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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Delanne II / Moreau JM-10.

Have you seen those marine life documentaries depicting a seagull or similar seabird snatching the fish from the one that caught it in the first place?
Well, in the early 30’s there was a French guy called Delanne who designed and built a plane named Delanne II, a side-by-side two-seater (baptized Ibis Bleu) powered by a 5 cyl Salmson 5Ac radial, later substituted by a 6 cyl radial Anzani and registered F-AJGB. He sold it to a partnership named S.F.R. which predictably enough re-named the plane SFR-10 and planned to turn it into a machine suitable for three people. The plane nevertheless is shortly after sold to J.M. Moreau, therefore becoming Moreau JM-10. Moreau hires Payen, who contributes to the design and installs a Renault 4Pb, which in turn is later replaced by a De Havilland Gipsy Major, and eventually by yet another engine, a Regnier R6. The plane receives a new registration, F-ANNI. It seems that Moreau was not preoccupied by the fact that the design was being attributed to him at this time. Attribution of the design varies according to different sources, but the one just described seems to be the right account.
Monsieurs Delanne and Payen will become later on recognized names in the aviation field.
The plane -and the story- do not end well. Moreau tries to sell the plane in civil war-engaged Spain and is murdered. The fate of the plane unknown.
The design (especially the first incarnation) bears a certain resemblance with the Tunison Scout, a contemporary American plane.
The almost organic metamorphosis of the plane involved a series of changes, besides the powerplants already described and the different noses thus created. Most noticeable are the canopy shape, the vertical stabilizer outline and the landing gear. You could build may be seven models that differ in something depicting the machine at different points in its life.
I could not decide which of the planes I would like to model: F-AJGB with its greenhouse canopy, or the “streamlined” F-ANNI; so I went for both. If somebody ever tells you that it would be much easier to build a second model or variant of the plane you are building, do not believe them, it is not.
As it is many times the case, no reference is 100% spot on, so you have to correct drawings, review the data and especially look at photos. Now, I have done a few 3 views, so I know it is a difficult task, especially with odd-balls for which there is little reference material; so I praise the guys that do it, but also keep a healthily distrustful eye on what they make. On the other hand, if you wait for perfect references to appear, very few plans or models could ever be drawn or built. Furthermore, as scratchbuilders know, the mere fact of producing a model dramatically increases the chances for references of all sorts to surface –notably after you completed your model-.
As you can see in the photos styrene sheet and rod were mostly used for the build. Wood masters were carved for the two canopies and the engine cowl of the later variant and the vac copies were produced in the Mattel 60’s Psychedelic Machine. Wheels and pants came from the spare box and some lengths of Strutz brass material employed for the LGs.
Props were adapted to fit the bill and a Ragnier engine scratched to spice-up the nose of the second plane, since the first one also got the exposed cylinders for the radial (thanks, Matias Hagen!).
Colors in this case were either described in the references (F-ANNI) or implied in the plane’s name (F-AJGB, Ibis Bleu, which is a sort of cobalt blue hue).

Thanks to my francophone friends Michel Barriere , Alex Bigey and Alain Bourret whom very kindly helped me with the research on this project.

-Pierre Cortet article in "Avions" magazine issue #68. I realized that the cockpit photo in the article is wrongly identified as belonging to the Moreau, and Alex IDed it as representing a Couzinet 33. “Avions” #45 has another snippet on it.
-Les Ailes, contemporary article by R. Saladin
-Aviation Magazine, Nov 1983
-"Aircraft of the Spanish Civil War"
-Flight, Dec 6th 1929 page 1284, and July 4th 1929 page 544
-L’Aero May 11th 1934
-L’Aero Aug 10th 1934


  1. The Delanne II was sold it to a partnership named SCA (Société Commerciale Aéronautique) and S.F.R. stood for the partners Schmitt, Flostoy, and Rigaud. See

    Best regards from the Netherlands,
    Johan Visschedijk
    j.visschedijk @

    1. Thanks for the additional information, Johan!

  2. Don... estaba gugleando info del Moreau 10 porque mi carpeta solo tenía un perfilito de color y nada más, y me encuentro que ya tenés un laburo hecho sobre este avión... La verdad que no me acordaba. Qué lindo bicho!... y tu laburo fantástico... nunca voy a dejar de admirar la habilidad que tenés para simplificar cuestiones constructivas con resultados excelentes (el tren de aterrizaje de ambos y el detalle del motor en el Moreau, están bárbaros)...
    Abrazos viejo

    1. Hola Matías:
      Te mandé por email todo lo que tengo de esos aviones.