Copper State Models 1/32 Nieuport XXI

By Lukasz Boch

Historical summary

In his aviation career, Donat Makijonek made about 600 sorties, fought dozens of dogfights, in which he won nine victories (four of which were officially confirmed). He flew fourteen types of aircraft.

He began his service as an ordinary soldier, with bravado, courage, extraordinary dedication and great aviation talent, he reached the rank of captain in the aviation of Tsarist Russia and the rank of major in the Polish Army. For bravery shown on the fronts of World War I and in other battles, he received the following decorations: the Russian Cross of St. George of all four classes, the Order of St. George 4th class, Order of St. Vladimir 4th class with swords and bow, Order of St. Anna 4th and 3rd class with swords and a bow, the Order of St. Stanisław III class with swords and ribbon and II class with swords. In the Polish Army, he received: Virtuti Militari V class, three times the Cross of Valor, the Order of the "Cross of Independence", the Medal for Victory and the Serbian Order of the White Eagle.

Many times he got out of huge oppression, many times he performed the most difficult tasks and flights in the worst weather conditions. During his service and combat flights, Makijonek was always characterized by unprecedented courage, which earned him sympathy and respect. Undoubtedly, he is one of the most outstanding Polish pilots of the First World War and one of the most recognized fighters from the period of 1918-1921. The 3rd Intelligence Squadron under his command was considered one of the best units in Poland, which clearly proves Makijonek's commanding skills. During the fighting in Volhynia in 1919, he made daring ground assault flights, shelling and bombing the enemy from the lowest heights. During the period when flights could not be performed, he conducted training for the unit's personnel, including mechanics, because being a mechanic himself, he knew perfectly well the principles of operation of aircraft engines.

For almost a third of his life he served in the air force, went through three wars, and the fourth was the end of his life. It is during World War II that Makijonek ends up in the death camp in Auschwitz. He was murdered by the Germans in unknown circumstances.

It can be said bluntly that he was an outstanding man who deserves to be remembered, especially by his compatriots. Unfortunately, few people know and remember Makijonek, even among aviation enthusiasts, this and many other characters have been covered by the darkness of oblivion.

Let the words of the introduction to the book "Polish Air Forces in 1918-1920" by Mariusz Niestrawski serve as a summary:

“(…) The task of disseminating knowledge about the beginnings of Polish aviation is certainly not easy. Many Polish readers interested in military history still prefer feldgrau or even black history to Polish history. It would be nonsense to criticize the pursuit of knowledge, although it is worth trying to gradually change the proportions in favor of Polish history. The second obstacle to overcome is the specific attachment to defeats and their love for them, which has developed in Polish society. Closely related to this is the widespread use of the notion of "moral victors."

It should be believed, however, that this kind of approach may be changed by popularizing the moments of glory of the Polish army, showing the fate of real heroes whose achievements really brought Poles closer to independence. It was, among others, the heroic deeds of the airmen in the years 1918-1920 that brought Poland victory. These heroes don't need the epithet "moral." They were simply victors to be remembered. Gloria victoribus!(…)”

If anyone wants to follow Makijonek's biography in detail, I invite you to my build thread in the Work in Progress forum, there I posted a chronological story of Donat's life and activities during the report.

Work in Progress summary

The model represents a rather unusual version of the Nieuport XXI with the serial number 2453. The Nieuport XXI was basically the XVII version, but with a weaker engine. Although the external appearance was identical, the internal structure allowed it to be much lighter. Although the aircraft was primarily intended for training, in the realities of war Tsarist Russia used them successfully on the fronts of the First War.

Nieuport XXI number 2453 was equipped with an unusual for this version, full engine cover and a hood that almost completely covered the engine intake. There is only one picture of this machine. Donat Makijonek won most of his victories in the first half of 1917 on this Nieuport. The model under construction shows the machine from the spring of 1917 during the fighting in Galicia.

I started working on the model on April 6 this year, the whole thing took me 50 days. The model put a lot of challenges in front of me and I must admit that I had hard times with it. I had never had contact with the CSM company before, nor did I build a model from that period, except for one for testing.

The final test came at the very end when the model fell off the table and broke into several pieces. Luckily, we managed to get to the end and do the final photo shoot. However, I think that this is not a model for beginners, there are a lot of traps in it and it requires extraordinary accuracy from the modeler.

Apart from what was in the box, I used:

I would like to thank:

Tomek Wajnkaim, who did me the honor and brought my model to life, drawing for me an amazing picture of Makijonek's fight with Albatross. Thank you also for designing the masks, thank you for all the advice and support, but also for being patient and enduring the constant bombardment of photos and modeling questions.

Piotr Mazurek for making a flawless hubcap, which made this model one of a kind and allowed me to get closer to the original during this construction.

Ewa constantly for support, faith and patience. Certainly, for someone who is not very interested in aviation and modeling, it is not easy to hear about it.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for supporting me here on this project. For interest, advice, support, motivation and warm welcome. Thank you very much.

© Lukasz Boch 2023

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This article was published on Saturday, August 19 2023; Last modified on Sunday, August 20 2023