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Azur's 1/32 scale
Dewoitine D.520

by Ian Robertson


Dewoitine D.520


Azur's 1/32 scale Dewoitine D.520 is available online from Squadron.com




The Dewoitine D.520 was the French Air Force’s best single engine fighter at the outbreak of WWII. However, they were too few in number to stem the onslaught of the advancing Luftwaffe. With the fall of France in June 1940, many surviving D.520s ended up flying for the Vichy Air Force in North Africa or for various other Axis air forces. Some D.520s were pressed into service as trainers for the Luftwaffe.

With the liberation of France in 1944 a number French air units were established using recaptured aircraft. My model depicts one such aircraft, a recaptured Dewoitine D.520 from CGII/18 ‘Saintogne’ in southeast France sometime between Dec 1944 and March 1945.

The Model

The model is Azur’s (initial release) 1/32 Dewoitine D.520 kit enhanced with Contact Resine’s upgrade set and a Squadron vacuform canopy. While not for beginners, the Azur kit is another example of the steady improvements in quality being made by many short run manufacturers. The kit is molded in grey styrene with finely engraved panel lines and a single piece injection molded canopy. There are no alignment pins and the horizontal tail surfaces fit with butt joints. Fit is generally good, but there are a few hurdles to overcome during construction.

The Contact Resine upgrade set is a highly detailed multimedia kit with resin, photoetch, white metal, and vacuform parts (see Brett Green’s review at http://acc.kitreview.com/contactresined520reviewbg_1.htm ). Although the upgrade set exceeds the price of the model kit and requires some advanced modeling skills, for those inclined it greatly enhances the detail and accuracy of the model. Either way, however, the completed model will not be mistaken for anything other than a D.520.





Prior to construction I added rivets to my model using a “Rosie the Riveter” hand tool. I then polished the model’s surfaces lightly with a Micromesh sanding cloth to help tone down the visibility of the rivets. I wanted the rivets to be barely noticeable rather than the first thing to catch an observer’s eye.


Contact Resine’s cockpit is much more detailed that the kit cockpit, although it is worth noting that the more recent “Hi-Tech” release of the Azur D.520 kit includes a resin cockpit.



A detailed cockpit is particularly worthwhile if you plan on displaying your model as I did with the canopy open.



I painted the cockpit in Polly Scale’s French dark blue-grey darkened with a touch of black. Washes and dry brushing were used to pick out the details.

Wing Assembly

Once the cockpit was installed I glued the fuselage halves together, attached the resin nose with CA glue (some sanding was needed to get a smooth transition between the fuselage and new nose), and then proceeded to the wing assembly. It was during the wing assembly stage I encountered my first substantial difficulties with fit. Luckily, several on-line reviews had alerted me to the problems in advance, so I proceeded with caution to identify their causes. There were two main issues to address: (1) the uneven joint where the underside of the wing meets the rear fuselage, and (2) wing dihedral. I will deal with each in turn.

A number of on-line reviewers have indicated that there is a large step in the joint between the lower surface of the wing and the rear fuselage. It turns out that this problem originates with the spars that serve as backing for the flaps. Specifically, the spars are too deep and thus cause the wing to be too thick at the trailing edge. Consequently, when you attempt to line the upper wing sections to the fuselage wing root, the lower surface of the wing sits well below the fuselage joint, leaving a large step to contend with. The solution is to thin the spars and test fit the wings before gluing them in place. Once you have the proper wing thickness, the step between the wings and rear fuselage disappears.

Before attaching the wings to the fuselage I glued a small block of balsa wood to the underside of the cockpit assembly. This block provided a solid support for the wing assembly, thereby allowing for a more solid connection between the wing and rear fuselage.



Unlike recent large scale releases from companies like Hasegawa, the Azur kit lacks a wing spar that sets proper dihedral. In fact, test fitting revealed that without modification there would actually be an anhedral to the wings – not a good thing. But as with the previous problem, the solution was simple. All that was needed was some trimming of the inside edges of the upper wing sections, which then allowed the wings to deflect upward into their proper dihedral. Tape was used to hold the dihedral in place while the glue dried.



I opted to display my model with the flaps up, as this was more common among D.520s on the ground. Some minor reshaping of the spars discussed above was needed to accommodate the flaps.

Engine Cooler Intake

The kits engine cooler is longer and less portly than the Contact Resine replacement. After staring at numerous photos of restored D.520s I decided that the resin replacement more accurately reflected the shape of the actual engine cooler.



Note that in the photo above the resin part is positioned too far back.


Azur provides a single piece injection molded canopy with their kit. However, I wanted to display the canopy open to expose the detailed cockpit. I used a razor saw to cut free the front and rear sections of the kit’s canopy, and then secured those pieces to the model, taking care to fill any gaps or seams.



The center section of the canopy was a Squadron vacuform replacement. Although a vacuform canopy was included with the Contact Resin set, the quality of mine was not as good as the Squadron canopy.

Prop Blades

The kit’s propeller blades are substantially smaller than the Contact Resine replacement blades (see photo).



I used the replacement blades, but attached them to the kit’s spinner assembly rather than the resin spinner (Actually, I broke all three resin propeller blades at the base while trying to fit them into the replacement resin spinner – enough was enough).


Painting and Markings


Paint Scheme

I chose this particular D.520 based on its challenging paint scheme and interesting history. An artistic rendering of the aircraft is featured on the back cover of Squadron’s “French Fighters of World War II In Action”, and there are several in-flight photos of the aircraft in a number of books (e.g., Mushroom Model Magazine’s “Dewoitine D.520” on page 27).

In planning the paint scheme I began with the premise that the Germans would have repainted the aircraft to meet their regulations before using it as a trainer. Indeed, numerous photos exist of D.520s in German service repainted in RLM74/75/76, often with “fish style” spots (likely RLM 74 or 75) on the sides. The undersides of these training aircraft were painted yellow. Once the French recaptured the aircraft they would have painted out all German markings with French colors and perhaps applied some additional camouflage to prevent confusion or enhance the camouflage effect.

With this scenario in mind, I began by painting my model in a standard German RLM74/75/76 scheme. Small mottles of RLM 74 were sprayed on the fuselage sides to create the fish-style pattern seen in photos. I then repainted the rear fuselage and tail in French dark blue-grey to conceal the areas where German markings would have been. Mottles of French khaki were added over the dark blue-grey, consistent with photos of the aircraft. The wings were treated to irregular patches of French khaki and earth brown to help obscure the splinter scheme. Patches of French light blue-grey were sprayed at the wingtips where the French roundels would later be placed. I painted the undersides in French light blue-grey. I then dry-brushed small amounts of yellow on some of the leading edges on the undersides to represent areas where the yellow of the previous paint scheme had been exposed.



Lightly thinned black paint was sprayed to simulate exhaust stains. Apart from these stains I did not weather the model much because the recent repainting in French colors would have likely covered up faded or worn areas of paint.


I used kit decals for the wing roundels and dry transfers from Contact Resine for the fuselage roundels with yellow trim (note that the “Hi-Tech” release of the Azur D.520 kit has this style of roundel). I printed my own decals for the unit symbol and tail number using Testors decal paper and an inkjet printer. The results were better than I had expected.

The unit symbol decal I made was based loosely on a 1/32 dry transfer produced by Contact Resine for a similar aircraft, “white 6”. I modified the colors and dimensions of the symbol to match more closely what I could discern from photos.


The number for the tail was created in Photoshop by scanning an appropriately shaped “2” from a 1/48 decal sheet, rescaling it, changing the color to white, and then placing it on a black circle. The decal was printed onto clear decal paper and placed over a white disk painted on the model.




Images of the completed model were taken outdoors in natural light with a Nikon Coolpix 5400 digital camera. The “unsharpen mask” tool of Adobe Photoshop was used to restore some of the clarity and crispness lost during image compression.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 02 March, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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