top, middle
of the cockpit. The forward edges of the
the correct 10 3 / 8 -inch
that are “lasered” into
molded blocks in the plastic part align with
length is used for this
the top. They point
the leading edge of the aft cabane strut.
step. The cabanes and
forward, and when
the top wing’s mounting
correctly placed, note
hardware are added to
the right and down
the top wing’s underthrust of the smaller
side, and I would recfirewall where the
ommend not tightening
everything. This will
mount attaches.
come later.
Another addendum
The remaining four
item is associated
91/2-inch flying wires are
with the ESC’s placeassembled and attached
ment. It is now
to the fuselage’s sides—
advised to mount it
The fiberglass cowl comes pre-painted and
two under each cabane
under the motor on
the 9-cylinder dummy Gnome is pre-glued
into place. Note the air intake and venturi
strut. There are four,
the tray that juts out
on the starboard side.
small, predrilled holes
from the main firethat pinpoint exactly
wall. This will help
where the swivels for these wires attach.
with the model’s balancing, plus it proAs I already attached the landing gear
vides more cooling for the ESC.
and wheels, I just cut off the excess axle
Cut out the plastic machine-gun mount
length and cut out and attached the wheel
and attach it, and the two machine guns, to
covers that come with the optional packthe fuselage. Note that the forward end of
age. In the aforementioned addendum, for
the gun mount’s molded block lines up
the wheels to fit on the axles, their hubs
with the leading edge of the aft left cabane.
need to be drilled out with a 1 / 8 -inch or
Ensure that all radio components are
3mm drill.
properly hooked up, attach the four angled
Next up is putting the top wing in place.
L brackets to the bottom wing (do this now
This is supposed to be done with the
rather than when it is attached to the fusecabanes attached, but I found it easier to
lage) and then mount it to the latter. Make
press fit the cabanes—sans wing— into
sure the wing is perfectly perpendicular to
their respective slots (brown one goes on
the fuselage.
the left side and the fit here is very tight
Now comes the fun part. Attach the four
for both, so go easy) and then re-attach the
struts to their respective angled L brackets
top wing to the cabanes. The wires don’t
(the longer struts go on the forward brackhave to be removed for this procedure;
ets), but don’t tighten the bolts all the way.
Attach the eight flying wires to their coinciding springs and now tighten all strut
and cabane bolts. With this, the biplane’s
rigging and decalage are essentially set.
The next thing I checked was the alignment of the wings when looking down at
the model’s top or planform. They weren’t
parallel, so I loosened the cabane and strut
bolts slightly, positioned the top wing so it
was parallel to the bottom one and then
tightened the bolts again. Now, I had a
biplane with the correct wing alignment.
From here, the cockpit coaming, headUsing the typical X-shape mount, the Uranus
rest, windshield and pilot are added. I
28309 motor bolts to the pre-built motor box,
and this sub assembly is then glued into place
again used Bob Smith’s gap-filling CA,
with 5-minute epoxy.
which dries instantly, so be sure to have
the alignment perfect when placing these
items. Before the cowl is attached, cut the
battery’s hook and loop straps and place
them in their respective holes. To mate
these pieces, it helps to use two ball drivers to reach through the open firewall
holes and press the straps together.
Add the cowl, propeller, air intake tube,
venturi and the decals and the assembly
portion is finished. The next step is balancing the model, and the manual says that
31/2-inches back from the top wing’s leading edge is the spot. Using a heavier
Thunder Power battery pack that weighed
6.2 ounces, I used 3 additional ounces of
stick-on weights to achieve a level-looking
balance. Another way to balance the model
is to turn it upside down and place your
fingers on the most forward portion of the
bottom wing’s leading edge. If the model
hangs level, then it is good to go.
When I set the control throws, I added 25
percent expo on all high rates and 20 percent on the low ones. The aforementioned
addendum includes inches of movement
for all control surfaces.
Although a couple of items need to be
thought of in a different way during the
assembly process, overall, I found the
Nieuport easy to put together. Read over
that manual a few times before you dive
into the building process, as it will help
you to understand how things go together,
especially where the wings’ flying wires
are concerned. Once it’s properly balanced,
it’s a nice flying WWI model that Maxford
replicated from the full-size version that
belongs to The Great War Flying Museum
in Brampton, Ontario. =
Bob Smith Industries,,
(805) 466-1717
Du-Bro,, (800) 848-9411
EMAX Propellers,
Great Planes Model Distributors,, (800) 682-8948
Hitec USA,, (858) 748-6948
Maxford USA,,
(866) 706-8288
Spektrum, distributed by Horizon Hobby,, (800) 338-4639
For more information, please see our source
guide on page 121.