by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Originally published on:
The French built Hanriot HD.2 was designed from the outset to be a float plane. It was based on the land version HD.1. The HD.2 had larger tail surfaces, shorter wingspan, but increased wing area. The prototype was originally fitted with a small pontoon at the tail, but this was discarded during the production run.
The HD.2 was developed specifically as an interceptor to defend flying boat bases, but was soon used as an escort fighter to protect French reconnaissance flying boats. The United States Navy also bought 10 examples with wheeled undercarriages, designated HD.2C. Both the French and United States navies used these aircraft in early experiments in launching fighters from warships. The United States Navy replicated the French trials where a HD.1 had been launched from a platform built atop one of the turrets of the battleship Paris and built a similar platform on the USS Mississippi to launch a HD.2 from. The French Navy converted some of their HD.2s to wheeled configuration and used them for trials on the new aircraft carrier Béarn.
A final experiment in launching a HD.2 from a ship was carried out in 1924 with two new-built examples designated H.29. An unorthodox launching system was developed where the aircraft were equipped with three small pulley-wheels, one on each tip of the upper wing, and one at the tip of the tail fin. These ran along metal rails that had been attached to project horizontally from the mast of the battleship Lorraine. This did not work as hoped, succeeding only in depositing the aircraft into the water below. Further trials were discontinued.
The Hanriot HD.2 sea plane was released originally in 2009 and twenty years on it has been re-released once again. This Weekend edition contains:
●2 x plastic sprues
●1 x clear plastic windscreen
●1 x Sheet of waterslide decals
●1 x Eight page instruction book
Overall the plastic is quite glossy looking although it does not feel as if there is any release agent present. Still worth a quick dunk and wash in soapy water. There is not a lot of surface detail and what there is looks refrained. The two marking options look very tasty.
The cockpit is made up from around thirteen parts. The majority of the parts for the cockpit fit on the separate floor. There is what looks like a representation of the fuel tank just ahead of the pilot. The rudder pedal and cable attachment bar are attached to the fuel tank. The seat has a quilt effect representing the padded cushion. The seat is attached to a frame as is the separate throttle handle, which is then attached to the cockpit floor. There are a couple of decals representing the lap style seat belt. The instrument panel has some raised areas representing the gauges and there is a decal to add further detail to the instrument faces. Finally there is a control stick. There is a really useful side profile drawing of the cockpit layout in the instructions. There is some good raised detail on the inside of the cockpit walls representing the framework.
The single clear piece contained in the kit you won’t be surprised to learn is for the windscreen.
In reality the Clerget 9B rotary engine looks a relatively simple affair with cylinders and push rods as well as the crankcase. The Eduard representation is a bit too simplified. It has the ribbed detail of the cylinder although the shape does not look right. There are no push rods and the crankcase is too short. Still usable though and is just crying out for some extra detail. The propeller is one piece and is nicely represented although the attachment nuts have quite soft detail.
The two fixed, forward-firing .303 Vickers machine guns are fixed on the inner cabane struts The guns are nicely represented although there is a little flash to remove. The cartridge ejector chutes are separate parts.
The fuselage is cleanly moulded with some raised detail on it. There is a choice of two vertical tail surfaces: the original tail from the prototype and the later much larger rudder. The detail is delicately done.
Both the main wings are one piece items with slightly over exaggerated ribbed detail. The inside cabane struts are a one piece item and the outer struts are individual pieces. The interplane struts are individual parts. So you may want to create a jig before assembling the wing. The rigging diagram is useful in part and will need some careful study to deduce some of the attachment points. The horizontal tail surface is one piece and has the same fine detail as the rudder. There are four individual struts to attach between the horizontal tail and fuselage.
The floats are both made up from two pieces. There is a shallow ejector mark in the rear step that you will need to sand back. There are a couple of plastic parts that join the two floats together. A couple of ‘M’ shaped struts are then attached and the whole unit is joined to the fuselage.
There are two marking options including:
[A] No. 226, Centre d´Aviation Maritime, Dunkerque, France, October 1917 – May 1918
[B] U. S. Navy contingent in France, Dunkerque, France, spring 1918
The colour overall on both marking options is described as greyish blue. The fuselage forward of the rear of the cockpit is aluminium. The prop is wood.
The decals are printed in house by Eduard. Colour look excellent with good registration and minimal carrier frame. The stitched seam under the fuselage is depicted in the form of a decal
The instruction are printed in an A4 eight page booklet. Generally the diagrams are helpful taking you through the build. The rigging diagram does take a bit of studying and you may want to find some other suitable sources. The painting and decal application guide is superb. Also included in the paint guide is a brief description of the action that each aircraft took part in.
This is a really good looking kit of the Hanriot HD.2 from Eduard. The scale suites this aircraft and Eduard has captured the lovely lines of this petite float plane. Construction looks pretty straight forward although the rigging diagram could have been more helpful. The two marking options are interesting the overall grey suiting its use in operation over the English Channel during 1918. The price is around £12.30 which is remarkably good value for money for such an excellent kit.