Azur/FRROM 1/72 Stampe S.V.4B (UK)
KIT #: FR0026
PRICE: 16 Euros
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Brian Baker
NOTES: Very petite little kit of a very interesting subject.

HISTORY

The Stampe  SV.4 is often confused with the DeHavilland Tiger Moth, and the two aircraft are similar in many respects.  However, the Stamp is an entirely original design, and appeared in 1939, long after the Tiger Moth series.  It was intended for the Belgian and French military forces,  and 30 were delivered to the Belgians before the outbreak of World War II.  Postwar, the Stampes were placed back in production in both France and Belgium, and even in Algeria.  Although they were primarily intended for primary training, many were used by aerobatic pilots, where they were quite successful in competitions.

The British obtained their first SV-4B when two Belgians absconded with one, making a cross channel flight on 4 July 1941.  This aircraft, the second prototype registered OO-ATD, was repainted in standard RAF training colors, and equipped with a different exhaust-muffler arrangement for  some kind of special duty mission that never transpired.  Postwar, a number of Stampes began to appear on the British Civil Register, and into the fifties and sixties, a number managed to make their way to the U.S., where they are still flown by pilots who like classic biplanes.  Over the years, different engines have been fitted, but they still remain one of the worldís classic biplanes. 

THE KIT

There are four different versions of this kit, mainly differing in decals and detail parts.  This one is the British version. Molded in soft grey styrene, the parts are well molded with good interior and external detail.  Numerous parts are listed as ďnot to be usedĒ (Thatís SPARE PARTS, guys!).  Detail parts, such as struts, etc., are  nicely done, although I wish that producers of biplanes could mold struts so that the sprue attaches to the ends rather than to the surfaces which then need to be trimmed.  Trimming these small pieces can be very tedious, and there is really no need for it.

The instructions  consist of 8 pages of highly detailed drawings and diagrams.  Page one gives a historical background, page 2 provides a sprue diagram and color guide, while pages 3 through 5 show the assembly steps. This also includes a good rigging diagram.  Pages 6 through 8 provide color four views of the three aircraft for which decals are provided, including the ďillegal immigrantĒ in its arrival scheme and in RAF colors, and  a very colorful SV-4B, G-ATKC, which is yellow and red with black undersurfaces. There is enough here for anyone who likes classic biplanes.

Decals are provided for the three aircraft described previously.  The sheet  is printed by AVIPRINT.cz,  the register is right on, and I didnít need to trim the decals when I installed them on the kit. They snuggled down nicely over the surface detail, and didnít require any softening or setting solutions.

CONSTRUCTION

The assembly process begins with the cockpit interior, which includes a floor, two seats, rudder pedals, instrument panels, and control sticks.  These are VERY small, but then, so is the airplane.  A magnifying glass is appropriate here. The interior is supposed to be pale green, which I interpreted to be RAF Interior Green.  The instrument panels could have included decals, but didnít.  Once the cockpit interior is complete, it can be glued in between the fuselage halves, and then the top portion of the cockpit can be installed.  There is a front bulkhead which approximates a firewall, and this strengthens the structure.  The engine is a separate unit, consisting of sides, a bottom section, and a forward cowling.  The lower wing fits in right below the cockpit floor, and although it took a little work, it went together without much trouble.  The tail unit, including horizontal and vertical surfaces, almost snaps into place, with the gap between the lower rudder and fuselage filled up nicely by the tailwheel unit.

The real assembly problem with this kit is the wings.  There are drawings in the instructions telling how the wing is attached, and where the struts go, and I was careful to make sure that the right numbered parts went in the right places, but a front view of the aircraft would certainly have helped in the process, as there is no indication as to the angles at which the struts are set.  I used superglue to install the struts and upper wing, but it was a chore.  The landing gear, on the other hand, went on without a hitch, and it is a pretty robust little unit.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I painted the entire airframe before attaching the upper wing. I did the Training Yellow undersides first, and then the RAF Dark Earth on top after masking the yellow.  Masking the shadow shading was easy, as the four views provided are very helpful here.  I did all of the struts and landing gear parts separately, marking each part by number to make sure that I had the right strut in the right place.  Once the airplane was assembled, I gave it a coat of Testorís Glosscote, after which I applied the decals.  After another glossy coat for sealing, I resprayed it with Dullcote, as RAF aircraft during this time period were in dull finish, not the glossy finish you see today  on warbirds.

The rigging diagram on Page 5 was very helpful, as this airplane is not rigged the same way that most biplanes are.  There is even a rudder control horn and cable that fits along the side of the rear fuselage, although there are no elevator or aileron cables indicated in the instructions.  I used my electronic wire and white glue method, and rigging took about an hour,  which is good for a biplane of this size and complexity.

CONCLUSIONS

This is a very nice little kit.  If you have some experience building biplanes, it should prove an enjoyable experience, and youíll have a model that hasnít appeared in this scale before.  It is small, and wonít take up much space on your display shelves, and it is well worth getting at least one of these.

REFERENCES

 Aside from the information included in the kit, there isnít a lot of information available on this aircraft.  I googled the airplane, and came up with a lot of pictures, but not a lot of historical data.  Iíve seen and photographed a few of these aircraft at fly-ins, and knew a guy that owned one, although it was never in flying condition long enough for me to get a ride in it.  The Stampe  was a pre-war airplane that didnít have much of a war record, but postwar, it became very popular and quite a few of them are still flying.

Brian Baker

July 2015

Thanks to Scott Van Aken and Azur/FRROM for the review  sample.

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