Sunday, September 4, 2016

Reduced Aircraft Factory's 1/144 Caquot Type M Observation Balloon

Newly arrived from Shapeways is this model of the 1/144 Caquot Type M Observation Balloon.

A mainstay of the observation corps, it was frequently the target of enemy aircraft. Years ago, FFG had released a set of balloons as part of the Wings of War product line. Those products are long out of production and getting increasingly difficult to find. Thanks to Reduced Aircraft Factory, another option is to obtain a 3-D printed model of the balloon and create your own.

My model arrived in the mail this weekend, just in time for the Labor Day weekend. I opened it up and looked at the parts - it's pretty darn simple. Two parts for the gasbag and one part for the basket and ropes.

The parts of the model laid out with the rule for sizing purposes. 

So how does it scale? I pulled out one of the new Nieuport 11 models from Ares Games and placed it next to the balloon for a sense of size.

With the Nieuport 11 added for a sense of scale in 1/144.

Granted, the Nieuport is a small, single engine fighter, but you get a sense of the size of the thing.

While it may be large - it's feels fragile. The walls of the model are super thin - maybe down to the level of what the printer will handle. I suspect that once assembled, each half with support the other resulting in a much more rugged model. In addition, treating the Black Strong and Flexible material with a base material (be it Future or gloss finish) should add a little 'heft; to the model.

I'm liking what I've got - now to get it in the assembly and painting queue. The fun with Shapeways is in the ability to get a uniquely painted model on the table. This one will likely be done up in colors for either the Italian front or possibly Western Front. (Now I have to read up on balloon operations!)

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