The Société Pour l'Aviation et ses Dérivés Model 13 (SPAD XIII) was a Hispano-Suiza V-8 Powered fighter that was popular with many of the leading aces of the Allied Powers of World War I. The leading Allied ace, France's Rene Fonck (75 victories), America's Eddie Rickenbacker (26 victories) and Italy's Ace of Aces Francesco Baracca (34 Victories) all flew the S.XIII at one time during their career's.

       Count Francesco Baracca(1888 - 1918) was the son of a wealthy landowner who at the age of 19 joined the Italian Army by enrolling in the Military Academy at Modena. Receiving his commission in 1910 he was assigned to the Piemonte Reale Cavalleria (Piedmont Royal Cavalry). His stay with the cavalry was short as he became fascinated with aviation and received his pilot's license in 1912 and was transferred to the Italian Air Service. Capitano and then Maggiore Baracca flew a variety of differing aircraft types, the SPAD S.XIII being one of them. As putting individual logos on the aircraft side was the custom of pilots at the time Baracca chose the Cavallino Rampante(Prancing Horse) for his aircraft.

       Unfortunately Maggiore Baracca did not survive the war, failing to return from a mission on 19 June, 1918. In later years, Baracca's mother presented his prancing stallion emblem, The Cavallino Rampante, to Enzo Ferrari. The prancing horse has been the official symbol of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team since 1929 and of Ferrari automobiles since they began being manufactured.

       I have a friend who is big into Formula 1 racing. He especially follows the Scuderia Ferrari, the stable of Ferrari Formula 1 racers. From him I first learned of the lineage of the Ferrari logo and thought it would be an interesting project to build one of Francesco Baracca's aircraft and mount it on a plaque that told the story. It just so happens the Eduard 1/48 Scale KIt # 8197 offers markings for Francesco Baracca's early version Spad XIII which was one of several types of aircraft that he flew with the Cavallino Rampante painted on the fuselage side.

       The kit consists of 3 grey/green plastic trees, 1 clear plastic tree, a photo etched tree, sheet of wheel and windscreen masks and a decal sheet that allows for 5 different marking sets:

  • A. Jacques Roques, Escadrille No.48, France, Fall 1917.
  • B. George Guynemer, Escadrille No. 3, France, September, 1917.
  • C. J.D. Hewett, No. 23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, France February, 1918.
  • D. Francesco Baracca, 91a Squadriglia, Italy, May, 1918.
  • E. Maurice Jean-Paul Boyau, Escadrille No.77 Manoncourt-en-Vermois, France, 1918.

       There are lots of photo-etched details that really enhance the realism of the cockpit area, especially the photo-etched dial faces of the instruments.

       Once the cockpit area was painted and assembled I picked and chose thru the next few steps so that I could get the overall assembly ready to paint. I wanted to paint the fuselage, lower wings, tail assembly and undercarriage struts as one piece. The wing struts and upper wing were painted seperately.

       The instruction sheet references Gunze Sanyo Aqueous and Mr. Color paint numbers throughtout. After some research on the internet I was able to cross reference so that I could use my favorite Testors Model Master paints for this model. A chart showing the conversions I used can be seen here: SPAD XIII Paints

       After masking off the cockpit and the aluminum grille on the nose I started painting the camouflage by painting all of the undersurfaces with RAF Medium Sea Gray. Once this was dry, Sandgelb RLM 79 was applied to the entire uppersurface of the lower wing - fuselage assembly and the upper wing. Following the instructions I applied H72 Dark Earth and H66 Dark Green colors to the airplane. It was at this point I noticed that according to the color drawings supplied with the kit these two colors were labeled incorrectly. I repainted the airplane reversing the colors and it then matched the supplied drawings. Finally the fourth camouflage color, black, was applied to finish painting the model exterior.

       Next, using the Microscale system, I applied Testors Glosscote to the exterior surfaces. I then applied the decals and then sprayed a mixture Microscale Micro Flat and Microscale Satin to the model. It was at this point that I noticed that the fin flash decal was incorrect. The decal and the profile drawing didn't match. The fin flash on Italian aircraft should have the colors green, white and red in that order with the green being the most forward color. The decal had the opposite arrangement of colors. To correct this mistake I cut the rudder off at the hinge lie, stripped the decal and paint off using Testors ELO(easy Lift Off). I then painted the rudder using the correct order of colors. Thankfully I had scanned the decal sheet before I cut any decals off it. Using the scanned image I was able to develop copies of the markings on the rudder and print them out on a clear decal sheet that were then applied to the newly painted rudder. The rudder was then glued back on the fuselage.

       It was a fine balancing act to glue the wing struts and upper wing in place. They are very thin and wobbly until they dry. The machine guns and exhaust tubes were painted and glued in place. Using .006 (4.5 Lb. test) fishing line and an .00156 drill I strung the support wires between the upper and lower wings and fuselage and also the rudder cables and tail.

      Because I wanted to tell a story with this project I had to come up with words that told the story without becoming to verbose. The results are the first 3 paragraphs of this webpage. Once I had the words I created the graphic above using the profile image from the instruction sheet.

       The 9 x 12 Cherry Base was purchased from I wanted to decoupage the graphic to the cherry base and had to develop how to do so. What I eventually had to do was print out the graphic with my inkjet printer on plain paper then, using Rustoleum Gloss Crystal Clear Enamel, slowly build up a coating on both the front and back of the paper. I first roughed up the area where the graphic was to go on the cherry placque using very fine sandpaper. Next I applied ModPodge Gloss Ultra Glue and Sealer to the roughed up area and to the back of the graphic. I laid the wet graphic down on the base and made sure it was positioned correctly. While it was drying I worked any wrinkles out using a wooden wallpaper roller. I was also sure, at this point, to remove any excess Mod Podge from the cherry wood. After 24 hours I oversprayed the graphic spreading the liquid around evenly with my finger.

       Once the graphic was attached to the base and dry, I began attaching the model. I drilled .038 diameter holes in the bottom of the main landing gear wheels and glued a piece of .035 round styrene into each of the holes. Next I drilled a single hole in the base where I wanted to locate the model. Locating only one of the wheels into the hole I applied glue to the axle on one side of the landing gear strut and inserted it into the one located wheel. I then mounted the wheel on the other side without gluing it and allowed the glued side to set overnight. The next day I drilled another hole in the correct location for the opposite wheel, located the second wheel in the hole and then glued it to the strut. Finally, I drilled a hole in the tail skid and passed a length of fishing line thru it. Then a .038 hole was drilled thru the base under where the tail skid would be located and the fishing line was passed thru the base and pulled until the tail skid was firmly against the base. Then, from underneath, a piece of styrene was inserted in the hole locking the model down.

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